- Series: Sandman Slim (Book 7)
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Harper Voyager; F First Edition edition (July 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062373102
- ISBN-13: 978-0062373106
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 189 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Killing Pretty: A Sandman Slim Novel Hardcover – July 28, 2015
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“Kadrey’s done amazing work keeping one of literature’s great anti-heroes in adventures this long, and Killing Pretty proves that he isn’t slowing down.” (Cory Doctorow on KILLING PRETTY)
“If your tastes trend to noir grit and L.A. cool, Slim is your man.” (Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on KILLING PRETTY)
“Kadrey’s fantastic seventh Sandman Slim installment rivals the first.” (RT Booklovers Magazine, Top Pick on KILLING PRETTY)
“Six years after stumbling into Sandman Slim’s seedy, seamy world, I’m still hungry to go back every time. To get lost in it. I have yet to be disappointed. But if this is escapism, it’s the most masochistic kind I can imagine.” (NPR Books on KILLING PRETTY)
From the Back Cover
IT’S A LOUSY DAY FOR DEATH TO DIE
Someone has tried to kill Death—ripping the heart right out of him—or rather, the body he’s inhabiting. And that means Death needs Sandman Slim’s help: he believes anyone who can beat Lucifer and the old gods at their own game is the only one who can solve his murder.
Stark would rather get a drink.
But when people stop dying, Stark knows he has to figure it all out. So he follows a sordid trail deep into L.A.’s subterranean world, from vampire-infested nightclubs to talent agencies specializing in mad ghosts, from Weimar Republic mystical societies to sleazy supernatural fight and sex clubs. Along the way he meets a mysterious girl—distinguished by a pair of graveyard eyes—as badass as Slim: she happens to be the only person who ever outwitted Death. But escaping her demise has had dire consequences for the rest of the world . . . and a few others.
For years, Slim has been fighting cosmic forces bent on destroying Heaven, Hell, and Earth. This time, the battle is right here on the gritty streets of the City of Angels, where a very clever, very ballsy killer lies in wait.
“Six years after stumbling into Sandman Slim’s seedy, seamy world, I’m still hungry to go back every time. To get lost in it. I have yet to be disappointed. But if this is escapism, it’s the most masochistic kind I can imagine.”—NPR Books
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This is one of my favorite fiction series. After Dresden and 20 Palaces this is some of the best hard boiled dark fantasy out there. But this time the story was disappointing. The case was just boring from the outset. I thought finding deaths killer would be fun but it turned out not so much. From the investigating, to the perpetrators to the culminating battle and solutions it just never worked for me. It felt somewhat phoned in. Some parts I had to read over because I thought I missed something, but nope the transitions were just that abrupt. This all would have still been ok if it weren't for the miserable supporting characters. They are usually cool, but in this outing they were literally miserable. Complaining, whining, etc the whole time. I get that these feelings have to exist, especially under the circumstances in this book, but as a reader, it make a real slog to get through. All that and sandman slim didn't seem quite like himself. This guy killed a piece of god not to mention all sorts of other nasties, yet the whole book he seems ineffectual, and when it came to confront the culprit he was downright useless. I wish Kadrey, who's a great author could spend a few more months re-writing this one.
There were a lot of unlikable characters and Bridget's development was short. I thought it was tacked on.
Now then what the book did good.. the small insertion of the ex bodygaurd and the new head honcho of the magical world were great. It took me a little to warm up to but I liked some of Starks struggles to put down roots and act like an adult human being after being a savagely wrecked individual for so long. I thought he could use a break from some characters and from others I sort of wanted him to stand up for himself but realized that Stark probably hasn't gotten to the point of being able to do this in a way where he's not running but making his position clear. Sure he did with Candy but it was hard.
It was nice to see him struggle with basic things after having put them off for so many apocalypses. The job was a terrible fit and his bargaining for a shadow walk ability was fusterating but I felt like both were fusterating for him too.
I don't think this is a book to start with but if you want to see Stark work on his human skills this is it.
