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Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,316 Ratings  ·  2,121 Reviews
Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero.

Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.

Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by Harper Voyager
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Reader Q&A

Storm Front by Jim ButcherHounded by Kevin HearneChanges by Jim ButcherSummer Knight by Jim ButcherDead Beat by Jim Butcher
Urban Fantasy With Male Lead Characters
13th out of 614 books — 1,097 voters
Magic Bites by Ilona AndrewsMoon Called by Patricia BriggsStorm Front by Jim ButcherDarkfever by Karen Marie MoningHalfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Best Urban Fantasy SERIES
42nd out of 404 books — 2,227 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 29, 2012 Patrick rated it it was amazing
How could I have gone years without hearing about this book?

Simply said, I enjoyed it to a ridiculous degree. I picked it up mostly because of the blurbs on the back, authors I trust not to lie to me said glowing things. I was only 30 pages in when I called the local bookstore to order the other books in the series.

I like Kadrey's writing. It doesn't feel like he's trying desperately to impress me. It doesn't feel like he's trying to mimic the big powers in Urban Fantasy Butcher, Harris, Briggs
WOWZA!! Rarely have I encountered a main character so loaded with ANGSTY RAGENESS and OMNIDIRECTIONAL BADITUDE as James Stark (aka Sandman Slim). I mean this guy is full of ARRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!...and it works...mostly.

Now let me say at the outset that I don’t read a ton of Keith Urban Fantasy. I enjoy The Dresden Files on a casual, non-rabid, basis and despite wanting to bitch-slap the main character for his all too often bouts of annoying. I really liked The Devil You Know and plan on reading
Will Byrnes
Jan 20, 2016 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
Having recently exited Hell, Stark is rather peeved at those who had sent him there for eleven years, and is eager for revenge. He has a fondness for stealing cars and making mayhem. Los Angeles comes in for some laugh-out-loud funny noir treatment.

Richard Kadrey - from his site

Richard Kadrey has created a world not unlike Kim Harrison’s Inderland, a blended world in which the magical and non-magical co-exist. I love Kadrey’s dark sense of humor, which reminds me very much of the Hell Boy seri
Dec 09, 2010 Kemper rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, magic
Ever read a book and find yourself thinking, "This is pretty good, but it could have been face-melting awesome."? This is one of those books for me. I really liked it, but found myself picking some serious nits while reading it.

Stark was a magician (a real magician, not a sawing-a-woman-in-half kind) who was madly in love with his girlfriend Alice when he was betrayed by another magician named Mason and some others. Mason managed to send Stark to hell, but as a living person, not a dead soul.

Oct 12, 2012 Carol. rated it liked it
Recommended to Carol. by: Kristen
After the second read-through, I've come to the conclusion that Sandman Slim is Jason Statham starring in a Simon R. Green Nightside story. Pulpy urban fantasy on steroids, it's perfect for an adrenalin read, but I recommend a pass if you are in the mood for deep thinking or don't feel up for violence.

Jason-cough- I mean, Stark--has made it out of Hell and is looking for revenge. Eleven years ago, six fellow members of a magic circle sent him to Hell, and his mission is to kill them all. Landing
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 04, 2011 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it
I guess I'm just getting old, but I'm so tired. I started 3 (4 if you count Tooth Fairy which I gave all of 2 stars) Urban Fantasies I took off my books completely as a waste of time and I didn't even bother to rate or review it...another I stopped reading and gave 1 star as another in a long line of anti-hero clones this one, and it's the same. I don't mind antiheroes, if their good antiheroes. This is another mouthy guy with attitude that I can't find even remotely bel ...more
Dec 30, 2009 Felicia rated it really liked it
Men, you want hard-boiled urban fantasy? Here's a treat! Fans of Charlie Huston will get into this "just-escaped-from-hell" anti-hero.
Wil Wheaton
Apr 22, 2011 Wil Wheaton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dark-fantasy, noir, horror
It's not just good ... it's [author=Charlie Huston] good.
If our personalities are derived from the characters and novels we tend to enjoy (in my case both reading and writing), then I’d make a strong candidate for Shithead of the Year. Hell, I don’t even need a running mate. I suppose I could leave it at that, and just walk away, probably leaving more than a few of you scratching your heads. But I might as well expound upon my point, because once you start shoveling shit you might as well keep going.

You see, James Stark is a character I’m not supposed
Sandman Slim is the story of James Stark. Stark has quite a chip on his shoulder: He was sent to Hell at age 19 and has languished there for 11 years. Stark is out for revenge and wants to kill those responsible for his time “Downtown.”

