Aloha From Hell: A Sandman Slim Novel Hardcover – Oct 7 2011
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“Richard Kadrey’s ‘Sandman Slim’ series is one of my favorite sets of fantasy books from the last few years…” (John Scalzi)
“I hope Kadrey keeps putting out Sandman Slim books for the next 20 years. They’re that much fun to read.” (Wired)
“Kadrey’s prose is raw and gutter-tough, Raymond Chandler meets Lux Interior at the Whisky a Go Go at the end of days.” (Austin Chronicle)
“This bad-ass supernatural horror stuff is clearly the material he was born to write. Kadrey has an ungodly (literally) amount of fun with Stark’s wryer-than-wry and violenter-than-violent observations and dialog.” (Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing)
“Full of action, wit, and suspense, this grabbed a hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Kadrey is a master storyteller (overused, I know, but very apt) and he will have you rooting for him in Hell and on Earth.” (Suspense magazine)
“Kadrey knows how to spin a story, his prose is crisp and effortless, and the entertainment value is high.” (Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction on Kill the Dead)
“Compelling...brilliantly metaphoric...profane mixture of noir atmospherics, black humor, and nonstop action will please Kadrey’s many fans.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Kadrey’s stylized treatment of the ubiquitous urban fantasy genre makes it seem fresh” (Kirkus Reviews)
“The perfect escapist storyline … side-splittingly funny. … gruesome slapstick mixed with down-and-dirty Hammett-esque mayhem and double-dealing. … If you’ve been hoping someone would bring the full-strength SoCal toxic waste to the urban fantasy game, then Sandman Slim is your poison.” (io9.com)
“If authors were tarot cards, Richard Kadrey would unarguably be the Hierophant of Paranormal Fantasy.” (Paul Goat Allen)
“…endlessly inventive and high-octane…Kadrey’s an excellent writer who’s able to juggle all of it without dropping a single pin.” (Locus)
“Everything a sequel should be; that is, more. … There’s hardly a moment where you’re not chewing your fingernails to the wrist wondering what happens next. … Kadrey is a hell of a writer, versatile and seasoned, and these pulpy, dark, ultraviolent novels are his best work yet.” (Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing)
“James Stark, antihero of 2009’s Sandman Slim, returns in this gritty, over-the-top tale of supernatural mayhem…Profane, intensely metaphoric language somehow makes self-tortured monster Stark sympathetic and turns a simple story into a powerful noir thriller.” (Publishers Weekly on KILL THE DEAD)
“Witty, gritty, over-the-top mayhem to care. If you mixed Jim Butcher with Christopher Moore, forced a kicking and screaming Warren Ellis in after them, and shook well, you’d get . . . well, I’d be careful opening the mixer. But the result wouldn’t be too far away from this.” (Daytona Beach News)
“Hilarious … belongs up there with Dresden Files and Felix Castor novels. … some of the best supernatural buddy comedy ever created. ... This is that rare sequel that’s actually better than the first book (which was plenty great) and manages to take several leaps forward.” (io9.com)
If you like your horror stories with a little camp, a little quirkiness and a whole lot of blood and gore then Kill The Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey will be right up your alley. (Las Vegas Review Journal)
“Think Get Shorty meets Hellraiser.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“If Simon R. Green wrote an episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter, it would read much like Sandman Slim violent, vivid, non-stop action of the supernatural kind. I couldn’t put it down.” (Charlaine Harris)
“Dirty, disgusting, vulgar, violent, poisonously testosterone-driven, so politically incorrect it ought to be prosecuted, and generally all-round offensively in your face. … I loved it. It’s amazing.” (Robin McKinley)
“A sharp-edged urban fantasy, drenched in blood and cynicism, tipping its hat to Sam Peckinpah, Raymond Chandler and the anti-heroes of Hong Kong cinema. Kadrey brings it off through the propulsive force of Stark’s in-your-face, first-person, present-tense narration. It’s a bravura performance.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Nicotine and octane in equal parts might come close to the high-energy buzz from Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim. Crisp world building, recognizable and fully-realized characters, and a refreshingly unique storytelling style make for an absorbing read.Sandman Slim is my kind of hero.” (Kim Harrison)
“The most hard-boiled piece of supernatural fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. … all confident and energetic and fresh and angry. I loved this book and all its screwed-up people.” (Cory Doctorow)
