Review - Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Narrated by MacLeod Andrews
Series: Sandman Slim #1
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
Date Read: April 28, 2020
Length:  10 hours and 28 minutes
Source: Purchased
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.
My Review

I feel like I have been wanting to read this book forever.  I bought the ebook more than eight years ago and added the audiobook to my collection nearly six years ago.  I am not really sure why it took me so long to finally get started with the series but I am happy to report that this book is really as good as I had hoped it would be.  I am so glad that I finally took the time to give this one a listen.

James Stark was only 19 years old when he went to Hell.  It is now 11 years later and he is back and ready to deal with the friends who sent him away.  The past 11 years have been hard on Stark but he survived and picked up a few skills along the way.  Things have changed in the world while he was away and he has a few adjustments to make as he works to settle the score.

I really liked Stark.  He is tough and able to think on his feet.  We learn pretty early on that he can be rather brutal when necessary but he will also go out of his way to help others who are truly innocent.  We really learn a lot about Stark in this book and I think that his past and time in Hell have helped to shape him.  Stark does have a sense of humor and there were times that I found myself chuckling.  I also really enjoyed the supporting cast of characters and I think that the whole ensemble really helped to make the story entertaining.

This story is really exciting.  It is really interesting right out of the gate and everything builds as the story progresses.  I like that there is no big information dump as you sometimes find in the first installment in a series.  Instead, the world-building happens slowly as the story is told.  There is plenty of action to keep things moving and a few scenes where we really get to see how much Stark has lost.  I think that the pacing of the story was very well done and I liked that I was always eager to get back to the story.

MacLeod Andrews did a phenomenal job with the narration of this book.  He really brought James Stark to life and I couldn't imagine this character having a different voice.  He handled all of the character voices extremely well and added a lot of excitement to the story.  I know that I enjoyed this story a bit more because of his narration.

I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others.  This is a very strong start to a series that I can't wait to continue.  The characters were very well done and I found myself completely engaged in the story from beginning to end.  I cannot wait to read more of this series!

About the Author

Richard Kadrey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sandman Slim supernatural noir books. Sandman Slim was included in Amazon’s “100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime,” and is in development as a feature film. His other books include Hollywood Dead, The Everything Box, Metrophage, and Butcher Bird, and he also writes comics and screenplays. He lives in San Francisco.

Author Links: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter


  1. It's nice to have good surprises from books we have for so long like that

  2. This one sounds like quite an exciting read! I don't know why I didn't hear of it before, but I'm adding it to my list :D So happy you loved it, Carole, and I sure hope you are gonna enjoy every minute of the rest of the series when you put your hands on it!

  3. I like a slow build in a story. Too much info up front has me wildly writing notes so I can remember it all!

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow, what a synopsis! This one sounds super unique and exciting!

  5. I am adding this to my list. It sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  6. this sounds great. i had a feeling there may be some chuckles involved
    sherry @ fundinmental

  7. This is such a cool premise. The narrator in an audiobook can really take the writing to the next level. It is part of the reason I love to listen to some and prefer to read others.

  8. I'm glad it worked out and that you finally got to it. That is so satisfying. Wonderful review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  9. Oh my, that does sound fabulous. I'm putting it on my list. Yay for getting a backlist book out and enjoying it.

  10. Oh, exciting! I could do with some of that, it has been a while

  11. I'm wondering what Stark did to get sent to Hell. Sounds like an interesting start to the series. Glad to hear you enjoyed this and you got to check off a book that's been sitting on your TBR for so long. :)

  12. This does sound like a fun series. And it has some intriguing characters.

  13. I lone the sound of this one! I could read this and enjoy!

  14. This sounds very different. I'm glad it was as good as you hoped.

  15. Sometimes it can be frustrating to get that info this one sounds nice with the slow build in the world building.

    Great review.

  16. Hopefully you'll continue to enjoy the series!


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