• Ballistic Kiss

  • A Sandman Slim Novel
  • By: Richard Kadrey
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,004 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sandman Slim is back in Los Angeles and kicking more supernatural ass in this inventive, high-octane listen—the next to last volume in the popular and acclaimed fantasy adventure series from New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey.

As the battle between warring angels continues, James Stark is focused on seemingly simpler matters now that he's resurfaced on earth: an invasion of ghosts. L.A.'s Little Cairo neighborhood has suddenly been overrun by violent spirits, and Thomas Abbott knows if anyone can figure out why they've appeared—and how to get rid of them—it's Stark. 

Armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark quickly learns that the answer may reach back to the 1970s and the unsolved murder of small-time actor, Chris Stein. As he begins to dig into the cold case, another area of Stark's life takes an unexpected turn when he becomes entangled with Janet, a woman he saved during the High Plains Drifter zombie attack. 

Janet's brush with the living dead hasn't quenched her thirst for danger. She's an adrenaline junkie and a member of The Zero Lodge—a club that promises "there's zero chance you'll get out alive." The Lodge attracts thrill seekers who flock to perilous events such as night walks through the LA Zoo—with its deadliest animals uncaged. Joining the lodge to be with Janet, Stark makes a pair of crucial discoveries that could decide the fate of LA and Heaven itself.

To prevent the Little Cairo haunting from consuming the city, Stark must piece together the connections between the Lodge and a missing angel last seen in a Hollywood porn palace. But while he may dispatch the ghosts, Stark knows that without his help, the bloody war in Heaven could rage forever. 

©2020 Richard Kadrey (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Ballistic Kiss

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  • Overall
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MacLeod Andrews is the best part of this one

I was disappointed in this latest installment of the Sandman Slim series.
The story didn't hold my attention and the action was rote and tepid.
Stark's new romance seems forced, and at odds with his character and common sense. The object of his seemingly genuine affection is a shallow idiot whose ridiculous behavior repeatedly puts him and others in danger. Not a credible story element.
I did find the last 30 minutes pretty enjoyable and reminiscent of previous installments, but not so much as to salvage the story.
I've owned every book in this series, some in three different formats. Not this one, I'm returning it.

28 people found this helpful

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Pronoun problems

The English language does not have any singular gender neutral pronouns, so when Stark starts dating a non-binary the pronouns become problematic. For example: A group of his friends walk into the bar. They sit next to him. His friends don’t sit next to him, his gender neutral friend with benefits does whose preferred pronouns are they and them. There is a lot of confusion for the reader associated with that. It pulls you out of the story. It doesn’t help that the character is an idiot and you’ll secretly wish for them to die. Sure there’s a whole explanation into gender identity and why they are the way they are, (When I say they, I mean the character not all gender neutral people.) but it just comes off as preachy and plot hole filler as to why she does the things she does. I hope they get killed off in the next book.

24 people found this helpful

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Just not that into it

I pretty much listened to the previous 10 books over the last couple of week and really enjoyed them. Stark was a nice change of pace as an anti-hero and the narrator does an excellent job of capturing the mood of scenes throughout the books.

Unfortunately, as soon as the identity politics came into play, I'm out.

23 people found this helpful

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?

Thought this was another kick ass sandman but had to check author. Weird mishmash of pc, teenage angst, fu to immigration. When the story focuses on the mostly sidelined suspect characters, the story clicked on track like his other sandman books. Really disappointed that 3/4 of story was him placating the females characters ( which are usually great), pushing him into viewing people/actions in neutral terms no matter what they’re doing. The suspects he treated in his usual style with great lines as “ play Taylor Swift again, motherfucker.” Hysterical and got me through to the end. Leaves me worrying about the next book though....

15 people found this helpful

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Don't Let the Negative Reviews Scare You Off

For those of you who are wondering if you should read this book based on some of the reviews given, I understand your concern. Some of the reviews complained of a preachy tone, focused on gender identity issues. Others bemoaned a lack of plot or the direction of the storyline. I don't have a problem with fluid gender boundaries, but I also didn't want to listen to hours of lecturing on the topic. I decided to trust the author I had been reading for so long, and I bought the audiobook. I am so glad I did!

First, let me say that the whole brouhaha about identity politics is way overblown. It is briefly explained and is quickly referenced only on occasion. I don't think it took away from the reading experience at all. The number of people who were so upset about it really surprised me.

The complaints about plot and development I can understand a little; the story is not perfect, but it is entertaining and engaging, advancing the narrative of the series in a coherent manner. The new love interest is in serious need of character development, since their actions didn't provide a very coherent picture of who they are. Hopefully, this will be resolved in future books. Also, some of Stark's actions towards the end seemed rushed and needed more explanation. Overall, though, I found this book to be humorous, entertaining, and thought-provoking. The conclusion is really not that much of a cliffhanger. Seeds for future conflict are normal for a series.

What I like best about the book is how Kadrey brings Stark back to his humanity. If Stark continued his path of thoughtless destruction without any balance, he risked becoming a violent charicature, as opposed to a violent man. Some reviewers didn't like this part of the novel, but it seemed a good idea to me. For everyone who likes his nihilistic attack on the world, don't worry, it's still there.

MacLeod Andrews is excellent as always, and I don't regret my purchase. I recommend Ballistic Kiss.

14 people found this helpful

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A heartbreaking disappointment

I have been a huge fan since the very first book. I have looked forward to every new publication with anticipation and relish. I have never been so disappointed by any author and I have been by this one. This book is junk. I find it hard to believe that Richard Kadrey actually wrote this. Sandman Slim we have grown to love is morphed into a whiny, PTSD medication taking, politically correct, wuss that is constantly concerned with interpersonal relationships and other people's feelings.There is very little in the way of action, humor, smart ass wise cracks, or even any real " bad guys ".This book, and Sandman Slim himself, is a pale, sad shadow of what was once a fantastic series. I wish I could unread it. If you've loved the prior novels as much as I have , don't read this one. It will destroy everything you love about Sandman Slim.

13 people found this helpful

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Get woke

Go broke

Way to ruin a series That was amazing.

I am disappointed big time.

12 people found this helpful

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Confusing....ruined the book for me

Richard Kadrey in an attempt to show that he is “woke” introduces to us that one of the characters is non binary and she wants everyone to use them and they pronouns to address her. This makes for some VERY awkward listening. “They wrapped their arms around me....” in stead of “She wrapped her arms around me....” For me it took me out of the story as I had to reconcile what was actually going on in the story with the speech being used. As this is a main character now, it is through the whole book. I have enjoyed the series up until now and I purchased all the others and really liked them, however this book just is not enjoyable to listen to. I will reconsider future purchases if this is the norm for his books going forward and go somewhere else to get my audio book escape.

10 people found this helpful

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  • R
  • 09-17-20

Just not right.

this just isnt right. Its stark but it isnt. Stark doesnt care what people think of him.. he doesnt give AF! But in this book he does. Whining all day caring what people think Then comes the whole "they/them" pronouns. I fully support people living their lives how they want. But to throw this in here is just confusing. Hearing a single person constantly described as they/them is god damn confusing and takes from the story. This is hands down the worst sandman slim story. Its honestly awful. Unfortunally Kadrey is going down the social justice political warrior path just like how Jonathon Maberry wrecked the Joe Ledger series. Unsatisfied and disapointed.

10 people found this helpful

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MacLeod Andrews never disappoints

Disappointed. I believe every social issue happening around us today was played out in this book. I listen to books to escape the
mess we made of this world - not to listen to current social injustices. I am bummed because I love Sandman Slim.

7 people found this helpful

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