Read by MacLeod Andrews
Length: 12 Hrs 14 Min
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Quick Thoughts: Devil Said Bang is another solid edition in one of the more unique and riveting Urban Fantasy series out today. While it has the feel of a transitional novel in the series, it also is full of Stark doing his thing, and ties up many of the plot lines from the precious novel, clearing the slate to take the series in a new direction
I have to admit, I hadn’t ever heard of Richard Kadrey when I started the Sandman Slim series. In fact, I pretty much believe that the reason I first became interested in this series was because I found the name "Sandman Slim" to sound badass. You know all that stuff about not judging a book by its cover, or some other arbitrary means, well, I am often guilty of that. I like to pretend I am all sophisticated and make well thought out choice when it comes my book selections, but often times it comes down to me pointing and squealing, "Me want the pretty." The crazy thing is, more often than not, it works out. I think there is a lowest common denominator in play here, and I don’t mean this in a negative way. If someone comes up with a kickass character name or an instantly intriguing book title, than more likely than not, I’ll probably like that book. It’s a matter of style meeting style. If I discover a book called Badass Jones, I am more likely going to be pulled to and probably end up enjoying it more than something called "The Philosophy of Arranging Flowers in the Snow" simply because someone willing to name a book or character Badass Jones appeals to me. Sure, the snooty title may end up being the better book, but, how can I resist something patently badass. It’s what appeals to me. Luckily, not only is Sandman Slim a pretty kickass character and title name, but it also is a highly entertaining series. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the latest edition of the series is title, Devil Said Bang, because, hell, who doesn’t love yelling BANG!
It’s not easy being on top, especially when you really didn’t want to be there. James Stark, aka Sandman Slim never wanted to become the ruler of hell, but when the original Lucifer stuck him with the job, he did what he could to keep hell from destroying itself. Now, unhappy and unwanted, Stark needs to find a way back to the women he left behind, without leaving hell, and the damned souls that abide there, in complete chaos. This is hard enough, perhaps impossible, yet to make matters even worst someone in his circle of hell is trying to kill him. Such is death for Sandman slim. I have to admit, after the brilliant Aloha From Hell, a game changing novel from Richard Kadrey, I was ready for a bit of a letdown. It’s hard to follow up a novel like that with something as strong. So, was Devil Said Bang as good as Aloha From Hell? Well… no. Yet, it’s still a pretty damn good novel. Similar to Aloha From Hell, the novel is told in two distinct parts, one taking place in hell, and the other back in our reality. While some of the fascination of Kadrey’s vision of hell, which was simply brilliant in Aloha, has worn off, he still tells an intricately plotted, punk rock version of a Game of Thrones type tale. Stark is the type of character that can carry a weak plot, but sometimes get in the way of a strong one. He is a presence and Kadrey uses that to it fullest. It would have been interesting to see some of the machinations of hell without the filter of Stark, and his quest to get back to Candy, but this is Stark’s tale, so we go with it. When we finally get out of hell, the plotting is a bit messier, but Stark carries it all on his back with the force of his personality. The plot can get a bit confusing, dealing with ghosts and the magical establishment and more people trying to kill Stark, but there are some genuine creepy scenes particularly between Stark and a child ghost who is attacking the living. One element I really liked is that Stark seemed slightly less impulsive and learned to think some things out before acting. This is an interesting development, particularly due to some of the events at the end of Aloha that made you think the opposite would happen. Much of Devil Said Bang seems to be about tying up all the loose ends that Aloha left floating and putting Stark back together again. Yet, even though it has the feel of a transitional novel, it’s a lot of fun, and done with the typical in your face Kadrey style that fans love. Devil Said Bang may not be as brilliant as Aloha from Hell, but it’s still full of Stark doing his thing. Stark is quickly become one of my favorite urban fantasy character, and one who can carry a book by the force of his will. Devil Said Bang clears the plate setting things up for a lot more great Stark adventures yet to come.
MacLeod Andrews simply owns Stark. His reading of this series is total punk rock. It’s gritty and gruff and just the perfect tone for this entire series. It really is a lot of fun to hear a talented narrator like Andrews take on everything from demons and Jades to snooty hotel employees and reclusive Satanists. There is a lot of things happening, and a multitude of strange and quirky characters, and Andrew’s shines in a production like this. His delivery and pacing is always on point, allowing the tale to develop around him as he builds authentic characters. It’s no secret I am a huge MacLeod Andrew’s fan and would probably enjoy listening to him read the phone book, as long is it’s a gritty version of a phone book for hell and it’s surrounding municipalities. Devil Said Bang is another solid edition in one of the more unique and riveting Urban Fantasy series out today.