James Stark, a.k.a. Sandman Slim, crawled out of Hell, took bloody revenge for his girlfriend’s murder, and saved the world along the way. After that, what do you do for an encore? You take a lousy job tracking down monsters for money. It’s a depressing gig, but it pays for your beer and cigarettes. But in L.A., things can always get worse.
Like when Lucifer comes to town to supervise his movie biography and drafts Stark as his bodyguard. Sandman Slim has to swim with the human and inhuman sharks of L.A.’s underground power elite. That’s before the murders start. And before he runs into the Czech porn star who isn’t quite what she seems. Even before all those murdered people start coming back from the dead and join a zombie army that will change our world and Stark’s forever.
Death bites. Life is worse. All things considered, Hell’s not looking so bad.
More mayhem? Try another eerie earful of Sandman Slim.
©2010 Richard Kadrey (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Profane, intensely metaphoric language somehow makes self-tortured monster Stark sympathetic and turns a simple story into a powerful noir thriller." (Publishers Weekly)
No it's not a masterpiece, but who wants one? What it is, is fun, entertaining and a great bit of WSOD. Irreverent, thought provoking and conflicted.
I don't know if was just better production or the narrator was better this time, but it was better than the first book. That is pretty rare, but the book was very good. Definitely worth a credit.
Some reminders when referring to events and people from the first book. In order to keep up with some of the story lines you needed to almost have just finished the first one in the series and immediately start listening to this one. The author isn't real good about bringing you up to speed or a short reminder of something from the first book, which he referred back to often. Unfortunately it had been a while since I had listened to it so I was lost during a lot of this one and my mind would just drift off and I didn't care enough to rewind to hear what I had missed because I probably wouldn't have understood what was happening anyway. You got to see a lot of Lucifer in this one and were introduced to some new characters and some old ones, some of whom I didn't exactly remember who they were. Since I have the next two in the series I guess I'll listen to them right after the other so maybe I won't be as lost, but unless it gets a lot better that will be it for me on this series.
The writing in this series is terrible. Richard Kardey writes like somebody who doesn't read stories. He doesn't seem to know how to make a story flow. The endings of each of his books are just massive exposition dumps, and often the climax of the story begins, and ends, in just one sentence. To make the book better, the author has to improve his writing skills.
I've listened to two other Sandman Slim books, and have the same opinions on both. Great ideas, wonderful intentions, and amazingly poor writing.
I have listened to Andrew's work ('Steelheart') and I find him to be fantastic. He did as good a job with Sandman Slim as the poor writing would allow.
I wouldn't cut anything to make the book better, were I the editor. I would have just insisted that the writing not be as horrible as what ended up in the final product.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
Many of my gripes from my review of the first book in the series have been fixed or at least patched in the second.
Stark is still tough guy concentrate, but at least now there is more inner conflict and less gratuitous posing. There is still some, but I mean, come on, he is a hitman from hell. There is bound to be some. Andrews (the narrator) has managed to improve his French accent and nails the other characterizations with subtle changes. Only a few of the characters have an extreme characterization and those are appropriate.
The thing that has really improved with this episode is the story. In the first book, Stark is little more than a mad dog, fumbling his way through a string of set pieces driven by his need for revenge and to show off as the toughest guy in the room. That is gone. In this story you have a bona fide mystery narrative. Stark is no Holmes, but at least he is trying to figure things out and it is this investigation that leads him into the trouble spots. In this book he actually has agency as a character and takes actions affirmatively as opposed to the first book where things mostly happened to him.
The supporting cast is still very likable and vivid. Author and narrator combine very well to flesh out this cast. The mystery leads you through some plot twists that are not earthshaking, but still quite good.
In conclusion, if I was left lukewarm by the first book and was on the fence about whether to continue the series, I would continue on to the second book. It feels like a notch better in almost every category.
When a writer is writing a fantasy he creates an imaginary world but he also sets up new rules of existence, science, nature, magic, and so on. However the new reality has to make sense, of sorts, unless you have a satire. In this second of the Sandman Slim novels the writer just gets too stupid. He tries to let his imagination go TOO wild to the point it hurts the story instead of adds to it. Also the characters personalities suffer the same stretch of logic. I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first in the series and I probably won't try any future ones because the writer has left himself nowhere to go but to further stupidity.
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