“I always thought being the Devil would be at least a little fun.
Shooting BBs at Hitler as he tightrope walks over a lake of boiling lemon juice and broken glass. Playing Pin the Tail on the Stalin. After lunch, maybe a few rounds of Ted Bundy Whac-A-Mole…”
– “Devil in the Dollhouse” by Richard Kadrey
With the release of Richard Kadrey’s fourth Sandman Slim novel Devil Said Bang just a few weeks away (it is officially released on August 28th), urban fantasy’s high hierophant has given fans of his addictively readable series featuring foul-mouthed antihero James Stark (aka Sandman Slim) a bite-sized tide-me-over. It’s a $0.99 e-short story called “Devil in the Dollhouse” – and it is classic Kadrey.
Stark didn’t sign up for this. His followers are being slaughtered by hellbeasts; he is literally covered in steaming defecation; and the heat is unbearable. How could it get any worse?
Cue the Carpenters soundtrack!
“I hear something from above. I can’t tell if it’s screams or someone singing ‘Close To You’…”
I love these novels – and it is all because of Kadrey’s singularly unique writing style. It’s irreverent, witty, and insightful. I call it the unholy gospel according to Sandman Slim.
For those of you who have yet to experience this simultaneously soulful and impious saga, the following excerpts will give you a taste of what you’re in for:
• “The universe is a meat grinder and we’re just pork in designer shoes, keeping busy so we can pretend we’re not all headed for the sausage factory.” (Kill the Dead)
• “We’re just bugs on God’s windshield. That’s all we are. Annoying. Disposable. A dime a dozen.” (Aloha from Hell)
• “Karma is just loaded dice on a crooked table.” (Aloha from Hell)
• “Memories are bullets. Some whiz by and only spook you. Others tear you open and leave you in pieces. Someday the right one will catch you right between the eyes and you’ll never see it coming.” (Kill the Dead)
• “Hell and earth are the same thing. Separated by nothing more than a thin shroud of understanding…” (Aloha from Hell)
Bottom line: Kadrey’s Sandman Slim sequence is one of the most original and outrageous sagas in all of genre fiction. Readers looking to make a hot summer a little more infernal should seek out and experience this hellishly good series.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.
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