Kaje Harper's Reviews > Kill the Dead

Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey
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Jun 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from June 18 to 21, 2011

3.5 stars. This book suffers a little from the inevitable comparison with Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. The wise-cracking tone and clever verbal exchanges are a strong feature of both. Like Harry Dresden, Stark (aka. Sandman Slim) provides the reader with snippets of observation and lines of conversation so good that they beg to be read aloud to someone else. Still I'm sure Kadrey is sick of hearing the comparison. If the author had been able to resist adding the disembodied head who has access to info and gives advice, I might sympathize more, but the parallel with Bob-the-skull just adds that one extra iota of correspondence.

Not that Stark isn't a great character in his own right, complex and on the shady side of moral, with his painful history and issues. He's sarcastic, self-deprecating, and an unrepentant smart-ass. My kind of hero. His interactions with Lucifer, in particular, are inspired.

This is not the book to start the series with. Read Sandman Slim first, otherwise you will find this one confusing. I still found the plot and array of characters a little muddled at first, because it has been six months since I read Sandman Slim and I'd forgotten the deatils. But this book is fun. I have to give the author a lot of credit for perhaps the best touch with a present-tense narrative I have seen. Usually present-tense is a down-check for me, but this one read so smoothly I think I was three chapters in before I noticed it.

So an amusing read in a great voice, worth the time if you liked the first one, but not coherent and engaging enough to rate it more highly.

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