After reading the first two books in this series I was eagerly anticipating the release of this one when those wonderful folks at Amazon decided to offer me a pre-release copy. Snatched that up straight away. And finished it in one day. Now I'm chomping at the bit for another one. Kadrey's a freaking amazing author, think Jim Butcher with tats and a darker, twisted sense of humor. Yeah baby...
Our hero Stark, aka Sandman Slim, was an "innocent" dragged to hell, tortured, and forced to fight in the arena who managed to escape (to L.A. of all places) looking for vengeance. Unfortunately he wasn't able to kill Mason, the guy who sent him there. But he did manage to avert a zombie apocalypse. And send Mason to hell, which unfortunately is exactly where he wanted to be. That's books one and two. Now, it's been a while since Sandman's killed anyone important, the bad guys aren't as scared of him as they should be, Lucifer's on "vacation," there's a rebellion brewing in hell, the demonic Kissi are still skulking around, and, well, the universe is about to be ripped apart as heaven and hell go to war... Just another day at the office, right? Well sorta.
It is a challenge to read this offering without first breezing through the other two since the story is more-or-less on continuous thread, but then again those books are awesome so it's no hardship. The story is fairly original, but as with the rest of the series, what really shines is the the characterization and dialogue. They are far and away some of the best I've ever read, and I stopped counted at 3,000 books. Really. Kadrey's that good. The alchemist Vidocq is back along with Candy the Jade, and Stark's "roommate" Kasabian (his head anyway), along with some other fun, minor players like bartender Carlos, Josef the Kissi, and Marshal Julia. Big or small, everyone's universally well done, fascinating, and (for most anyway), warped.
It's sorta obvious by how fast I breezed through this one, but it's a real page turner. Don't start reading when you've got something more important to do. It won't get done. But do buy this book. You won't regret it. It's extraordinarily well done!
Author of Blinded by the Night, among other titles