- Audiobook Review
- Author: Richard Kadrey
- Performed by MacLeod Andrews
- Released: June 2016 by Harper Collins Publishers
- Category: Urban Fantasy
Sandman Slim returns in a stunning, high-octane thriller filled with the intense kick-ass action and inventive fantasy that are the hallmarks of New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey.
After saving the world once more Stark is suffering from PTSD like symptoms, which isn’t helping his general demeanour. He is working for Thomas Abbot, the Augur of the Sub Rosa. His next job for Abbot involves uncovering council members who might be tied in with Wormwood Investments. Wormwood are into money and power, any way they can get it, no holds barred. Abbot also wants help in locating a friend’s missing son, a job that Stark passes on to Candy, who works for Julie’s detective agency where Stark used to work, before he got fired. Stark has not got a good track record when it comes to working for a living. Possibly a hangover from being Azazel’s slave Downtown, when the Hellion held the ultimate power over him.
I never liked being an employee. I tried it before. Signed on with the Golden Vigil – basically, a government anti-hoodoo spook force. It didn’t work out. The bosses – Larson Wells in particular – and I didn’t exactly get along (I fought the law and the law won). Then they threw Candy in jail and would have shipped her to a Lurker Alcatraz in the desert if I didn’t get help from a friend. Then they screwed me out of my paycheck. Then I tried playing private detective. Don’t bother asking how that worked out.
The Wormwood plot is expanded a lot in this story, but things don’t go exactly as planned for Stark. There is disorder and confusion in hell since Lucifer left, the angels are at war in heaven between those that want to let souls in and those that do not. When Stark encounters a dying angel who shows him an ornate box, Stark recognises it immediately as something made in hell. What he doesn’t recognise is the vial of black liquid inside. It’s something the rebel angels use to stop souls from entering heaven. Karael, the dying angel, wants Stark to find and destroy it before it’s too late. When Stark’s oldest friend falls foul of the black stuff, he and Candy have to go to hell, the only chance they have of finding a cure. But the damned souls that still work for Wormwood are in cahoots with the rebel angels, and if they win the war it would mean the end…for everyone.
This is a great addition to the Sandman Slim series, with all the regulars, Vidocq, Allegra, Candy (Chihiro), Carlos, Kasabian and even Mustang Sally makes an appearance. Stark is a great favourite of mine and I love how he is evolving, trying to cope with his internal conflict, yet not losing essence of what makes him the complex, ass-kicking character he’s always been. His relationship with Candy is great, they’re perfect together, and Stark’s attitude to his friends has mellowed.
Richard Kadrey’s writing is as wonderfully dark, crazy and gritty as ever and I enjoyed the glimpse into Vidocq’s past and how it affects the present. After the totally unexpected ending I can’t wait to see where the story goes next. MacLeod Andrews’ narration of this series, the personality and voices he gives the characters, is amazing and so enjoyable to listen to, although I imagine it must play havoc with the vocal chords.
About Richard Kadrey
Richard Kadrey is a writer living in San Francisco. He is the author of dozens of stories, plus ten novels, including Metrophage and Butcher Bird. His Wired magazine cover story, “Carbon Copy,” was made into one of the worst movies of 2001. It starred Bridget Fonda. Sorry, Bridget.
Kadrey created and wrote the Vertigo comics miniseries Accelerate, which was illustrated by the Pander Brothers. He plans to do more comic work in the near future.
He has written and spoken about art, culture, and technology for Wired, The San Francisco Chronicle, Discovery Online, The Site, SXSW, and Wired for Sex on the G4 cable network.
He is also a fetish photographer.
He has no qualifications for anything he does.