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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No More Heroes
Another antihero hits the streets in the shape of Stark, a recent escapee from Hell.

Killed by jealous 'friends' he is back after 11 years trying to figure out why his ex-girlfriend is dead and at the same time plotting revenge on his murderers.

Without giving too much away, this could have been Urban Fantasy by the numbers - something which has...
Published on 17 Sep 2009 by Call me Sparky

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hell in LA
There are hints in 'Sandman Slim' that Richard Kadrey is a fan of Werner Herzog's films. First, one of his characters, Kinski, appears to be named after the star of most of Herzog's films. Secondly, one of those films, 'Fitzcarraldo', is referenced during the novel. I mention this because Kadrey's novel seems to share Herzog's pessimistic view of humanity, although while...
Published 24 months ago by D. J. H. Thorn


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No More Heroes, 17 Sep 2009
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Another antihero hits the streets in the shape of Stark, a recent escapee from Hell.

Killed by jealous 'friends' he is back after 11 years trying to figure out why his ex-girlfriend is dead and at the same time plotting revenge on his murderers.

Without giving too much away, this could have been Urban Fantasy by the numbers - something which has affected the Dresden series recently.

It isn't though and Kadrey (who I had never heard of previously) has concoted a world that is familiar yet disturbing.

Strong prose, a tight plot and believable,fallible characters.

If you like Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman or Mike Carey, chances are you will power through this.

A good start to a new series.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stomping supernatural romp (no Endless here, however), 28 July 2012
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Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This is an interesting start to a new supernatural series. It's harder and darker than the typical modern `urban fantasy', exchanging everlasting love and swooning heroines for everlasting anguish, while demons are despatched with poise and prejudice and interestingly weird weapons of war.
The action takes place in modern American - indeed, some of the slanguage needed a quick translation on this side of the Pond. The hero returns after spending over a decade fighting hellions in the arena down below, swearing vengeance on the magicians who betrayed him. It all gets off to a great start when he decapitates one of his ex-friends, keeps him alive, and stores the body in a closet being tortured by a TV tuned to daytime programmes...
On the upside, this is an inventive tale with a vivid tone, plenty of action, a credibly constructed reality and an interesting protagonist. On the downside, he picks up a defenceless female apprentice in no time flat (enough with the girly apprentices, already), and my hackles didn't appreciate the blatant abuse of the 'sandman' tag. The name was utterly irrelevant to the character and it felt like a feeble attempt at getting the book listed in the right genre. Don't come here looking for Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Morpheus would wipe the floor with these guys without Goldie so much as cheeping.

Once I got over myself, however, I really enjoyed this opening chapter in what is plainly going to be an extended story arc involving the forces of heaven, hell and a bunch of bad guys. The dialogue is laugh-out-loud snappy in places, and one of the final scenes with Someone Important was a gem. So I'm gung-ho for the next episode, and if you enjoy the Iron Druid chronicles (Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles: Book One), Alex Versus adventures (Cursed: An Alex Verus Novel) or the recent Technomancer (Unspeakable Things: Book One), then this should suit you too.
7/10
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hell in LA, 21 July 2012
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D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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There are hints in 'Sandman Slim' that Richard Kadrey is a fan of Werner Herzog's films. First, one of his characters, Kinski, appears to be named after the star of most of Herzog's films. Secondly, one of those films, 'Fitzcarraldo', is referenced during the novel. I mention this because Kadrey's novel seems to share Herzog's pessimistic view of humanity, although while the latter's work is melancholy, Kadrey's novel is a mix of action and gallows humour.

The title character, who is actually known as Stark for most of the book, comes across to me not so much a flawed hero as a villain with virtues. Sent to Hell while alive he escapes back to this world, seeking to destroy those who sent him there. Both he and his adversaries have magic powers and the nature of the battle is somewhat macabre. There are few characters in the story you would want to rub shoulders with; the innocent tend to be comprised of bystanders who are in the way and are therefore expendable. We are also frequently reminded that the love of Stark's life was killed before he went to Hell. This device comes across to me as an arbitrary means of persuading us to empathise with him. I think what is missing is the detail, what sort of character she was, what they shared and what he loved about her, rather than her just being dead.

For all that this is a decent novel, bolstered by the author's sense of humour. It has a cracking opening and there are several page-turning scenes. There are, however, several scenes which for me lack momentum. I usually read a book of this length in three days during a working week. This one took me twice as long. Though there was never any chance I wouldn't finish it, I put it down frequently when I didn't have to.

The book's premise seems original enough. It is also an example of why genre labels are so troublesome. Described as a 'supernatural fantasy' on the cover, it is a lot stronger than so-called 'dark fantasy' and has none of the romantic elements usually found in that genre.

The book also contains the first hundred pages of Kadrey's follow-up which I avoided. I think if you're going to read that much you're going to have to buy the book anyway. 'Sandman Slim', though a fair read, doesn't make me want to read more by the same author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars entertaining, 14 May 2013
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This review is from: Sandman Slim (Kindle Edition)
Some of the one liners made me laugh out loud. I liked the writing style - fast paced, gritty and not at all self indulgent. Characters were not backward in criticising our hero, and he just shrugged, snarked back, or hit them.

This is an action hero, whose emotional fixation is on revenging the death of a girlfriend. The horrors of being a demon punchbag and torture victim for eleven years, seem to have left few consequences except a lot of physical scarring and 'low impulse control' (aka wanting to beat the cr*p out of anyone who annoys him). This is not a guy who questions himself or who is willing to take advice.

