Stark isn't a nice guy. He isn't polite, he isn't considerate, he doesn't play by the rules. He is continually pissed off, he goes through a LOT of de..Show More »stroyed clothing, he hates almost everyone, and he loves to steal cars.
What's not to love?
The Sandman Slim books aren't perfect, but author Richard Kadrey has managed to create a great character in James Stark. Stark repeatedly refers to himself as a monster, and he is an efficient killing machine -- yet he is also intensely loyal to folks like his murdered lover and the few living people he trusts, and somehow he ends up saving the general populace (and the world) from various true monsters whether he really wants to or not. Kadrey can write surprisingly poetic prose -- a rough hewn sort of poetry, but still effective -- and that in combination with Stark's obnoxious attitude and frequently outrageous violence make for an engaging, humorous, and sometimes breath-taking good time.
Now, these books are not perfect. A lot of the fantasy elements are pretty off the wall to start with, and sometimes Kadrey really strains my ability to suspend disbelief. In particular in this book, at the climax he did something with the angel half of Stark that really had me waving the BS penalty flag (I won't spoil it here). Even so, the way he set up the climax and its aftermath promises to provide a lot of interesting conflict for the next book, so some good reading may come of it. And even given that this sort of believability problem does occur occasionally throughout the Sandman Slim books, they are still a lot of fun to read.
As to the narrator -- I was not all that fond of MacLeod Andrews when I listened to the first Sandman Slim book, but he has grown on me as the series progressed (and, probably, as he got more used to the role). In Aloha From Hell I think he does a fine job of voicing both the rough-edged Stark and most of the secondary characters. Occasionally some of the side characters sound too much alike, but that's a minor complaint.
To me this wasn't the best Sandman Slim book, the beginning was a bit slow. It was a lot of Stark complaining about being the new Satan and him having..Show More » to watch his back. It wasn't until he got top side when it got to be interesting, a lot of old characters and some good old Sandman Slim fun.
The stories are good and the narrartor is excellent. The best thing about the book and the series as a whole is how well the author captured the whole..Show More » "punk" vibe. This is definitely cyberpunk, but with a supernatural angle instead. maybe I should call it "Superunk" or something. This book and series is just one of those times when you hit the perfect combination of book and narrator. I actually enjoyed listening to the book more than reading it.