“Kadrey combines humor and horror to create a lively, scary tale of urban warfare with plenty of gory action in Kill The Dead.’ (Deseret News)
“His best work yet. . . . Kadrey tells his story in a swirl of tight, darkly intense prose. . . . Sandman Slim is very, very good indeed.” (SF Site)
“Sandman Slim is one of the best books I have read in a very, very long while. Richard Kadrey is a genius. I read it on the plane ride home and was totally blown away.” (Holly Black)
“Paced like greased lightning (watch out for friction burns on your turning finger), blend the movie-ish delights of tough guy noir and such smart-mouthgore-fests as “Reanimator” and “Army of Darkness”, seasoned by soupcons of Gaimanian romanticism and Koontzian sentiment.” (Booklist)
“Kadrey’s tale lives on a tightrope, but the author nails the right balance of detective fiction and theological fantasy, seriousness and humor, pathos and absurdity.” (Lincoln Star Journal)
“Kadrey really is the anti-Twilight. Raw, real, funny, furious, all full of piss and hemoglobin. His third Sandman Slim novel, in which the supernatural anti-hero must go back to Hell to stop a war with Heaven, may be his finest.” (Fearnet)
From the Back Cover
Supernatural fantasy’s greatest anti-hero goes back to hell!
In Sandman Slim Stark came back from hell for revenge.
In Kill the Dead he tackled both a zombie plague and being Lucifer’s bodyguard.
Once again all is not right in L.A. Lucifer is back in Heaven, God is on vacation, and an insane killer mounts a war against both Heaven and Hell.
Stark’s got to head back down to his old stomping grounds in Hell to rescue his long lost love, stop an insane serial killer, prevent both Good and Evil from completely destroying each other, and stop the demonic Kissi from ruining the party for everyone.
Even for Sandman Slim, that’s a tall order. And it’s only the beginning.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Aloha from Hell picks up a few weeks from Kill the Dead, and there's one or two changes going on with Stark because of what was revealed about him in the second book (not to give away spoilers). After the usual mayhem and violence that always seems to find him, he ends up with the long awaited return to Hell to deal with some loose threads from the past two books. This is not a standalone book and it would probably be confusing for someone to pick it up without reading the previous two, which really do explain a lot of the relationships and past histories. While there's some summing up of what went down with whom, since everything is through Stark's first person point of view it's not very detailed.
There's a real momentum in this volume, a resolve to get things done. Stark's put off things for too long and now he has no choice, which only seems to make him more determined. Some very memorable characters from the previous books, such as Candy and Muninn, return. Some questions are answered, and the book leaves off in a place of decent resolution while still open to more sequels to follow. I certainly hope that there's more.
This is a series I enjoy recommending, something twisted and fun that's different enough from a lot of what's out there. It's yet to let me down. Stark's not your average good guy, he has his faults (least among them that he kills) and he's not blind to them. The characterization in these books is great, making you like beings you probably shouldn't and look at them in a fresh way.
But in this novel, there are construction issues, world building conflicts as well as editing problems.
Editing was the usual loose style that needs to be tightened. For example, reference is made in a conversation to something that was not actually part of the conversation. It probably probably referring to a line of dialog that was edited out, but it needed to be corrected in the entirety.
But those are issues that can be ignored. What dropped this novel to a 3 star was its general "throw the spaghetti at the wall and call it a plot" theme. The first half of the novel doesn't feel related in any way to the second. And frankly the first half is better. The second half takes place in hell, which is fine, but the amount of filler descriptiveness is truly dismally boring. And there does seem to be a sort of contrived meandering around, without any movement in the plot.
The fact that the hell he visits is now entirely different than the one we get glimpses of in his previous books, is explained in a rather contrived manner. And frankly, I think the choice of making hell a carnival mirror representation of LA was just silly. Beyond that, it has some glaring internal conflicts as well as logic conflicts.
The final twist at the end, was I suppose surprising. But it was hardly satisfying, and made the entire Metaphorical Hell even more unrealistic. It was also a bit of an internal conflict compared to previous book issues.
