Tag-Archive for » urban fantasy «

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve often shied away from reading book series consecutively. I tend to get burnt out a bit if I push on too soon. I read the first book in Kadrey’s series “Sandman Slim” in the middle of last year and I loved it; I was worried about getting too much James Stark at once though. Finally, I felt I had put enough distance between myself & Mr. Stark since the last time and picked up “Kill the Dead”.

James Stark, the “Sandman Slim” of the series title is a badass bundle of hoodoo and raw muscle. He has quite a bit of attitude and self deprecating humor as well as a tendency to feel sorry for himself. Considering he spent the past eleven years in hell though, it’s okay. In Book 1 of the series, we watched as Stark clawed his way out of hell and went in search of revenge on the person that sent him ‘downtown’ in the first place. With those adventures behind him, we join Stark as he hunts down a rogue vampire, on a mission from Gold Vigil also known as ‘Heaven’s Special Task Force’. At first glance, you look at the title “Kill The Dead” and this first scene with a vampire and you figure you know where this story is going to go. Author Richard Kadrey is a cagey bugger though and it certainly doesn’t pan out as one would predict which is what makes this a lot of fun.

“Kill the Dead” treads a lot of familiar genre ground. There are vampires and zombies, but they’re different; especially on the zombie front. I was worried when they first showed up as zombie novels don’t do a whole lot for me these days. Kadrey mixes it up though. He gives us zombies that are a bit harder to kill, varying strengths and powers and a whole lot more drive behind them. It’s a nice change up. They’re also not the driving force of the book either. While they are a big part, there are a whole lot of other things going on at the same time in this version of LA. Stark has to work with a lot of different people and chase down a few sub plots, so it’s not all, “watch the survivors fight to the rebuilding of America”. In, this isn’t even a ‘zombie apocalypse’ situation. There’s just a zombie problem that needs cleared up!

The highlight of the “Sandman Slim” novels is the characters. Some are one dimensional, but they’re written well so that one dimension is pretty fun. Start is full of wise cracks and his side kick, that of a schlub of a man’s severed head…., are pretty entertaining. Mix in Stark’s dealings with various angels, covert organizations from Heaven, even Lucifer himself and you see a complete and well thought out world laid out in efficient manner. Topping it off, Kadrey’s writing style flows well and seldom feels like it is bogged down. It’s full of snark and one liners, with a purpose mind you, and makes for fun engaging reading.

The beauty is, fun and engaging is all I really ask for when reading genre fiction, so “Kill the Dead” hits the spot quite nicely!

I gave “Kill the Dead” 4 stars out of 5 over on Goodreads!

Looking for a book podcast? Be sure to check out my genre fiction cast, The Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club over at Bloody Good Horror! What to compare books with me? Come add me on Goodreads! Want to discuss books? Come join us in the Dad and his Weird Friends Book Club on Facebook!

Category: Books  | Tags: , , , , ,  | Comments off
Friday, January 06th, 2012 | Author: Casey Criswell

For those of you that didn’t follow my antics over at Bloody Good Horror in my absence, you may not know that I started a new podcast called the “Dad and his Weird Friends Podcast”. A lot of you that did play along have asked why “Dad and his Weird Friends”; it’s mostly because myself (being the ‘Dad’ in the equation’) and my friends (being the ‘Weird Friends’) tend to sit around talking about books. A lot. At least we used to!


The show is going great and this episode dedicated to Richard Kadrey’s “Sandman Slim” marks my fifth episode! My guest for this time around is Carly, a blogger over at Bloody Good Horror, whom I’ve known through the website for a couple of years now. When I first started putting together the plans for a book podcast early last year, Carly was one of the first to volunteer and we quickly agreed that “Sandman Slim” should be the book we discuss. Sadly, those first plans fell through but gladly; Carly was more than happy to come back and talk about more “Sandman Slim”!

I was first introduced to this series a year or two ago by one of the original and offline “Weird Friends” Punkin Donuts. I’d dare say he’s an even bigger book nerd than myself and most of the time, his tastes coincide right along with mine. (Except for “The Doomsday Book”. *cough*) At the time, I’d never heard of Kadrey which was nobody’s fault but my own. The author has had several novels out including “Butcher Bird: A Novel of the Dominion”and “Metrophage” as well as a huge number of short stories and magazine articles. I just hadn’t been introduced until P.D. hooked us up.

Once you’ve listened to Carly and I’s discussion of “Sandman Slim” in Dad and his Weird Friends Episode 5, I think it’s a safe and easy assumption that I’ll be jumping in to each of the books as they come out. As it stands, you can already get your grubby little paws on the next two books “Kill the Dead” and “Aloha From Hell”. A little internet detective work says there may even be a fourth book in the works as well. I think you could say it’s a safe and easy assumption that Carly will be coming back to talk about books two and three as well!

If you’ve missed the first four episodes of the Dad and his Weird Friends podcast, fear not! Since our the new show has become an official spin-off of the Bloody Good Horror Podcast, our old episodes are automatically added to the Bloody Good Horror Classics! For just fifty cents, you can journey back and listen to discussions on any and all of your favorite books. Are you looking for an RSS feed? Dad and his Weird Friends is published on the Bloody Good Horror feed! With one click, you’ll receive updates on three great shows!