Told from Stark’s point of view, the narrative voice combines a wicked sense of humor with irreverence, snark, and the need to get even with those who wronged him. Stark is a complex character: He is still grieving the death of his first love Alice. At the same ti
May 04, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of the Dresden Files series and similar
Profane, violent, sarcastic, hilarious. Kick-ass anti-hero with a heart of, well, maybe not gold, but perhaps hell-fire burnished silver. This very likely the first book of a series.
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
So, this book is a basic "back for revenge" kind of thing. Our protagonist gets sent bodily to hell, somehow manages to survive for 11 years, then gets embedded with a magic key that lets him go anywhere, and comes back for revenge after they kill his girl.

There are some interesting concepts - a bit of a twist that the guy coming back from Hell is still actually alive, some cool weaponry, like the na'at which is a weapon from Hell which is pretty mutatable, some magical stuff, so on and so forth
Barbara (VampAngel)
Dec 13, 2010 Barbara (VampAngel) rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I'm not sure if I should be giving it 3 or 4 stars. I did enjoy the book a lot, but I have a feeling it is the weakest one in the series, as most first books are.

This book is straight up Urban Fantasy, not a drop of Paranormal Romance in there. This doesn't bug me at all, as I'm as much of a fan of UF as I am of PNR. I've been reading a lot of PNR lately which mostly consists of female main characters kicking ass, although I quite enjoy that I was pleased to read a book with a male main charact
Kat  Hooper
Jul 05, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

“Trust me on this — Hell is a tough room.”

James Stark is back and it's time for heads to roll (literally). His “friends” managed to get him pulled into Hell and he's spent the last 11 years entertaining Lucifer and Beelzebub in the gladiatorial arena, learning plenty of new skills (including how to speak High Hellion, which sounds a lot like barking), and acquiring a couple of useful magical objects. Now he's crawled out of the abyss and he's ready for rev
**2.5 stars**

I enjoyed the author's turn of phrase but Stark drove me nuts. No head whatsoever. He thinks coming shooting wildly like a cowboy will solve all his problems and lets everybody and their mother manipulate him to do what they want with him.

Stark crawls out of hell to avenge the man who sent him there and killed his girlfriend. He has no plan whatsoever and pretty much stumbles upon his enemies while stealing cars and doing crazy shit. If there's one thing I don't like in books are st
Benji Glaab
May 24, 2014 Benji Glaab rated it it was amazing
After doing an 11 year tour in hell honing his skills at killing and practically having a threesome with pain and suffering, James Stark has returned to a scum infested L.A.

Seeking revenge on ex friends that were at the center of the scheming betrayel that sent Jimmy on a trip "downtown". Sandman slim could live with that, however wrought with guilt for not being able to protect his only love he's intent on tracking down the man responsible for her death, Mason the plots mastermind and talented
Edward Lorn
Mar 24, 2013 Edward Lorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't normally like urban fantasy, nor do I care much for anything involving Heaven, Hell, or any of the mythical beasts roaming around those lands. The difference here is Richard Kadrey's writing. His prose is faster than a bullet and as vulgar as a sailor pounding the back door out of a two dollar lady of the night. If that last sentence offended you, please stay away from Sandman Slim. The main character's first-person narration is far more blue. If you like crass descriptions and foul-mout ...more
Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 Rick Riordan rated it really liked it
Okay, this is NOT a children’s book, just FYI. This is noir urban fantasy, like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, but even grittier. The main character, James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, is betrayed by a group of powerful magicians and dragged bodily into Hell, where he spends eleven years fighting in the gladiator pits of Lucifer. Somehow he survives, and eventually manages to escape back to Los Angeles. Now he’s looking for the people who betrayed him, but to get revenge, he’ll have to navigate ...more
Ms. Nikki
The Sandman was the most unintelligent anti-hero ever. Run into danger, get hurt, do it again with more anger. Everyone in the story was an asshole, asshat, or an ass. I wasn't feeling this story. A lot of the characters had the same voice! Even steal-your-soul Lucifer was all hey, can I borrow that. This read also over-dosed on sarcasm.

Not for me. I'd recommend Chuck Wendig's The Blue Blazes over this anytime. Chuck's anti-hero had heart and the world building was better.
Maggie K
Mar 31, 2013 Maggie K rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Dang! I started reading this yesterday and ended up not being able to put it down! This is the kind of book I love when I am lopoking for some e scapism....action-packed, with a different angle.
11811 (Eleven)
Dec 16, 2014 11811 (Eleven) rated it really liked it
I really don't like urban fantasy. Or do I? This Kadrey dude is making me reconsider. The sequel is on my list.

Dec 07, 2010 Lea rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010, reviews
I'm giving this book a rating of 3 1/2 or 3 3/4 stars -- it's better than 3, but not quite good enough for 4 stars for me.

