Sandman Slim

Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
Series: Sandman Slim, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,098 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When he was 19, James Stark was considered to be one of the greatest natural magicians, a reputation that got him demon-snatched and sent downtown - to Hell - where he survived as a gladiator, a sideshow freak entertaining Satan's fallen angels.

That was 11 years ago. Now, the hitman who goes only by Stark has escaped and is back in L.A. Armed with a fortune-telling coin, a black bone knife, and an infernal key, Stark is determined to destroy the magic circle - led by the conniving and powerful Mason Faim - that stole his life.

Though nearly everything has changed, one constant remains: his friend Vidocq, a 200-year-old Frenchman who has been keeping vigil for the young magician's return. But when Stark's first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head that belongs to the first of the circle, a sleazy video store owner named Kasabian, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than he counted on, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.

©2009 Richard Kadrey (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

jack bauer + spawn = sandman slim

Any additional comments?

i rarely listen to audio-books more than once, but i've listened to sandman slim twice, and i've enjoyed it both times. the story is fast-paced, and i was swept away by it, totally engrossed from the very opening.

i must say the narrator's voice perfectly matches the main character's demeanor. stark aka sandman slim is a gritty, dark, anti-hero, and he's unapologetic about what he believes he's been forced to become.

stark was sent "downtown" by his jealous colleague's lust for power. as an oddity in hell, stark was tortured and forced to fight in the arena, where the deadly battles forged his skills and abilities. stark becomes known as the monster who kills monsters.

the author, richard kadrey, builds a believable world filled
with angels, fallen angels, kishi, mortals, and magic. through kadrey's different characters we see a world where the lines between good and evil are hard to distinguish. sometimes, to do some good, you gotta do a little evil.

kadrey's story is full of interesting characters with different motivations. mason, stark's nemesis who sent him downtown. vidoc, a 200 year old french alchemist. candy, a jade, who's a recovering killer and bloodsucker. jospeph, a kishi, who leads a neo-nazi gang. alita, an angel in charge of the golden vigil, and many more.

overall, a great thrill ride with excellent narration and an unpredictable ending. as a fan of the show, 24, and the comic, spawn, i think of sandman slim as a mix of jack bauer and spawn. not a bad combination as long as he's on your side.

NOTE: in my reviews, i usually mention more about the plot, but this time i didn't. trust me, you'll enjoy it more, discovering it for yourself.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

Comedy meets action in the Sandman Slim series. I absolutely loved these books, and the narrator was perfect as Sandman Slim. I would compare these to the Monster Hunter International books by Larry Correia.

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable Dark Tale...

But probably not for everyone. I personally enjoy a good yarn with some blood and guts and well placed vernacular of the foul sort. Makes me feel like I am not alone in my world view of "things that really %^$# me off". A different sort of story and the reader did an excellent job as well.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Anti-Dresden

You need to read this book. Especially if you are a fan of the Dresden File series. This book starts a wonderful series that is a Ying to the Yang. The Dresden Files is methodically, almost seeming like each chapter ends with a commerical break. Sandman Slim goes and goes and goes without hardly enough time to catch your breath before the next thing happens.

The voice actors also need to be compared with this two series. MacLeod Andrews IS Stark. James Marsters IS Harry Dresden. Just imagine going to a bar only to find that Stark is sitting at the bar itself with Harry at one of the tables.Stark would be the guy who you would want to kick his ass but would kick yours instead. Harry would be the guy who you might buy a drink after a game of darts or pool.

The comparison is needed here as both characters have amazing depth. The two book series complement each other in a great way. BUY THIS BOOK!

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome - great narration, great story

If you love film noir and you love fantasy/horror, you'll love this book. The cherry on top is that that narration is awesome. Highly recommended.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

SOLID modern magic novel, great sense of humour.

