Book Review: Sandman Slim–Richard Kadrey


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’.

One Comment on “Book Review: Sandman Slim–Richard Kadrey

  1. Yes! Damn, I’m going to have to go back and read this again, even though its only been a year. I think Kadrey could make a living selling us his amazing metaphors/similes at $1 a pop. I still shudder when I remember him describing Stark as saying he “looks like I’d been sumo wrestling in a barbwire kimono.” Ouch!

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