Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim is one hell of a book. Literally. The kind of book where Lucifer is a character, and life ‘Downtown’ is something the main character, James Starks, doesn’t worry about. He misses it.
Life in Hell was simple for Starks. Then he escaped back to Los Angeles; a place that rivals hell for creating one shit-storm of violence and dark magic after another. Now, caught in a battle between angels and demons, Starks finds a middle ground as he tries to kill those who sent him to the fiery pits in the first place. And even the angels aren’t safe – or innocent – in this mess.
If there is one word I can use to describe Sandman Slim, it’s Irreverent. With a capital ‘I’. Kadrey writes like he doesn’t care about your sensibilities, and there are no sacred cows he won’t slide a pitchfork into and roast over a good pyre. This is not a book for the faint of heart, or the easily offended. Run away from this one you think that might describe you. But if you enjoy a good tale, a unique story like nothing else you have ever read, and can take violence and startling imagery, you will like this book.
I can’t tell you how many times Kadrey blew me away with a metaphor or a simile that fit perfectly into the story. Open up just about any page, and you’ll find one. For instance… On page 62:
“The vacant land looks corrupt and out of place in the perfect landscape, like a starlet showing rotten teeth behind her million-dollar smile.”
And it’s not just the images he creates. The dialog fits perfectly to the characters, and the characters are all sublimely nasty and well-developed. There are no cardboard cutouts in this book. Every one of them has a pulse. Well, not every one of them.
This is a great book, and I will be picking up more of Kadrey’s stories. I’m just going to give it a few days, so my soul can heal, and I won’t immediately be tagged for a one way cab ride ‘Downtown’.