Sunday, June 17, 2012

Book Review: Kill the Dead (Sandman Slim)

Sandman Slim is back in Kill the Dead, the second book in the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey.


Life's rough.

James Stark has recently returned from Hell and in his short time back in Los Angeles he has managed extract his revenge on Mason, a former "buddy" of his who betrayed him, sent him to hell and killed his girlfriend, Alice. In addition to that, Stark just learned he is a nephilim, half human/half angel, or as one angel in particular refers to him - an abomination.

When the book begins, Stark is chasing a vampire through the streets of L.A. Hunting her is just part of his job as a bounty hunter of the supernatural variety. Stark doesn't love it, he doesn't hate it, but it pays the bills and passes the time.

So when Lucifer, the King of Hell himself, comes to town to work on an autobiography of his life, Stark is asked to serve as his bodyguard. There are more than a few people who would love to see the Prince of Lies dead. Stark isn't exactly thrilled, but he needs the money and agrees.

While accompanying Lucifer to a party with L.A.'s less than heavenly crowd, Stark meets Brigitte Bardot (not her real name of course). Brigette is an adult film star but she is also a zombie, or "drifter," hunter. This begins a crazy downward spiral leading to some quality time with the living dead. After Stark is bitten by a drifter it's unclear what will happen to his human side.

Will he die and leave the angel behind? Will Allegra and Vidocq find a cure in time? Or will he become a member of the living dead?


Okay, so I'm a bit late to the party seeing as I'm just getting around to reading this novel now; but I've only just discovered this series and am in love with it!

If you haven't read the first novel in the Sandman Slim series I strongly suggest you do before read this review.

The second novel wasn't without the usual gore, criminal activity, harsh language, magic and extreme violence, although, it takes a while for the plot to really build up. Still, Kill the Dead doesn't disappoint with its gory and gritty scenes, dark undertones and of course Stark's charming sarcasm.

Another thing that makes this novel awesome is the fact that there are zombies in this novel! Who doesn't love a good zombie every now and again? Kadrey adds a twist to the traditional zombie lore with his introduction of "drifters." The zombies have different levels of cognitive awareness and they aren't so easy to kill.

Stark is hilarious and witty as usual; and he and Kasbian (Stark's bodiless "frenemy" from the first novel) create enough witty banter to keep the reader entertained. There's just something about Stark's character that makes him easy to like. Kadrey's characterization of Stark as the tortured hero is done well without being annoying or over the top.

I also really enjoyed Lucifer's character in this novel.He doesn't quite seem as evil as you would think given that he is Satan and everything. They have a rather unusual dynamic as well. I think the "frenemy" term would apply here as well.

There were a lot of subplots but Kadrey seems to tie them all together into a nice giant bow by the end of the novel.

I can't give the novel five stars though because it did seem to take forever to get to the actual plot but overall Kill the Dead is a fun read full of action and suspense. If you enjoy a dose of dark humor you'll love the Sandman Slim series.

Rating: 4/5


  1. Sounds good. I'm seeing zombie novels everywhere these days. Catchy title too.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Emma! I love this series! I find myself reading more and more novels with some mention of zombies in them. If anything I figure I'm preparing for the zombie apocalypse. :)



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