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Richard Kadrey and MacLeod Andrews are a perfect match. There is NO better narrator for Stark's adventures.
The latest Sandman Slim novel is everything I'd hoped it would be, and I'm a Stark groupie from way back. The only complaint I have about this series is that the books aren't 500 pages longer!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Good lord. I don't know what sort of personal stuff Kadrey went through while assembly lining out this, the crappiest of the Sandman Slim novels, but it clearly involved women and it didn't go well. Listen, I know Richard Kadrey is at best a C-Team Jim Butcher, but I've found his overblown, over the top bullshit pretty entertaining. That apparently ends here. Wanna see Sandman Slim completely neutered and talked down to and shat upon by every female character he encounters? Want to see woman after woman go from barely developed mannequin to bitter, condescending shrew with no real reasoning?
Then by all means, read the puzzlingly named "Killing Pretty".
The title really doesn't make sense unless it's referring to Tykho/Sigrun and unfortunately, she (and that cover art, woof) like ALL the villains and women in this third rate urban fantasy shoebox, completely lack any real character depth. (Nor do we get an explanation on why Thyko now has a completely different backstory and appearance? What happened to her 'octopus eyes'?)
Do we even need to talk about how the main big bad never gets to speak more than a sentence and has no real personality at all? That he's not even anyone we have an investment in at all? Come on.
To stack the deck further, but in a way that no one can really give a shit about, Stark is suddenly penniless and thus is now suddenly grounded in mundane concerns. Last month he took out the old gods, but this month he can't afford paint thinner. Also, the timeline of the entire story (Which was revealed last book that ALL the SS novels have taken place in the past YEAR since Stark came back from hell) is just stupid. Also, still no explanation on how Stark got the Black Blade back after he gave it away in Kill City Blues. Nor do we get a single reference to Stark's Kissi arm--which seems like it might have come in handy in a fight with faux-death. Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.
In the category of "Characters We Used To Care About": Candy has a total personality shift, which granted can be explained by starting her life over, only we don't see her do that. We get to hear her complain like a third year cosmetology school drop out disconsolately perusing a community college course catalog. All the while she just punishes Stark, which really makes no sense at all. The Candy from the previous books did not want to be "normal" and I don't think this shift is done convincingly or well. Julie, Stark's new boss, has all the character depth and personality of a cardboard cutout from a 1978 Sears catalog, and why the fuck is Brigitte in this book at all?
Look, I get it. It's noir. Women are often gonna be written a certain way, but Kadrey just didn't even try on this one. Every woman is a hateful ball buster. Stark is this poor put upon sad sack that just bends over and takes it. The whole thing just reeks of passive aggressive misogyny and lazy, lazy writing. Sorry Kadrey, I think you lost me on this one. Get a better editor and actually read your own notes or just stop.
One bright note, Macleod Andrews is over the top and cheesy as ever, but that's a good thing.
14 of 19 people found this review helpful