First Glance Reviews – Sandman Slim

First Glance Reviews

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

As an ongoing journey to sharpen my imagination and writing skills, I wish to bring to light some of books that I’m currently reading and give my personal impressions on them. In this series of First Glance Reviews, I will give my initial reaction to the book (within 30% of completion). Without further adieu, here is Sandman Slim.


I first heard about Sandman Slim from a coworker. I didn’t think much of it, but curiosity go the best of me and I picked it up on my Kindle (for the amazing price of $0.99). What I found was an engrossing adventure that actually reminded me a lot of the television series, Supernatural, a favorite of myself and my wife.

Sandman Slim follows the journey of a magician and anti-hero named Stark. He’s not a wizard or a sorcerer, but a real magician. Magic comes natural to him. That is probably why his Circle, mainly their leader named Mason, betrayed him and sent him to Hell (alive) and killed his girlfriend, Alice. Eleven years later, Stark manages to escape and now seeks vengeance. The hitman from Hell, toughened by years of fighting monsters and demons with Hellion artifacts and weapons to aide him in his mission of destruction.

The instant I began reading, I drew instant correlation between Stark and Dean Winchester from the television series Supernatural. Both are tough, fight monsters, have a knowledge of magic, been to Hell, and have a similar personalities and fashion sense. The only difference is Stark is more dark and crass, along with having more scars from Hellish gladiatorial matches. He escapes Hell and lands in his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles, a world both familiar and completely alien due to his eleven year absence.

Stark has several Hellion tools at his disposal: the Veritas coin, which helps him make decisions; a black bone knife, which he “obtained” from his former slave owner in Hell; and the key to the Room of the Thirteen Doors, which allow him to slip into shadows and enter a room with thirteen doors that can take him anywhere he wants. His body has also been magically enhanced to allow him to heal faster and resist damage he has taken before and he learned some powerful Hellion spells (which he refuses to use as to not disturb the aether and alert Mason).

The story is told from Stark’s perspective, giving more of a sense of suspension as the reader only knows what he knows. It is very engaging, but there are a few hiccups, like grammatical errors, throughout the book. I do not know whether this is just contained to just the Kindle version, but it can be distracting at times, but not too distracting to keep me from enjoying the story.

This book is not for everybody. This book takes a more secular view and treats Hell more like an alternate dimension instead of the Christian’s view of complete separation from God and place of everlasting, unending torment. It is also very vulgar, using explicit language and violence to tell the story. If neither of these bother you and you like dark humor / violent stories, you might get enjoyment out of Sandman Slim. Otherwise it might be a pass for you.

Wyldman Rating: Reading on!

  • ISBN-10: 0061976261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061976261

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