The good: Stark is a great character. He's a guy for whom it's all come pretty easy, which makes him a bit of a brat & a real smartass -- his mouth keeps getting him into trouble. But just when you think he's too big a jerk to waste your time on, he turns around & does something good, even noble & heroic. Okay, maybe it's for the wrong reasons, but there's defini
This is one of the bad boys in the paranormal genre - it's grim and gritty, it's violent with crass language and basically with no hint of romance, which seems to dominate the supernatural and urban fantasy books nowadays.
It's summed up in - Life sucks and then you die.
Meet James Stark, a badass and a so-so magician, who was one day dragged to Hell and dropped in the arena to fight all types of monsters for the amusement of Hellions and serving Azazel, one of Lucifer's generals, who sometimes
Oct 24, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2010
I really enjoyed this book and could see many ways that it could have been a perfect 5 star novel. Stark is a very interesting "Anti-Hero" that is known by the hellions of hell as Sandman Slim. This is a dark revenge novel that is nothing more than Stark's mission to kill all those that were involved with sending him to hell and killing his girl. Many people come up with creative comparisons to describe what they have just read. I will add that if Joe Abercrombie were to write a novel about a mo ...more
Apr 28, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, paranormal
Magicians, demons, angels and more in this supernatural thriller. The boogie man of hell gets a hall pass to seek revenge on earth against the mortals that doomed him and killed the love of his life. Twists and turns keep the story revealing itself as Sandman Slim works his way through many surprises that continuously complicate what he thought would be quick revenge killings.

A bit of sarcasm and humor add to Sandman Slims personality and his inappropriate off color character goes perfect with
An interesting, quick read - fun once - but nothing I want to keep or continue reading. It was irreverent, which I liked, but over-done. It got old by the end. All the revelations at the end were a bit much, too.
Dark Faerie Tales
Oct 04, 2012 Dark Faerie Tales rated it it was amazing
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Anti-hero Stark, aka Sandman Slim, escapes Hell and comes back to Earth to exact revenge on the people that sent him there 11 years ago. There is lots of killing, drinking, blasphemy, and magic that is used in the hunt for Mason and his crew; and you cheer Stark on during every minute of it.

Opening Sentence: I wake up on a pile of smoldering garbage and leaves in the old Hollywood Forever cemetery behind the Paramount Studio lot on Melrose,
Jul 02, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it
Remember that movie The Crow, with Brandon Lee? Ok. Sandman Slim has that same vibe...minus the emo goth-boy hero and scruffy little girl with a skateboard.

James Stark is the pulp fiction style anti-hero of this story, who has literally been to Hell and back.
Eleven years after being betrayed by a group of magicians, whose leader used Stark as the sacrifice to catapult himself to incredible power, he escapes from Hell with a new name and a new reputation. Sandman Slim, the monster who kills mons
Kat Desi
Jul 24, 2015 Kat Desi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark-fantasy
I haven't read a good urban fantasy novel in a long while and I'm glad to have randomly picked this book to read. It was a little slow at first, but when things started to build up, it just blows you away. James Stark a/k/a Sandman Slim is everything I like in an urban fantasy hero. He isn't really an average hero that anyone would like. He can be a jack ass. He's selfish. He's sarcastic. Too caught up in his own world. He knows it but he's not sorry for it. The story overall is hard edged and I ...more
Mar 03, 2013 Skip rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, e-books, horror
Stark has just returned from Hell, where he survived by fighting in the arena and carrying out assasinations for Lucifer's generals. He has returned to L.A. to seek revenge from his circle who sent him "Downtown" and killed his girlfriend, Alice. He makes some new friends, renews his relationship with old ones, to discover others are trying to manipulate him to do their bidding. Good action, good characters. Look forward to reading the next one.
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Richard Kadrey is a freelance photographer and writer living in San Francisco. He photographs under the name Kaos Beauty Klinik. His new novel is Sandman Slim (Eos, 2009).
More about Richard Kadrey...

Other Books in the Series

Sandman Slim (8 books)
  • Kill the Dead (Sandman Slim, #2)
  • Aloha from Hell (Sandman Slim, #3)
  • Devil Said Bang (Sandman Slim, #4)
  • Kill City Blues (Sandman Slim, #5)
  • The Getaway God (Sandman Slim, #6)
  • Killing Pretty (Sandman Slim, #7)
  • The Perdition Score (Sandman Slim, #8)

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“Did I hurt your feelings again? Sorry. When this is all over I'll send some flowers to your inner child.” 114 likes
“Try not to sing too many sad songs for yourself. The universe already hates you. Self-pity isn't going to help.” 90 likes
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