by Jesus Ibarra
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of Killing Pretty, and a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.
Richard Kadrey’s seventh installment of the Sandman Slim series picks up directly after the events of The Getaway God. Stark—having saved Los Angeles, and the universe, from old vengeful gods—is now saddled with his greatest challenge: living like a mere mortal. Still, there are supernatural shenanigans, like having to solve the Angel of Death’s murder while investigating cults dating back to the Weimar Republic, and figuring out where all the ghosts in LA are disappearing to.
This is probably going up there as one of my favorite books in this series. Having tied up most, if not all, of the plot lines that began in the first Sandman Slim book, Richard Kadrey intelligently shifts the series in an exciting new direction. Stark is confronted with problems that make saving the world seem like a piece of cake. Having to live like a real human being without the excitement of regularly breaking and killing things is a lot harder for him than he’d realized. It’s the “well, now what?” problem. Compounding this is the fact that he can’t just instantly travel through the world and worlds. Stark is grounded in one place and it makes him kind of miserable.
Kadrey does a masterful job of working through the book’s mystery while infusing it with Stark’s new reality and the insecurities that come with it. And to my ever-growing delight, Stark continues to grow. He isn’t the revenge-seeking killer from the first novel, he has a family now that actually put up with him, even though Stark likes to put them through the wringer. Having to work out a problem where he can no longer just shake everything till something comes out makes Stark have to think before he acts. And while he may not always succeed, he does try.
And that, more than anything, makes Stark—and his family, by extension—feel like actual people. Mix in great character development, solving an intriguing problem, and dropping hints about where the next book is going to go, and you have one of the best new releases of the year. Kadrey’s writing continues to be fantastic. It is focused and narratively tight. There are no plodding moments in the book when you just want to get back to the mystery at hand, or to the action. And the dialogue continues to be one of my favorite things about the series: Stark’s brand of snark is hilarious. The running gag of Fresno being the worst place you could be continues, and I wonder if we will ever see Stark visit the city. I can’t recommend this book and the series as a whole enough: if you love urban fantasy, you have to be reading these books!
To enter to win a signed copy of Killing Pretty, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Pretty,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 15, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.
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Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy: