Harper Voyager, h/b, £9.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
The fourth book in Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series has James Stark, the anti-hero ensconced as Lucifer, ruling hell. He has quite the chequered past, born a nephilim (half human, half angel), having previously worked as a hitman armed with magical powers, the Devil’s bodyguard and a gladiator in the pits of hell. Having escaped once from Hell, he couldn’t predict that he would rule it one day, split from his angelic half.
Stark is a classic anti-hero – fast talking, with many human frailties even when acting as the ruler of Hell. Hard drinking and smoking “Malediction” cigarettes, he still tries to do the right thing in the long run, facing down deadly ghouls, junkie assassins, rogue angels and bloodthirsty child ghosts to stop the end of the world and prevent all of Hell’s inhabitants from killing themselves and each other.
A truly gripping read – Kadrey has the knack of hooking the reader and reeling them into the pages, emotionally investing in the characters. A great mix of esoteric and biblical themes, with ghosts, zombies, vampires, ghouls, angels and demons all appearing in the series. According to Wikipedia, the Sandman Slim series is currently being developed for Hollywood, so get ahead of the curve and check out Kadrey’s superb series before they hit the big screen.