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.More
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jack bauer + spawn = sandman slim
i rarely listen to audio-books more than once, but i've listened to sandman slim twice, and i've enjoyed it both times. the story is fast-paced, and i was swept away by it, totally engrossed from the very opening.
i must say the narrator's voice perfectly matches the main character's demeanor. stark aka sandman slim is a gritty, dark, anti-hero, and he's unapologetic about what he believes he's been forced to become.
stark was sent "downtown" by his jealous colleague's lust for power. as an oddity in hell, stark was tortured and forced to fight in the arena, where the deadly battles forged his skills and abilities. stark becomes known as the monster who kills monsters.
the author, richard kadrey, builds a believable world filled
with angels, fallen angels, kishi, mortals, and magic. through kadrey's different characters we see a world where the lines between good and evil are hard to distinguish. sometimes, to do some good, you gotta do a little evil.
kadrey's story is full of interesting characters with different motivations. mason, stark's nemesis who sent him downtown. vidoc, a 200 year old french alchemist. candy, a jade, who's a recovering killer and bloodsucker. jospeph, a kishi, who leads a neo-nazi gang. alita, an angel in charge of the golden vigil, and many more.
overall, a great thrill ride with excellent narration and an unpredictable ending. as a fan of the show, 24, and the comic, spawn, i think of sandman slim as a mix of jack bauer and spawn. not a bad combination as long as he's on your side.
NOTE: in my reviews, i usually mention more about the plot, but this time i didn't. trust me, you'll enjoy it more, discovering it for yourself.
- Mike Naka