This is the 4th book in the Sandman Slim series by Kadrey. I got an eGalley for review from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This one started off a little slower than previous books, but really picked up speed as the book went on. I ended up loving this one just as much as previous books. Its gritty, darkly humorous, and Stark is the perfect anti-hero.
The book starts with Stark down in Hell trying to do his job as Lucifer. When he finds out Lucifer mainly does a lot of paper work he continues looking for a way back to L.A. He gets back to L.A. only to find that a serial killer ghost is on the rampage; if Stark doesnt figure out how to stop the ghost then L.A. could end up worse than Hell.
This book is kind of like two books, or at least two distinct parts of one story. The first part deals with Stark in Hell as he tries to figure out Lucifers job, evade assassinations and find a way back to L.A. I didnt enjoy this part as much as previous Sandman Slim books. Yeah there is a lot of action, but you also get a lot of Hellion names thrown at you and it gets hard to keep track of all the Generals, etc.
I did enjoy watching Stark run the Hellion administration Sandman Slim style. It was pretty hilarious to watch him smack down all those Hellish administrative types. I also enjoyed the secret and truly deadly weapon that looks like a Magic 8 ball.
Things pick up pace and become much more interesting when Stark gets back to L.A. This goes back to the more traditional Stark solves a murder to save the world sort of story line. I loved that all of the great characters from previous books feature. Candy is back in full force and it was great to watch her and Stark kick some butt. The Father is back as well and he has learned some truly awesome and deadly spiritual magic and is backing Stark up with more than just intellect. Brigette makes a cameo appearance too.
As with previous books Stark has to solve a mystery or the whole city (and lots of the world) will bite it. In this case it is a murderous young girl ghost that he is chasing. As he solves this mystery we are introduced to more detail of the ghost realms and some new and interesting characters.
Stark actually develops quite a bit as a character in this book. He has to track down his angelic half and make peace with it, and he is starting to actually care about some of the people around him. He is just as tragic as in previous books but he is changing and growing some. It was great to have some character development here.
The action scenes are awesome, the settings dank and gritty. The dialogue sounds like it feel out of an old black and white noir film and it totally over the top at times; I absolutely love it! This is a gritty and ugly urban fantasy and I absolutely adore it.
Overall an excellent addition to the series. The beginning does drag a bit, but things really pick up in the second half of the book. All of our favorite characters are back and Stark makes some awesome progress in character development. This isnt my favorite Sandman Slim novel, but it is still an excellent one. This whole series is highly recommended to fans of gritty urban fantasy.