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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 15, 2016
This was a nice foray into the beginning of a creative series by Richard Kadrey. There are some intricacies in this book that I enjoyed and I really thought it was a fairly new twist on some age-old themes and foundations of the great tales that came before it.

I never give away any spoilers as I do not wish to encounter them myself (the old Golden Rule) but here is what I thought:

The premise of the book was occultist and interesting. There was a long period in the book when I did not know what to expect whereas once in a while it was very predictable. This was not too often and happens to the best novels sometimes. There was a point in which I had no idea how the parts of the story would be tied together but the author managed to do it (tip of the hat for bringing it together).

I almost did not finish this book as it did start a bit slower than what I like but it swiftly picked up the pace subsequently.

I found the character (the humanistic portion and nothing supra-physiological) likable and I found myself cheering him on sometimes in his quest. This novel is not perfect but I think it was the beginning of a series that will only get better. I am looking forward to starting the next in the series soon.

The biggest knock I had about it is how it felt like it sometimes toed the line between YA and Adult but in the end, it was a good read and listen.
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on September 6, 2017
Love these books! Author Kim Harrison turned me on to them years ago. I bought the first 3 each time she mentioned them. Somehow I never got around to reading them which was great because I bing read them from last week of June to this first week of September 2017. Its my summer of Sandman Slim. This book goes very fast James Stark and his surrounding characters are completely interesting. They suck you right in and leave you craving for more. I would like to see more Lucifer in the next one! I'm grateful I did not read these sooner as it would of been absolute torture to wait for a new book each year. Thank you Richard Kadrey for my James Stark summer! It was magnificent.
The rest of you need to buy these books Now!
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on April 10, 2017
It's not often I get sucked into a book in the first chapter, but from the moment Stark climbed out of a grave and mugged a guy to the dramatic ending, this fast paced adventure kept me saying “One more chapter”. I love the overall noir feel of the story, it was dark and creepy and a nice change from the cookie cutter stories I seem to keep picking up lately. As soon as I finished it, I bought the first half of the series. I can't wait to see what happens!

This is the first book in the Sandman Slim series.
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on September 29, 2015
Stark is a magician who returns from Hell to avenge his murder ed girlfriend and get some payback from his backstabbing megalomaniac buddies who sent him "downtown". This yarn is a well paced page turner. The patter is very Chandleresque, which by itself would give this story a bunch of stars. In my opinion dialog is one of the hardest bits of writing to get right. Kadrey has no problem with humorous banter. I actually laughed out loud. Be prepared for strong language. You have give Sandman a break he just busted out of the brimstone basement for crying out loud. My biggest complaint is the editing or should I say lack of editing. When you are reading along at ninety miles an hour, a repeated, misspelled or reversed word is like hitting a speed bump and then a pot hole. Perhaps it is only in the Kindle version, otherwise it is just sloppy and lacks the polish you expect when paying full fare. I plan to read more from Kadrey because I do like his style.
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on March 13, 2013
Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim is the tattooed badass of the Urban Fantasy genre. There's no confusing this book with paranormal romance, there's nothing romantic about it (unless you call getting a poisonous kiss from a people-eating Jade romantic. If you do, you're kinda weird, but hey, whatever floats your boat).

The narrator and main character is Stark, a man who has freshly returned to earth from an eleven-year stint in Hell. Stark wasn't dead, though. He was betrayed by Mason and his cronies and dragged down into hell while still alive where he becomes a novelty for the demons and Hellions and winds up fighting gladiator style in an arena for their entertainment. While in Hell, Stark becomes hard to kill. Whatever is thrown at him (or jabbed through him) only makes him stronger. Fighting and almost dying become the norm, until one day he gets his hands on his literal key to freedom, and he returns to Los Angeles.

While he was in Hell, all-around bad guy Mason has had Stark's girlfriend, Alice, killed. Stark seeks revenge not only for his imprisonment, but also for the death of the only person he ever loved. Trust me though, when I say that at no point does the situation ever become sappy. Sandman Slim is pure belligerent testosterone-filled story, and the narrator makes no apology for it. He knows he's impatient, imprudent, and immoral, but at least you get to read about him blowing up some Neo-Nazis.

Overall the story is fun, but not really full of meaning or depth. It's a shallow, bad-ass-guy-saves-the-world-from-annihilation sort of story. And that's exactly what it's meant to be. It's a readable action movie--entertaining with a lot of literary explosions.

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on August 21, 2016
James Stark was part of a gang of local sorcerors haunting the fringes of Los Angeles society, when the combination of his natural talent and arrogant attitude drew the ire of his fellow magicians. Stark's pals sent him to Hell - literally - calling forth demons who dragged him into the underworld. Only Stark didn't die, in fact, he thrived for 11 years as both a gladiator in Hell's arenas and as Lucifer's personal hitman.

