Stephen's Reviews > Sandman Slim

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1413439
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 more of that series and I am absolutely Cocoa Puff Coo Coo for the Monster Hunter International series.

To that rather scrawny list, I now add the Sandman Slim series which I plan to continue reading as I think it has serious upside potential. Here’s the skinny:

In a world where magic and supernatural creatures are known to exist, Stark was a powerful magician in love with the only woman who ever really accepted him for who he was. Life was sitting pretty...until Stark was betrayed by a group of his magician “friends” who had him literally sent to Hell in exchange for power, wealth and other assorted knick knacks. Oh, and the magic-wielding chunk-o-turds also decided to go ahead and kill the love of his life. Can anyone else see the rage clouds of the revenge storm beginning to form?

Flashforward 11 years later….

Stark is back from Hell and the experience seems to have been pretty handy. He’s not only survived but managed to pick up some new skills (including virtual invulnerability), a few demon-built go go gadgets and increased his overall badassery quotient exponentially. To make matters worse for the assbaskets that betrayed him, his pissed off meter has also undergone a round of steroid therapy and is glued on red. Stark is back from Hell for revenge on the six who sent him there, especially the head of the group named Mason himself has become mega powerful thanks to arranging Stark's little tour of Hell.

This is the UF genre’s take on hardcore noir fiction. Stark is a paranormalfied version of your typical noirtastic main character. In fact, Stark’s name and the fact that one of the main bad guys is named Parker are pretty clear homage to noir fiction giant, Donald Westlake and his Parker novels (which he wrote under the name Stark).

I liked the world-building and Stark's revenge quest has him bumping into all kinds of bump in the night baddies as well as Nazi skin heads with demonic weaponry, and a team from Homeland Security sporting soem serious angelic firepower.

There are no real good guys in the cosmic battle ground and ever the angels are played with huge streaks of gray in them. Stark has nothing but contempt for both sides and treats them all with a hearty “fuck yourself” as he sees them as two sides of the same crooked coin. I liked Stark's "you can kill me but you can't control me and I promise you'll limp when its over" mindset.

This is espcially true when dealing with the "good" angels who he holds in special contempt. His anger lacede, expletive topped tirades at what they and their Boss have allowed to happen on Earth are some of the best moments in the book. Dark yes, blasphemous, oh yeah...but seriously compelling reading.

In the end, I liked Stark and the fact that he never really mellowed during the book. You are in his head throughout the book and so you know he is not really “evil” and so it is easy to like the guy. He has a moral code (if seriously jaded and rough around the edges) and he looks out for his friends. It did take me a while to warm-up to him as he spent way to much time telegraphing his dumb mistakes and vacationing in the land of self-pity that the he seemed to be spiraling down to doucheville. However, he recovered nicely and when it finally came down to knocking heads around, he was a one man force of nature that was pure fun to watch.

By the end of the book I was sold on Stark's potential as a really good character. His inner monologues and outer tirades were often spiced with heavy doses of funny and I liked the overall tone of the story. The writing was good and certainly didn’t detract from the story-telling.

3.5 stars for this one and high hopes for future installments.
80 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Sandman Slim.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

April 6, 2010 – Shelved
July 13, 2011 – Started Reading
July 14, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel "Keith Urban Fantasy" - nice. I don't usually truck in it, either, but I am huge proponent of Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt books. If you haven't read those, you want to.


Kemper I kinda liked this one but Stark started to seriously get on my nerves after a while, and it got a lot worse in the sequel.


Stephen Kemper wrote: "I kinda liked this one but Stark started to seriously get on my nerves after a while, and it got a lot worse in the sequel."

Ouch, that is disappointing. I was really hoping for good things from the sequel. Was it just Stark's character or the whole story (or both) that went downhill in the sequel. I didn't seem to have as negative a reaction as you did to his character so if the story is interesting, I might still be okay.

I wait patiently for you to respond and ruin my hopes and dreams.


Mohammed Abdi Osman This books sounds like it was made for me.

Not because Stark/Parker homage thing but im a big fan of Joe Pitt series because hardcore noir along with UF can be pretty cool.

I prefer Joe Pitt over the wisecracking,sometimes annoying Harry Dresden. Dresden is not hardcore enough for my taste.


message 5: by Kemper (last edited Jul 14, 2011 02:12PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kemper Stephen wrote: "I wait patiently for you to respond and ruin my hopes and dreams.

It's what I do best...

I didn't hate it, but the things that bug me about Stark were still in play and the story fell apart in the third act. I still gave it three stars so it wasn't a disaster. Details here:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


Stephen Kemper wrote: "I didn't hate it, but the things that bug me about Stark were still in play and the story fell apart in the third act. I still gave it three stars so it wasn't a disaster. Details here:"

Okay, it looks like I may be okay. Hopes not crushed, just lightly bruised. I think I will take the plunge.


Stephen Mohammed wrote: "This books sounds like it was made for me."

You should definitely give it a shot.


message 8: by Tyson (new)

Tyson I haven't tried any urban fantasy yet, but you make this one sound interesting. But maybe I'll start with the Dresden Files since that seems to have so much buzz.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Stephen wrote: "Cocoa Puff Coo Coo for the Monster Hunter International series..."

LOL! I love your reviews for lines like the one above. Of course, they are also very informative but truly, it is your sense of humor that makes me search out your reviews.


message 10: by Jael (new)

Jael "Keith Urban Fantasy"? What is that? *utterly confused* Does it have something to do with the Country Singer?


Stephen Jael wrote: ""Keith Urban Fantasy"? What is that? *utterly confused* Does it have something to do with the Country Singer?"

Nothing at all. It was just a play on words. A lot of Urban fantasy is light easy reading (similar to Keith Urban music) so I just combined as a joke (though possibly not a very good one). :)


message 12: by Jael (new)

Jael Hmm, if I had actually listened to Keith Urban I might have gotten it right away. My knowledge of him just extends to my oldest sister proclaiming she wants him to be her boyfriend.


Stephen Jael wrote: "Hmm, if I had actually listened to Keith Urban I might have gotten it right away. My knowledge of him just extends to my oldest sister proclaiming she wants him to be her boyfriend."

LOL...I actualy don't listen to him either, but my wife does.


Contrarius Damn, somebody already beat me to it. If you like Sandman Slim for its noirishness, you definitely gotta read the Joe Pitt series. Now THAT is noir UF. And also great writing.

Loved your review, btw!


Bella Crow As I was reading this series I kept thinking that Stark & Joe Pitt would make great drinking buddies


Kristen Johnson I loved this whole series!


MorteTorment(Unofficial World's Fastest Reader) Well, you certainly convinced me! So gonna read this soon. Thanks!


back to top