Audiobook Review: Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey

3 05 2011

Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim, Book 2)

Read by MacLeod Andrews

Brilliance Audio

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Quick Thoughts: A stronger book than it’s prequel, Kadrey adds to a mythology that you think you know, but you really, really don’t.

Grade: B+

If anyone read my review of Sandman Slim, the first novel in the “Sandman Slim” series, you would know I had mixed feelings about the novel. Most of my issues with the novel came from that fact that the main character, anti-hero James Stark, was such a brash, petulant unlikable character, at least on a surface level, that it made him hard to cheer for. Not that there wasn’t anything redeeming about that character, there was, it was just mainly that despite a strong group of supporting characters, that actually supported and cared for him, he found ways to piss even his friend off, despite their good advice and intentions. What I really did like about Sandman Slim was the mythology created by Richard Kadrey. I like urban fantasies, unless they are about sexy Euro-trash Vampires, but often times the mythologies aren’t too original. Kadrey took something that most kids who spent too much time in Sunday School knows about, heaven and hell, angels and demons, and twisted it onto its head, smacked it on its ass, and threw in some extra spices for flavoring. In fact, it’s this intriguing world where US Marshalls answer to Angels, and Lucifer’s Generals play their sadistic own Game of Thrones, that brought me back to the Universe to check out book 2, Kill the Dead.

With Kill the Dead, my feelings are far less mixed. Kill the Dead is a heavy metal ride through the magical subcultures of Los Angeles. Kadrey builds on his mythology that was so intriguing in Sandman Slim, adding to it one of the most unique spins on zombies out there. I really thing that Kadrey’s main skill is to take something you think you know, laugh at you evilly, then show you that you don’t know shit. Even better, the James Stark character was actually much easier to take, and heck, even at times sort of heroic. Yeah, he’s still a brooding mess, full of petulance and overly obstinate, but, this time, he was actually right. It’s tough to write an anti-hero that people can truly get behind, yet, slowly Sandman Slim is becoming someone you can cheer for, even if it’s secretly while publicly denouncing his juvenile behaviors. Kill the Dead has a lot of subplots, and at times I worried that things were getting overly muddled, but Kadrey managed to pull most of the threads together, making for a exciting and satisfying ending, while leaving just enough open ended to allow you to bemoan the fact that we have to wait until October for the next installment in the series.

MacLeod Andrews is truly on of the best narrators out there at encompassing the main POV character. For each series or standalone novel I have listened to narrated by Andrews it is almost like a totally different person telling us the story. This is because he actually gets into the head of the character and becomes him. A lot of narrators just use their “regular” voice for the main character, then changes tones and accents for the supporting characters. Andrew’s doesn’t do this, and it adds a lot to his reading. Some of his supporting characters came off a little cutesy at times, but for the most part, he was dead on in his reading. In future editions to this series, any narrator change will be quite distracting. Andrew’s and Kadrey make such a good team, a writer who can actually write an original character, along with a narrator that can authentically portray him. 

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2 responses

19 09 2011
Kill The Dead | Shitty Books

[…] reviews: io9, The Mad Hatter, The Guilded Earlobe, David […]

7 05 2016
Kill The Dead | Dwice Fox International

[…] reviews: io9, The Mad Hatter, The Guilded Earlobe, David […]

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