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Sandman Slim [Paperback]

Richard Kadrey
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 12 2010 Sandman Slim Novels (Book 1)

“An addictively satisfying, deeply amusing, dirty-ass masterpiece.”
—William Gibson

“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….A bravura performance.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“I couldn’t put it down.”
—Charlaine Harris

Sandman Slim has arrived—a wild and weird, edge-of-your-seat supernatural roller-coaster rider that propels author Richard Kadrey to the forefront of the fantasy, thriller, and a host of other literary genres. This spellbinding, utterly remarkable tale of a vengeful magician/hitman’s return from hell is part H.P. Lovecraft, part Christopher Moore, part Jim Butcher, and totally, unabashedly dark, twisted, and hilarious.


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Review

“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)

“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, author of Little Brother)

“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)

“Sarcastic, irreverent and ridiculously enjoyable riff on the Urban Fantasy genre. … a lot like a mosh pit -- rough, exuberant, unpredictable -- and a heck of a lot of fun.” (Miami Herald)

“The best B movie I’ve read in at least twenty years. An addictively satisfying, deeply amusing, dirty-ass masterpiece, Sandman Slim swerves hell-bent through our culture’s impacted gridlock of genres…it’s like watching Sergio Leone and Clive Barker co-direct from a script by Jim Thompson and S. Clay Wilson.” (William Gibson)

From the Back Cover

Life sucks, then you die. Period.

Unless you're James Stark, a hitman in Hell for eleven years before escaping back up to Hell-on-earth L.A.—looking for revenge, absolution . . . love, maybe.

But Hell's not through with Stark.Heaven's not either.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! May 27 2014
By Pristine13 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I rented this from my library and loved it so much I decided to order it online. This book was a fantastic, dark, witty and you need a sense of humour for this book for sure! I've read 3 from the series and if you like the first book; this one.. then you'll love all the rest for sure!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not your run of the mill "urban fiction" Jan. 11 2012
By Debbie the book junkie in Ontario TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I've become such a jaded reader over the past 5 years. I can't tell you how many books by well reviewed authors I've given up on. This book was fast paced, irreverent, bold and had a fresh plot that moved at break neck speed. Never a dull moment! It's an amazing romp! Many nights while reading it, I found myself falling asleep with it because I couldn't put it down, wanting to read just "one more page" before settling in to sleep.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted! Sept. 4 2012
By faith
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't say enough about this book or its sequel. In the past six weeks I've read and re-read both of them at least 5 times. Crazy I know...but they are addictive and I can't put them down.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a fast read... but... Aug. 5 2011
Format:Paperback
It is the same kind of story as the Dresden Files, though missing the light humor, so if you like Butcher's work, you'll probably like this one too. It's a bit cruder/gorier than Butcher's though.

By same kind of story I mean that it has magic and fantastical creatures and/or abilities and is based on a 'special' guy returning alive from Hell to get even with the world. And the story flows exactly like you'd expect given this "plot".

For me it's just too silly, and if I'm going to read a silly dark book, I'd like it to have a bit of humor in it - this doesn't have any, or if it does, it just wasn't funny. I like books to have some realism and a point to the plot - a point other than mere shock value or as a method to introduce another way to kill/maim someone - this book didn't fit that bill.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  431 reviews
121 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Dresden On Crack July 8 2009
By Crystal Lily - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am a big fan of Jim Butchers, Harry Dresden books. I devour them as soon as they are written.
Looks like I have another character to add to my list.
Sandman Slim is hopefully the first in a series. The character of Stark or Sandman Slim, is a magic using Hells Escapee with 11 years of gladiator fighting with demons and worse under his belt.
And now that he's back on Earth he's seriously pissed.
The plot of the book was very well paced. Kadrey has some simply hysterical similies and metaphors which are just so unexpected and refreshing. A girl storming out of a room in a rage and pounding down the stairs is referred to as "God's tiniest tyrannosaurus" These little phrases slipped effortlessly into the narrative really keep the reader on their toes and the interest level high while simultaneously staying completely in character with the first person narrative.
I would highly recommend this book to any fan of Jim Butcher and the likes of Simon Green.
I would offer the one caution that Kadrey does have an affinity for swearing...quite a bit. But it does fit the character and I think it would have read false if it was sugar coated or watered down.
All and all a very fun read!
124 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Dirty Fantasy. Loved it! June 12 2009
By Kelly L. Melcher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
(This review is based on an advanced readers copy)
This is a dark and dirty work of fantasy, so if you're looking for elves, look elsewhere. Stark comes across as a complete hardass, but isn't completely unsympathetic, I mean, I'd want to see some heads roll if I were sent down to Hell, alive. Sandman Slim is unapologetically a novel of brute force, cynical dark humor, and visceral fun.

My synopsis barely covers the plot, which would be more entertaining to read in the book rather than me spouting out what at this stage in the game would be spoilers. There were a few plot points I saw from almost the opening pages, which only put me off a little bit as I read. However other plot elements, like the ENTIRE ENDING, totally took me off guard. I like a book that can surprise me.