The hero and narrator of these wham bam thank you ma’am supernatural thrillers is James Stark, aka Sandman Slim. He was wafted off to Hell while still alive, endured eleven years there as slave and gladiator and later enforcer, came back to earth and is now wreaking vengeance on those who originally betrayed him (and killed his girlfriend too) and then on any supernatural meanies who threaten little things like the Future of the Universe. The bad guys he fights are really, really bad –I mean capital letter BAD, how else can I write it? He ends up doubling for Lucifer for a short time but he’s not very good at it: his heart just isn’t in it. Along the way, he finds out why he survived one assault after the other in the gladiators’ arena in Hell: he’s not human. He’s half-angel and thus an Abomination (that’s what they call him) in the eyes of the more self-righteous of Heaven’s angels. He’s really only good at one thing, killing, but he’s very good at that and most of the time, he’s fighting the good fight. Most of the time. He’s got a new girlfriend, Candy. She’s a Jade, which is a scarier version of vampire, all claws and fangs when she manifests her Jade self to suck the life and soul out her victim. For now, she’s on a methadone-like substitution diet that keeps her need of human essence locked down (Most of the time.) Stark has an apartmentmate too, a man whose head he cut off in the first installment of the series. But he didn’t kill him, just separated head from body, and he feels a little bad he did it, so he and Kassabian coexist now, are almost buddies --they run a video store together that offers movie classics that were never made, along with a killer collection of porn and horror flicks. There are other friends and allies. A two-hundred-year-old man, Vidocq, a whiz with potions, who functions as a surrogate father to Stark. (Most of the time.) His great-grandfather, now in Hell after being back shot in a card game, the legendary Wild Bill Hickock. When he was Lucifer, Stark set Bill up in a bar in Hell and he visits there every so often to quaff a few shots of Aqua Regia and smoke a few Maledictions, Hell’s cigarettes and stronger than French Gitanes. Carlos runs the Bamboo House of Dolls in L. A. Stark likes to hang out there as do all sorts of non-human types good and evil. The stakes ratchet up from novel to novel in this peerless (of its own sort) series. Start hunts down the bad guys who sent him to Hell in the first place and wreaks vengeance on them (Sandman Slim, 2009); takes on zombies in Kill the Dead (2010); fights an insane serial killer and the demonic Kissi (think Nazi Storm Troopers with supernatural powers) in Aloha from Hell (2011); returns to Hell to take up the mantle of Lucifer, its ruler, in Devil Said Bang (2012); enters as haunted shopping mall to find a dead man’s ghost and win back a supernatural artifact that can end the world in Kill City Blues (2013); steps it up against a vicious killer named St. Nick in The Getaway God (2014); hunts for the man, or creature, that has just killed Death (with Dead dead, no one is dying any more) in Killing Pretty (2015); and returns to Hell (with his girlfriend Candy) to find a remedy for a black poison that has killed his best friend (Vidocq, but he’s dormant, not dead yet) in The Perdition Score (2016). The scenes of violence and bloodshed are frequent and graphic, but not stomach churning. The sex is handled in an off hand way –it’s part of Stark’s and Candy’s lives but not one that needs to be narrated in microsecond detail. The bad guys are really bad, really big, and really powerful. And at almost any moment, if Stark fails, something really bad will happen, ranging from the collapse of the barriers between Heaven and Hell to the destruction of the universe. It’s quality junk fiction, with no redeeming social value at all except that I loved it. I ate it up. I can’t wait for the next episode to appear.
That's beside the point, however, as the Sandman Slim series is one of the most fun I've had in a series since the Dresden Files. I never thought I would come across a universe, a story, and a character that would give me the same enthralling thrills as my favorite series, the afformentioned Dresden books. Richard did it, and he keep putting out more additions to the series that keep our thirsts sated. It's nice not having to wait all that long for the new books, and yet still have a great story that doesn't feel rushed.
Either way, start with Sandman Slim, and work your way through them.