Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
If you like a grim and humorous world, Sandman Slim is one of the best Urban Fantasy novels out there. I can’t see much daylight between his world and a post-apocalypse setting, but the fact that it is bleak and dark doesn’t much improve L.A. (Though the protagonist has less trouble with traffic than I do.)
His protagonist isn’t quite an anti-hero, but he’s not a good person. He climbs out of hell into a burning pile of garbage. That is probably his best moments. He knocks over a drug dealer for his coat and goes about killing his old coven-mates.
I really like the fact that this is a noir novel in the – L.A. is a character – sense. There is a terrible personality to the multiply destroyed town. The weird theme bars, the over-priced sports cars, and the slowly decaying architecture are all features you can get to know. The action (even the action in Hell) all takes place in L.A. Its a town near-empty, for one reason or another, but it was L.A. (Even in Hell, they have flaming palm trees lining the streets. It makes you homesick. (If you lived in L.A. and didn’t want to set those palm trees on fire, just to watch them burn, you are a better person than I.)
An example scene entry from the third novel: “I come up in the Badlands, though I don’t see how this parcel of the L.A. shit-scape is supposed to be worse than any of others I’ve seen. In face, I’d find the area downright restful if it wasn’t for all the blood.”
Maybe I like the destroyed LA too much, but traffic down to Manhattan Beach or up to past Venice Beach or on the 105… ok, anywhere from Pasadena west…makes you appreciate the finer points of a zombie apocalypse. Sandman Slim takes you on a tour of the finer points of his version of the city, while killing evil warlocks, zombies, devils, demons, and weirder stuff.
Most of the universe has it in for our Sandman Slim, lucky he knows how to kill them back real well. He has a handful of colorful friends, a collection which keeps growing with each book. I especially love his unfortunately immortal alchemist friend, and his pet vampire(ish). He has a collection of enemies as well, which despite his killing them off, doesn’t seem to diminish the total number for much.
Is there negatives about the book? Not really. It is grim and dark and humorous. If those get aggravating for you, you probably won’t put the series on speed read. I’ve just got back and re-read, so that I can start book six. I’m only on book three, but will probably finish them all this week. For me, they are light and easy reads, but I like the grim.
The books are full of drinking, fighting, and sex. The sex is actually not terribly explicit. The gore isn’t terribly explicit, but there are bodies getting hacked up. The drinking and smoking is heavy and constant. I want a smoke half-way through the book, and I don’t smoke.
Rating for Sandman Slim:
Sandman Slim is a perfect example of post-apocalypse fiction. The world (LA) is destroyed and the angels and devils and demons and monsters are fighting over the ruins. Our hero is one of the monsters and proud of it. It is fun, emotional, and interesting to turn the pages. It is fun enough for five stars, and there is no technical crap which kills the fun.
So yes, the series, so far as I’ve read it, gets five stars. Read them.