Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review - Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

“Sandman Slim” is by no means a literary masterpiece and thank the demons below and the angels above that it isn’t. It is, however, an extremely dark urban fantasy littered with the dead bodies of angels, demons, humans, magicians, civilians, Kissi, and Hellions, to name just a few. And one Hell of a good read!

The main character, Jimmy “Sandman Slim” Stark is forced by an evil cadre of magicians into Hell where he lives for eleven years fighting demons, monsters and worse in Lucifer’s battle-arena of the macabre. Returning to earth, with the help of a magic amulet, he finds that during his absence the magicians who sent him to the Inferno have also murdered his girlfriend. Bent on revenge and with a little help of his own magic Stark begins an epic search for the men who sent him to Hell and killed the love of his life. Along the way he is befriended by arch-angels, alchemists and monsters and hunted by demons, magicians and police.

Kadrey definitely knows how to spin a dark tale. His language, while offensive to some, fits the character of the story perfectly. Gritty, dark, angst-ridden and graphic the dialogue and fight scenes are coarse, bloody and down-right mean spirited. And to me that’s exactly what made this book spark. How could you not write noir razor-blades about a character this flawed and angry? Besides, if you had to deal with half the bad-asses Stark had to you’d be pissed off too! Beheadings, ritual sacrifice, demon weapons, magic, monsters and gore… just the way I like my back-alley fantasy!

4 out of 5 stars

The Alternative
Southeast Wisconsin

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