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Sandman Slim: A Novel by Richard Kadrey
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Sandman Slim: A Novel (edition 2009)

by Richard Kadrey

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,2501076,338 (3.82)70
Member:bookwormteri
Title:Sandman Slim: A Novel
Authors:Richard Kadrey
Info:Harper Voyager (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, 2012, favorite

Work details

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

  1. 50
    Storm Front by Jim Butcher (enrique_molinero)
  2. 30
    A Madness of Angels: Or, the Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin (saltypepper)
    saltypepper: Start of a series which begins with the resurrection of a man who uses magic and is seeking vengeance, in a city (Los Angeles, London) which is practically another character.
  3. 41
    Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell (saltypepper, ahstrick)
  4. 30
    Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both these novels are told in first person by men who are not averse to a bit of violence every now and then, and who have a certain attitude towards the universe. Altered Carbon is SF, while Sandman Slim is more of a Supernatural Urban Fantasy.
  5. 20
    Already Dead by Charlie Huston (meleada)
    meleada: Similar urban fantasy noir tone, dark humor, and violence-prone anti-hero protags.
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    Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim Bernheimer (enrique_molinero)
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    LongDogMom: Similar style
  12. 00
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    LongDogMom: Similar feel and style, both deal with angels, demons, Hell, betrayal and love.
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    LongDogMom: Similar in tone and I think would enjoy a similar audience.
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» See also 70 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this story, the characters, the voice of Sandman Slim, and the action, for the most part.
I'm not normally a hardcore fantasy person: I don't go for the straight up magical, I generally need it cut with a little realism. But I'd heard good things about this series and Richard Kadrey's writing, so I figured I'd give it a shot. The book starts out with very little magical stuff -- besides the guy returning from Hell. Slim navigates Los Angeles some fifteen or so years after he's left and he's back to hunt down some of his old gang who let him down. In fact, I forgot that the book was supposed to be more in the fantasy genre until the prospect of a magic circle popped up. When it did, and other magical things were referenced, almost ad nauseum, I did get jarred out of the story for a little bit, my suspension of disbelief rattled a bit. But I stuck with it, the magical stuff sunk to the background again and Kadrey's story telling took over again.
I think I might come back to the series for those flashes of humor, the hard-nosed voice of a man who's been, literally, to Hell and back, and Kadrey's dark vision, and just be ready to skim when the fantastic -- the type of fantastic elements that make it too easy or just a little too ludicrously difficult for our hero -- rears its eight-eyed, fire-breathing, lizard pelted head again. ( )
  mhanlon | Sep 15, 2014 |
I recently purchased my very first Humble Book Bundle, and this book was part of it. I had wanted to read it for a long time and was excited to get a copy. In the end, my feelings about it were mixed.

When we first meet Stark, he has just managed to make it out of Hell, after having spent 11 years there. Adjusting to the human world again is hard, but Stark has a goal. He plans to track down all his former magician buddies and kill every last one of them, not just because they sent him to Hell, but because one of them killed his girlfriend, Alice.

At first, Sandman Slim worked really well for me. I loved Stark's “voice” and his dry humor. I enjoyed learning about how he ended up in Hell in the first place, and why and how he made it back out. He didn't make it out of Hell with many resources, but what he did have was really useful: a coin that would truthfully answer any question he asked, a magic knife, a key that could take him anywhere he wanted to go, and his own body, which was on its way to becoming indestructible. Unfortunately, I eventually realized something, and it reduced my enjoyment of the book a lot: Stark was not a nice guy.

I've liked anti-heroes in the past. The first one that comes to mind is Jeff Lindsay's Dexter, the serial killer who kills bad guys. Although Dexter hid his true self from others in order to avoid going to prison, I also got the impression that he genuinely liked his sister, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's kids, at least as much as he was able. One of my biggest problems with Stark was that I didn't get the impression there was anyone he really cared for, except maybe Alice, and even that was debatable.

Oh, he said he considered Vidocq a friend, and he said he loved Alice, and he was upset when Allegra got hurt because he didn't stop to think things through. However, there's a difference between saying you care for someone and actually demonstrating it. Stark was so screwed up by his years in Hell that the only way he could demonstrate that he cared was by killing things. Wait, no, it was worse than that. He needed to kill, so maybe “I cared about them” and “I feel guilty they were hurt because of me” were just his excuses for more violence. Some of it might have even started before he was sent to Hell. Alice, the woman he said he loved, wanted him to quit meeting up with his magician buddies, I think because they frightened her. Even though he didn't really like them, he ignored her and went anyway, just because he wanted to. Stark was a selfish man who didn't truly care about anyone's wants or needs but his own, and I think Alice would have been horrified by what he became.