Strangely, this didn't annoy me. I found myself enjoying his rash blundering into trouble, the casual violence and serial car thefts. It struck me as very amusing that he preferred to steal cars than step through shadows (teleport), which would actually have been quicker.

Possibly the best bit was the moral ambiguity between the flexibility and humanity shown by the occupants of Hell, and the rabid fundamentalism of those on the side of the angels.

I struggled a little with the steady diet of violence and the plot roller coaster. I suppose I wanted a little down time, some change of pace. Full steam ahead for several hundred pages was like standing in a wind tunnel.

I'll be reading the second in the series out of plot curiosity and hoping for character development. I think if the hero doesn't change/grow/develop then I might not bother with vol III.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant couldn't put it down, 8 Mar 2013
This review is from: Sandman Slim (Kindle Edition)
This is simply pure bliss to read. There's plenty of action from the word go, its thrilling and most importantly its new. The idea, the concept, is new, its not fantasy fiction by numbers. He uses plain old violence, and guns as well as magic.

The hero comes back with a vengence based killing spree in mind and enjoys violence, stealing cars, cigarettes from hell, and he's the hero.

Stark used to hang round with a group of people into the occult in modern day L.A. but the leader of his group betrayed him and sent him, alive, to hell. The first live human in hell he was a novelty, harshly dealth with, who fought repeatedly in Hells arena's gladiator style against all manner of demons, he became hard to kill, then he became an assassin of Demons for one of Hell's generals and the denizen's of hell came to fear his name. Now he's escaped hell and he's after vengence on the people who sent him there.

The book starts with him crawling out of hell in a grave yard and the action starts almost imediately, the back story slots in arround the action so you don't have to endure a mass info dump back story. Its so riveting I literally read this, and the subsequent books in the series, start to finish in one sitting.

I won't go any deeper into the storyline as I dislike too many spoilers in reviews. Simple to say I loved this book. I felt the topic had enough original invention to thrill most people sagging from fantasy fiction by numbers. It was action packed from the first page, the hero is a dark violent hero who you will absolutely love and root for. The writing is fluid, has a fantastic balance of action and dark humour, and manages to balance story, humour and action perfectly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avenging Alice...urban fantasy with violence and lots of humour., 17 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Sandman Slim (Kindle Edition)
Meet Sandman Slim. The monster who kills monsters and a recent escapee from hell who is on the search for his girlfriend's killers back in Las Angeles. Sandman Slim's persona develops during the course of the book and not only is he a mean bad-guy slayer but also a very funny guy.
This book is the start of an urban fantasy series with a difference. It has angels, hellions, Lucifer himself makes an appearance, anti-angels and any other ghoul you could imagine. Sandman Slim, a.k.a Stark, a.k.a. Wild Bill is a magician of immense skill that 11 years previously was sold out by his coven of magician friends and dragged to hell for eternity. During those 11 years Stark was effectively, a gladiator, used by the hellion upper echelons to fight any and every demon. But what no one foresaw was that Stark became immortal. Fast forward, and Stark is back on earth looking to kill everyone responsible for the death of his girlfriend Alice. Once back in sunny LA, stark gets to grips with technology and forms some unlikely alliances with people he doesn't usually deal with, and makes friends with some usual characters.
This book has tonnes of action and is a page turner from the get go. Kadrey has an easy to read writing style and there are some great passages that made me laugh our loud. The characters are likeable and the story line is gripping. I can't wait to start reading the next book in the series, Kill the Dead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Genius ,Bible Bashing Genius, 10 May 2013
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This review is from: Sandman Slim (Kindle Edition)
I don't think Richard Kadrey has much time for western religion as most people know it, The Sandman slim novels shake it up ,and then smash it apart with incredible ideas and twists. It's just Genius. Sandman Slim is is an incredible character and if this whole series doesn't end up on the big screen at some stage I'd be amazed. All 4 book in the series are fantastic reads and can't wait for the 5th. Genius pure genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watch your back, the Sandman's coming, 4 April 2013
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This review is from: Sandman Slim (Kindle Edition)
Here's a tale of a man back from hell and he's in search of vengance and boy does he start making a mess of it. The writer keeps the book going with some great set pieces and an interesting take in magic. It's not for the faint hearted, there's violence enough although there's alot of humour in it, in a very sardonic way. It does what the author intened, to take you into a world on the edge of our world, where real magic exists but stays hidden and where the monsters aren't just your ordinary everyday demons but a whole host of them as well as possibly being the quiet video store next door. A pretty good read and I'll probably be back for the next instalments.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insane not to give it a read!, 10 Mar 2013
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This is an awesome read! The book has no dull parts and there is action littered all over every page! The dialogue crackles along like a tarantino movie! This needs to be turned into a TV series by HBO would be hands down a winner, if done correctly of course. Angels, demons and all sorts of mythical creatures abound as Stark seeks revenge on his former magic circle who sent him to Hell but hes back and definitely means business!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars must read, 2 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Sandman Slim (Kindle Edition)
Richard Kadrey is one of the best writers I have come across. Downloaded his first novelette in the Sandman Slim series and Ive purchased the full set. Dark fantasy with very funny humour. Recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of escapism.
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Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim 1)
Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim 1) by Richard Kadrey (Paperback - 20 Jun 2013)
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