Our hero Stark, aka Sandman Slim, was an "innocent" dragged to hell, tortured, and forced to fight in the arena who managed to escape (to L.A. of all places) looking for vengeance. Unfortunately he wasn't able to kill Mason, the guy who sent him there. But he did manage to avert a zombie apocalypse. And send Mason to hell, which unfortunately is exactly where he wanted to be. That's books one and two. Now, it's been a while since Sandman's killed anyone important, the bad guys aren't as scared of him as they should be, Lucifer's on "vacation," there's a rebellion brewing in hell, the demonic Kissi are still skulking around, and, well, the universe is about to be ripped apart as heaven and hell go to war... Just another day at the office, right? Well sorta.
It is a challenge to read this offering without first breezing through the other two since the story is more-or-less on continuous thread, but then again those books are awesome so it's no hardship. The story is fairly original, but as with the rest of the series, what really shines is the the characterization and dialogue. They are far and away some of the best I've ever read, and I stopped counted at 3,000 books. Really. Kadrey's that good. The alchemist Vidocq is back along with Candy the Jade, and Stark's "roommate" Kasabian (his head anyway), along with some other fun, minor players like bartender Carlos, Josef the Kissi, and Marshal Julia. Big or small, everyone's universally well done, fascinating, and (for most anyway), warped.
It's sorta obvious by how fast I breezed through this one, but it's a real page turner. Don't start reading when you've got something more important to do. It won't get done. But do buy this book. You won't regret it. It's extraordinarily well done!
Author of Blinded by the Night, among other titles
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Genre: Urban Pandemonium Fantasy
James Starks (A.K.A. Sandman Slim) demon killer and nephilim* has been to Hell and back... literally. When his fame as a teenage warlock attracted the notice of demons years ago, they snatched him up and sent him off to the underworld, where he spent the next eleven years as a combatant in the Arena fighting demons as entertainment for Satan's spawn. Since escaping Hell (a long story revealed in the first two books) and returning to L.A. he's been busy killing demons, staking vampires, and preventing a zombie invasion but things of late have been a bit slow and Stark's is a little off his game.
So what exactly does a half-angel do on his day off? Apparently he attempts to locate and rescue the survivor of a failed exorcism. But the demon possessing this victim knows Sandman Slim intimately and now Starks must descend into Hell to rescue his dead soul mate. But in the land of Nod nothing is at it seems. He must travel through a barren desert then traverse Malchut of Atzilut, Gan Eden, Tartarus, Eleusis, and the suicidal streets of a burning Los Angeles before he can face down the minions of Hell. But first, he's going to have to take an unexpected side trip back into the Arena as the epic battle between Heaven and Hell threatens to rage out of control.
As reported previously all the books in this series are very quick reads (for those who like their death, destruction, mayhem, and demon-killing cranked up to level 11!) This series is a good starting point for anyone interested in blood and guts urban fantasy.
Disclaimer: Review copy provided free as part of the Amazon.com Vine Program.
4 stars out of 5
My favorite quote: "After you've been shot, stabbed, slashed, burned, and almost zombified and survived it all, death gets kind of abstract."
Sandman Slim Series by Richard Kadrey
1. Sandman Slim (2009)
2. Kill the Dead (2010)
3. Aloha from Hell (2011)
Aloha from Hell is Book 3 in the Sandman Slim series. I've read the first two books in the series, loved the first one and enjoyed the second too. Aloha, however, was not up to form.
First, I thought there was too much unnecessary gore. Now, I know that one must expect some blood and guts in this genre, and I like it too! - but I prefer it when it drives the plot, or at least when it happens as a result of some key action. In Aloha, the gore was like part of the scenery.
Second, I had some believability problems. In the previous two books in the series, the mythology and explanations were just vague enough that it was all easy to swallow. In Aloha, he TALKS TO GOD. He goes to Hell and busts the place up. He also meets up with his dead girlfriend, the one he became a vengeance-driven badass for. Where's the mystery? It was too specific, but not rigorous enough to help me maintain my suspension of disbelief.
Finally, I thought the plot wandered around a bit. The book was mostly over before he got to Hell like he'd been intending the whole time. He barely interacted with his nemesis. There was also a lot more reflection and internal monologue and rehashing past events than the other books, which slowed the pace a lot. There's still plenty of action and attitude, and cussing, and there's even some sexy times in this one, which I thought was a nice touch. But it lacked the tight, slick entertainment value that captured me in the first book.