Now, he's managed to escape back to earth and revenge is on his mind. He's hunting his former mates, most especially Mason, the ringleader, but things have changed. Mason is no longer a hack - he's gained true power as part of the bargain with Hell for Stark's soul, and there is something brewing that is a threat to not only L.A., but all of humanity.

With a cast of colorful allies including a de-bodied head, a centuries-old French thief, a carniverous, supernatural being who is trying to live a normal life, and... the day manager of a local vide store, Stark has to navigate not only the new supernatural forces jockeying for power in Los Angeles, but modern conveniences like cell phones and the internet.

A friend of mine loaned me this book, and in all honesty, I wasn't that jazzed about reading it. I gernerally trust my buddy's taste, however, and tossed it in my suitcase for a vacation trip. I'm glad I did - it is pure escapist pleasure; a story that moves forward propulsively, interesting characters, and a plot that will hold your interest. "Sandman Slim" is a blast!
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on July 20, 2017
This is a very interesting and entertaining book. The characters are well rounded, the setting is a natural for evil (LA), and the plot is well done. The only thing I would like to see more of would be different religious beliefs represented. As it is written, the Christian worldview is presented as a fait accompli, with no other possibility, even when there are different types of monsters walking around.
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on August 6, 2016
I gave up on this book halfway. Which I seldom do, but I just couldn't be bothered anymore. Non-sensible plot, that was all over the place, and never got really exciting. It's leading character is a unlikable and one-dimensional cliché, like all other characters. Way to many unneccesary references to pop culture. But the worst thing were all the errors throughout the book. Several sentences contained displaced words, as if the sentence was rewritten in a new draft but the author forgot to erase parts of the original sentence. Made me wonder what the editor had been doing? But though annoying as those were, they were not as bad as the continuity errors. One particular instance is where Stark and Vidocq have a conversation and a character named Allegra (who left the room not 5 minutes ago, to take the car and get some lunch) suddenly is present again to chip in, as if she has been present the whole time. Seriously? Can't you even keep track of your own characters for longer than 2 pages? So that's where I closed the book and started on something else.

Why still 2 stars? Well, on occasion I have had the displeasure to come across books that were even more poorly written and that have set the bottom line, and at least the pacing was fast in this book.
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on February 18, 2016
How could I resist a hero - or anti-hero named Stark? No simple revenant clawing his way out of the grave, James Stark or the eponymous Sandman Slim of the series by Richard Kadrey, claws his way like a badass out of hell. The first book (and series) had me at hell - I have a soft spot for heroes back from the dead, or even better, gone to hell and back. Stark is a naturally talented magician (not wizard, because wizarding is for wimps like Harry Potter) in the secret magical underworld of Los Angeles and falls afoul of one of his colleagues, who sends him straight to hell.

Stark survives the literal gladiatorial arena of the abyss and rises to serve as hitman for the demon lord Azazel in the infernal internecine power struggles, before stealing the keys to the universe to return to our world (after a eleven years in hell) for revenge on those who dealt out his damnation and his girlfriend's death. And that's just where the first book starts!

The other books in the series up the ante even more - Stark faces vampires and a zombie apocalypse (while serving as Lucifer's bodyguard when Lucifer comes to Los Angeles to film his life story) in the second book (Kill the Dead), before going back to hell (which of course resembles Los Angeles, although there's a magical reason for it) because a former mortal enemy has staged an infernal coup d'état in the third book (Aloha from Hell), and...well, you get the idea. Anything more would spoil the deliciously devilled fun!

The series might well be described as dark fantasy noir (or in the occult detective school), sharply written with an engaging cast of characters (who deserve their own top ten list), not least Sandman Slim himself (whom I can't help but picture as author Richard Kadrey) - Harry Dresden on steroids (or in the words of TV Tropes, Harry Dresden minus any sense of morality and on permanent god mode - wait, what's higher than god mode?). If you read contemporary fantasy, you must read Sandman Slim. Where in hell is the movie - or at least the television series?...
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on July 29, 2016
First off, the universe in which God is a screw up, is definitely offensive to me. The language and violence levels are very high and it is fast paced. On the other hand, this is a fictionalized universe with roots in mythology as well as new creatures who aren't found in any angelic, or hellion fantasy. The main character has just escaped from shell where he has been trapped for the last 11 years. His only goal is to destroy those who sent him there, and get revenge for his girlfriend Alice whom he loved. Kadrey has clearly taken them time to build a new, unique universe populated with Angels, magicians, alchemists, regulars humans and Jades. Stark is a menace to both friends and enemies and has no bounds for getting back at those who killed his beloved. He is funny in a gallows humor kind of way and as much as I hated language and screw the world pity party, I liked his humor. Stark is clearly an extremely flawed protagonist and yet you can get a real sense of his humanity such as it is. This book is a great start to the series and the rest will be interesting to read.
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