I can't remember when I had my epiphany about Stark. Maybe it was when he and Vidocq were doing a dangerous job together, and he abandoned Vidocq the instant he realized he was near a chance to exact some of his revenge for Alice's death. Maybe it was the many times women died or were hurt around Stark, and he felt guilty because they were “innocent” and he couldn't save them. Whether he knew the women really well (like Alice) or didn't know them at all, the language of his guilt was similar enough each time that it disturbed me a little. I don't know that I can articulate why, but it turned me off. In general, friends' or bystanders' deaths or pain didn't make Stark more careful, they just gave him more excuses for revenge.

I'm probably not going to continue this series.

Additional Comments:

I noticed one inconsistency in the text. Kadrey first describes Allegra like so: “She’d look like Foxy Brown’s little sister, except her head is shaved smooth.” (29) Near the end of the book, we get this: “He pulls the tape off Allegra’s mouth. Grabs her by the hair and gives her a peck on the lips.” (197) I could be wrong, but I don't think enough time has passed for Allegra to have grown a grabbable amount of hair.

Also, not really an inconsistency, but Kadrey never did say what Stark did with the golem. You'd think it would have been mentioned, at the very least as part of a fresh boatload of violence fuel, I mean guilt.

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.) ( )
  Familiar_Diversions | Sep 12, 2014 |
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. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
Sandman Slim is the first book in the series of the same name. The story tells of James Stark, aka: Sandman Slim, who was kidnapped, sent to Hell and back again…literally.

The series is gritty, profane, sacrilegious, and not for the faint at heart. You’ll meet demons, fallen angels, God, and other gods. There is magic, the good, the evil, ones in-between, and the just plain stupid.

So, if you can get beyond all the surface stuff, this book and series will entertain and make you think. Check out the first in the series at Sandman Slim at the Library. ( )
  AnnRushing | Jul 13, 2014 |
I liked the antihero of this book. Is Stark a good guy? Certainly not in the white hat noble way of looking at things. He is constantly stealing cars but only really expensive ones from people that can afford it. Even though he has spent many years in hell due to his magical friends sending him there he is completely motivated by revenge and to be honest who can blame him. The "good guys" in the book certainly don't like him since there is a prophesy about his coming but he certainly isn't acting the part of a good deed doer. The spoiler about "who" he is was interesting to me since this idea has been cropping up in more books that I have been reading in the last few years. No good myth shall go unplundered by writers. I plan on reading the rest of the series but I will not be gobbling them down. It is nice to know that when I need a good read I can pick up the next book and have a good time. ( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
It's the kind of book where suffering and slim hopes are the reality for almost all the characters, and where goals are not achieved without the kind of sacrifice and revelation that change people's lives forever. And by the standards of that kind of book, Sandman Slim is very, very good indeed.
added by lampbane | editSF Site, Greg L. Johnson (Oct 15, 2009)
 
This is a tightly plotted revenge story that grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Jul 24, 2009)
 
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Epigraph
Just judge of vengeance, grant the gift of forgiveness, before the day of reckoning. - Dies Irae, Requiem Mass
The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they're going to be when you kill them. - William Clayton
Dedication
For Nicola
First words
I wake up in a pile of smoldering garbage and leaves in the Old Hollywood Forever cemetery behind the Paramount Studio lot on Melrose, though these last details don't come to me until later.
Quotations
Nothing nice happens to murdered women, except that maybe someone cares about how they got that way.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Metatron's Cube. One of the holiest of holy glyphs. The soul of the angel Metatron, the voice of God. Good for keeping away imps, flesh-eating zombies, and ants at a picnic. It slices. It dices. It has a thousand and one uses. A thousand and two if you draw it on a brick and throw it through the windshield of your ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend's car.
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Book description
When he was 19, James Stark was considered to be one of the greatest natural magicians, a reputation that got him demon-snatched and sent downtown - to Hell - where he survived as a gladiator, a sideshow freak entertaining Satan's fallen angels.

That was 11 years ago. Now, the hitman who goes only by Stark has escaped and is back in L.A. Armed with a fortune-telling coin, a black bone knife, and an infernal key, Stark is determined to destroy the magic circle - led by the conniving and powerful Mason Faim - that stole his life.

Though nearly everything has changed, one constant remains: his friend Vidocq, a 200-year-old Frenchman who has been keeping vigil for the young magician's return. But when Stark's first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head that belongs to the first of the circle, a sleazy video store owner named Kasabian, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than he counted on, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.

Haiku summary
Stark ends up in hell. 
Girlfriend dead, breaks out, revenge. 
Heaven and Hell, Scared.
(chaos012)

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Working as a sideshow gladiator in Hell after being snatched by demons at the age of nineteen, James Stark escapes and returns to Los Angeles, where he plots to destroy the magic circle that stole his life.

(summary from another edition)

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Editions: 0061714305, 0061976261

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