For the squeamish out there, here's your warning: If you're devoutly religious and you don't like controversy, fiction, or thumbing your nose at God, Angels, Devils, what-have-you, this is not your book. If you don't like violence, unsugarcoated gut spilling, antiheroes that make goody-two-shoes nervous and other such nastiness, steer clear. However, if you're like me at all, and you like a good adrenaline infused read, go pick this up when it comes out July 21st.
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real treat Oct. 16 2010
By simona b - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The main character in this urban fantasy book comes back from Hell to find his revenge on the people that killed his lover. He finds himself ten years older, in a dark Los Angeles haunted by demons, monsters and vampires. He is an hard boiled and humorous character, without hope but not wits.. I won't spoil your reading explaining who and what Sandman Slim is, but I recommend you not to miss this very well written book.
At the end of the book you will find an excerpt of the next one, "Kill the dead": I will surely buy it...as soon as its price decreases around $ 10. Enjoy!!
67 of 78 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Derivative and scrambled, but a hard-boiled good time all the same July 1 2009
By Anonymous - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
It's Constantine meets Gladiator, with a dash of Sandman, told as a Mike Hammer-style L.A. violent noir-slash-Gothic-punk hard-boiled detective action story! Or that's how I imagine the elevator pitch for the movie that this book seems calculated to set up, like a nearly four-hundred-page screenplay treatment. Stark/Slim, the narrator, is a quintessentially badass ex-Hellion pit fighter, back on Earth to revenge his emo girlfriend's murder, and caught up unawares in a plot to... well, do something or other that's epically, cosmologically bad. This is every bit as garbled a novel as it sounds, full of set-pieces strung together by no reasonable explanation or narrative plausibility, and strung together by over-talky bits of exposition that seem more concerned with establishing its kooky cosmology for sequel-setup purposes than with telling a single organized story. And some of the pleasure of following along on its wild ride is starkly diminished by the failure to establish rules for the magic, or for the novel's world, that make consistent sense of it; one feels at times like one is playing along with a clever five-year-old who deals a new hand of cards whenever it suits his momentary purposes.

All the same, there's plenty of fun to be had here -- the book is a great quick, escapist read full of all-out-of-bubblegum tough-guy talk and of weird-world politics, angels vs. devils vs. whoever else, doing vaguely Machiavellian scheming. If you've seen or read Hellboy and Constantine and their ilk there is not going to be much surprise here, but there is a certain more-of-the-same pleasure to it, which is no bad thing; and any reader will end up hoping they can get Ron Perlman to take the role.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great set up...mediocre delivery July 26 2011
By eShu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Sandman Slim" is about a young "Magician" named James Stark who's betrayed by his Coven and sent to Hell. For eleven years, he serves as a Gladiator to fight other monsters for the amusement of the Inferno's demonic populace. Somehow, Stark escapes and returns to L.A., hellbent (pun intended) on revenge.

It's a good concept (though not necessarily an original one) that would have made for a good story.

Could have been a great story.

Unfortunately, it fell short on nearly all levels.

While Richard Kadrey does an admirable job contributing to the urban fantasy genre, he doesn't really add much that's new. The gritty city setting smacked of Jim Butcher's "Dresden Files", the ambiguous morality of Heaven and Hell seemed straight out of Todd McFarlane's "Spawn" series and the supernatural peek behind The Veil seemed lifted directly from White Wolf's "World of Darkness" role playing games.

But all this could have been overlooked if Kadrey at least gave us a compelling hero. For me, the weakest part of the book is the title character itself.

Stark is set up to be this slick, bad-ass anti-hero. Yet he spends far more time TELLING us why he's so dangerous than actually SHOWING us. Supposedly, he's a highly gifted magician. But we never get a demonstration of his skill because he refuses to use magic. Why give your hero traits that he never uses? Also, he's spent eleven years in mortal combat with some of the most vicious creatures in Hell. We know because he mentions this nearly ever other page. And yet he seems to repeatedly get his clock cleaned by half the characters he meets. He never seems to "Walk the talk" as it were.

I also found the first person narration a bit ill-fitting. Supposedly Stark was sent to Hell when he was nineteen. He was there for eleven years, so that would make him about thirty years old in 2009 (when the book was published). This means he would have grown up in the 80's. So why does he ruminate like a hard-boiled 1930's detective? Why doesn't he use the slang and language of a kid from the MTV Generation? This was, for me, the most distracting aspect of the book. Don't get me wrong...Kadrey goes a great job writing a film-noir-ish book. It just seemed incongruous given the hero's backstory.

Finally, there's the mystery of the novel's title. It refers, obviously, to Jim Stark. But the reader is never told why. About half-way through the book, a random character pops up and starts calling Stark "Sandman Slim". Soon everyone, including Stark himself, starts using is as if it has tremendous weight and significance. But that significance...whatever it may be...is never explained to the reader.

"Sandman Slim" is a quick read with some interesting set pieces and occasionally brilliant noir-ish writing. Unfortunately, Kadrey's first foray into the genre is marred by too-familiar scenarios and a surprisingly lack-luster anti-hero.
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