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REVIEW: 'Sandman Slim' by Richard Kadrey

Life sucks, then you die.  Period.  Unless you're James Stark, a hitman in Hell for eleven years before escaping back up to Hell-on-earth L.A. -- looking for revenge, absolution... love, maybe.  But Hell's not through with Stark.  Heaven't not either.

Sandman Slim was selected as our book-club pick at The Outhouse,  
visit there for more discussion.

Book Review:

I really enjoyed this book, the start to a new urban fantasy series about the title character: Sandman Slim.  It distanced itself from other urban fantasies with it's dark tones and spooky main character who walks a line between good and bad after the time he spent in hell.

He starts off simply looking for revenge on those that cast him into hell, but the layers of the story are revealed the more he digs into why.  The surrounding characters were interesting enough, though none could really compete with Sandman for attention.

My only issue with the story was how L.A. came off in it.  Although the plot does get into evil forces working against the emotions of everyday people, so perhaps the darkness of the city was only enhances by that.  But Sandman did seem to continually act like it was a normal thing so I wasn't sure how to feel about that.  It worked for the book, but didn't quite fit the real world perception I have of L.A.

Bottom Line:

I would highly recommend this book for urban fantasy fans.  If you like books like Dresden Files and wouldn't mind exploring a darker tone then this book is for you.  It's available now in paperback and the second volume is out with the third soon coming.


  1. I was really surprised by this book. I thought I wouldn't like it because everyone kept saying how violent it was, but I thought it all fit rather well with the style and I absolutely adored it. I REALLY liked the ending. I love surprises , twists, and funny quips, so I think that made up for the blood and guts. My only problem is the realism of the world. Everyone acts like they woke up on the wrong side of the bed in East LA wearing rival gang colors. I guess once I got used to all the characters and the story that issue seemed to fade, but I was taking it at face value that it was set in real Earth. I don't know if that makes sense.

  2. To be honest, I didn't really care for it.

    Part of it was I'm just not a fan of urban fantasy for the most part.

    Part of it was I thought the religious aspect of the book was pretty cliched and shallow. A lot more could have been done with it, and it could have been handled with a bit more subtlety.

    I will also second Alima's comment about the setting. I grew up in LA, even lived in that exact area for over a year. And the description was not very accurate in a lot of ways. It did take me out of the book.

    I'll have more another time.

    The one thing I will say is that the book was very readable. It moved quickly. Maybe a little too quickly.

  3. I thought I’d be the only one that didn’t like it…

    I liked the world he created but Stark kind of ruined the book for me, I didn’t like him at all. Basically he was such a teenager and he used too many similes.

  4. I really liked this book and I'm glad a few of you did as well. I don't have a formal review or anything cuz I read it over a month ago but I liked it enough to stick with the series. The confrontation with Mason wasn't my favorite part of the book but it was good enough. My favorite aspects was the sex club for angels and his interactions with the head angel chick. They had a cool dynamic going.