Sandman Slim--Richard Kadrey
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Noir
1st in series
Eleven years ago, James Stark was lured to the basement of a dark house and sent to Hell, literally. While still alive, he engaged in arena battles in Hell and gradually became one of Hells greatest champions, sending even major devils to the Hell within the Hell for vanquished spirits and the already dead.
Now he's come back to avenge the death of his girlfriend and he's spent some time out of touch so iPhones, and other commonplace items of the present are arcane oddities. But having trained in Hell, he's ready to fight.
The prose is tight, the story well plotted and idea-rich. James Stark is completely believable as a character and what drives him makes him more sympathetic than one would otherwise be inclined to.
The story arc traces a traditional noir thriller, while the window dressing is anything but noir. We've got hell, heaven, and other realms all packed into a story that is a compelling roller coaster ride.
Be warned--this is only for true fans of dark fantasy and for the more violent side of dark fantasy at that. Take fighting on a supernatural realm, add a dash of Mickey Spillane, and you have a sense of what is going on in the book.
A fun, toss-off read. While I might not agree with most aspects of Kadrey cosmology, I could certainly enjoy his story and his characters. And it's nice to see some new bad guys in the celestial war.
Oh yes, and some may be amused by James Stark's ruminations of the Glock and "daddy issues."
I've got the second in the series (Kill the Dead) to read as well, but it may take me a while to get around to it. A little candy is a fine accent to one's ordinary intake, but a steady diet of it palls quickly.
Highly recommended for a restricted audience. ****
Interview with the Author