Great, great, great.
Book: What an enjoyable, easy, solid book with a fresh point of view. It doesn't take itself too seriously, either, which is great. I love the old-school punk with a crappy attitude being the protagonist. He's a true, consistent character.
Narrator: MacLeod Andrews was the perfect - PERFECT! - choice for this. I'm often neither impressed nor disappointed with narrators, but his character acting (without overdoing it) really brought it to life. Couldn't imagine anyone else reading it.
Overall: SO worth the credits. Can't wait for the next book. This is much more my style than the Dresden books, but does justice to the "modern magic" genre well.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

What Would John McClane Do?

There were things that I loved about this book and there were things that were unbelievably lame.

First, the Good:
The modern supernatural setting in LA is bloody brilliant. I've sampled a good amount of this genre: Dresden, Mercy Thompson, Iron Druid, American Gods, and this one holds its own very well. In one novel Kadrey elaborates some supernatural arcana, teases others, and leaves himself plenty of room to explore.

The action is solid, gruesome, plentiful and well described. While it may not refine exactly who has what powers and the exact mechanics of each, you still get clearly depicted fight scenes, explosions, magical fireballs and whatnot. You're never left waiting long and the story moves quickly.

The story is a common trope: Hero returns from long absence for revenge or redemption, finds world has changed and has to cope with changes and adversity on the way to his goal. See: Payback, The Perfect Weapon, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!, and about a million others. On its own this is fine, if not particularly innovative, but it does play extremely well with the supernatural setting.

The Lame:

The title character is a joke. And it is not because Kadrey can't write good characters. Most of the ones in the book are just fine, some are extremely well developed. Stark (Sandman Slim) is a cartoon.

He is a magically gifted kid who at 19 is betrayed and sent, still alive, to Hell to be tortured and made to fight in gladiatorial combat for 11 years. That in itself is really, really cool. Unfortunately, his portrayal is that of a 14 year old with all the cynicism of a vetran IRS agent depicted by Chuck Palahniuk and a constant pathological need to prove what a tough guy he is. It's silly. It took me 10 minutes to hate him. After that all the trouble he gets himself into is well deserved. I started rooting for people to beat some sense into him.

You can just imagine him thinking, "what would a tough guy drink/smoke/say?" It is like every sentence about the title character should end with, "because I'm a badass."

That said, Andrews's depiction of Slate is dead on. He sounds exactly like he reads, like a young guy trying to do a Jack Nicholson impression. I was well satisfied with Andrews's reading mostly. I had do take some points off for his French accent. It's close, but the way he pronounces Rs are an abomination.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Listened to it twice

This is a very gritty hardboiled book withnasty characters. The Protagonist is a real Bad Boy.

Listen to the preview first and if you like it you'll like the rest of the book.

The author just has a way of putting things that was a crackup.

I liked it so much I'm listening to it twice.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Somewhat painful

In the beginning, there was a thin veil of noir. It burned off quickly and once it was gone, I found myself mentally checking to verify that I wasn't listening to a YA novel.

Part of the problem is the narrators voice, which is high and reedy and a bit irritating. The "hero" (who ultimately, and in a totally nonsensical way, comes to be known as Sandman Slim, but that is another issue...) is supposed to be a big tough guy seasoned by 11 years as a gladiator in hell. Yet he is written with the personality of a 19 year old, his age when he went to hell. It seems as if the author really couldn't decide whether he wanted his dually-named hero to be a teenager or a gritty tough guy. He ends up with a mish-mash of the two that he rationalizes with an assumption that a 19-year old would not mature after 11 years of torture in hell. It's confusing.

My other criticism is for the author's apparent lack of geographical knowledge of Los Angeles. This was really distracting. I can excuse the re-working of certain neighborhoods to suit the grittyness of the story but Beverly Hills is not, and never has been, anywhere near Laurel Canyon. And to travel in any way other than through Sandman Slim's magic doors between Beverly Hills, Laurel Canyon, and Hollywood would take most of the day. One way.

The upshot is an unevenly written book that tries for noir but does not succeed and gets caught somewhere between a comic book and Preston and Childs novel.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very mediocre

Some of the basic ideas are interesting, but the plot and character development is juvenile. The characters are all flat and the plot just jumps from one nonsense event to another.

2 people found this helpful