Kill City Blues, Richard Kadrey, Harper Voyager,. ISBN 9780062094599, $24.99, 383 pgs.

James Stark, better known as Sandman Slim, is no longer Satan and ruling hell. He’s given up the title and retired to LA. But, in the process he’s Kill City Blueslost a very powerful weapon. The Qomrama Om Ya belongs to the banished older gods, you know, the ones that God, in his singular form, stole the universe from. They want the weapon, and the universe, back. Stark needs to find it before them. And if you think God might help him think again. The old dude’s had a bit of a breakdown, fracturing into multiple copies each a bit more batty than the last.. All Stark has to do is visit the old burned out mall in Santa Monica, fight his way in, talk to a really old dead guy and then fight his way out. All in a day’s work for Stark and those who hang around him.

This is the fifth book in this series; the Sandman Slim series, and it’s as good as the previous ones which is to say it’s great.  Sandman Slim is an irreverent son of a bitch with plenty of attitude and the know how to back it up.  He’s got a conscience and plenty of interesting friends.  He’s almost always working his way out of trouble, sometimes because of his own actions, and he goes through more clothes than you would ever imagine.

This is one of those series where, when a new book arrives, I put aside whatever I am reading at the moment to dive in.  Kadrey writes this stuff well.  And, unlike a lot of other series, the supporting characters give as good as they get.  This is fun stuff.  This is read from first page to last page in one sitting.  This is must have kind of material.  I can not recommend it highly enough.  It’s fun, it’s quirky, and it’s philosophical (in an off hand kind of way).  If I have one complaint it’s that the time between books is too long.

To get a copy of your very own, click here:Kill City Blues

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Aloha From Hell, Richard Kadrey, Harper, ISBN 978-0-06-171432-0, 438 pgs., $23.99

Cover of "Sandman Slim: A Novel"

Cover of Sandman Slim: A Novel

This is the third Sandman Slim novel and it continues the story of James Stark, the human who was sent to hell, only to become the baddest, bad ass killer of demons in Pandemonium.  While you don’t need to have read the first two books, you should.  First because it helps to have all the story behind you and second because they are very good.  This time Stark needs to return to hell to find and kill Mason, the guy who sent him to hell in the first place.  Along the way Stark has a few adventures and needs to get a few things straight and manages to save a few people in the process as well, sort of a typical week for Stark in Los Angeles.

When Stark returns to hell, and getting there is quite the journey in and of itself, he has to find his former girlfriend Alice, who has been kid-napped from heaven, stir up a rebellion by releasing certain demon generals from Tartarus, then track down Mason.  And he has to do it without being recognized by the thousands of hellions who are on the look out for him.  Good think Stark has a few tricks up his sleeve and the help of a few wild cards of his own.

I really enjoyed this boo. It’s a rousing adventure with a protagonist who has a sick sense of humor and a twisted way of looking at the world.  Not that you would not expect this from someone who went to hell and spent a decade as the plaything of demons.  Kadrey has created a world full of magic and menace and tempers it all with dark comedy.  The writing is crisp, the pace at time frenetic, and the plotting is always interesting and deep.  The dialogue especially is fun to read.

There are few books out now that I immediately put to the top of my reading list.  Sandman Slim gets put there the minute it comes in the door.  Highly recommended.  Go out and get them all if you haven’t read this series yet.  And if you have been waiting for book three, it’s here so clear a few hours off your schedule and enjoy.

And, since you will want to get the book right this very instant, I have included the following link:

Aloha from Hell: A Sandman Slim Novel