Archive for demented genius

ALOHA FROM HELL By Richard Kadrey – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by stanleyriiks

I hate Richard Kadrey. I hate his books. I hate Sandman Slim, one of the greatest anti-heroes to ever be captured on the page.

Kadrey writes books I wish I’d written. He had created a world and characters that I can only dream of creating. He has plots that make me want to read the whole book in one sitting because I want to find out what happens so bad. But also I want to read slowly, to savour every sentence, and respect every line because there is such a wit and darkness in these pages.

This is the third book in the amazing Sandman Slim series, featuring Slim who is a magician returned from hell after turning monster fighter and demon killer. He lives in an LA underworld ruled by Sub Rosa (old magical) families and factions. And finds himself involved as a bodyguard to Lucifer, a private-detective and monster hunter. Slim is my hero. The dude rocks my world, and I wish, I so wish, that he was mine. We would have such great adventure together. But what am I saying? We do have such great adventures together, but that bugger Kadrey creates them! I don’t want to share, I want Slim all to myself.

The third book in the series see Slim having to head down to Hell as his nemesis is having success building an army of hellions and plans to head up to Heaven to destroy it, and then destroy the rest of the world. Of course, there’s excommunicated priests, demons and gods, magic, fighting, betrayal, lies, and all manner of excitement to get in the way of things moving along smoothly.

Slim narrates with a unique voice that entertains with a brisk pace and style that you will find hard to match. The closest comparable voice stylistically would be Joe Lansdale’s East Texas drawl. But Kadrey goes further, where most are afraid to go. He seems unafraid to deal with difficult and controversial issues such as religion and faith, all the while having a wicked sense of humour, and one hellish, fetid darkness that sucks the reader in.

Like the very best fantasists, Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman at the top of their game, Kadrey creates a magnificent world that drips reality, characters that ooze personality, and plots that truly capture the imagination.

The third book in the series continues on the success of the previous two books. You must read the Sandman Slim novels. You MUST read one of them.

I hate Richard Kadrey, I want to be Richard Kadrey. I love Sandman Slim. I look forward to most adventures together.

Darkly brilliant.

Demented genius.


KILL THE DEAD By Richard Kadrey – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2013 by stanleyriiks

It’s not often that a book comes along that excites me. It’s not often that anything excites me. In fact, it’s a very rare occasion that anything wakes me from the tortured stupor that is my day to day life. I read almost constantly to escape the dull oblivion that is my pitiful existence.

And then a book like this comes along…

James Stark (demon fighter and part-Angel celebrity) is dragged into LA’s zombie while being Lucifer’s bodyguard. And that’s barely scraping the surface of this story, but I don’t want to ruin the surprises in store for you.

This is the second book in the Sandman Slim series, and if I haven’t read the first book then go read it. Go now. What are you waiting? Go, just go. No, don’t read any further, get it now! Right now I tell you!

You could probably pick this book up and struggle along to catch up, but don’t. The first book is a hell of a story (literally), and there’s far too much you’ll have missed out on if you start the series with book two. Although this is pretty much a stand-alone story, this is very much the second part of a series, and there’s a ton of background (and it’s really fun background!) that you’ll miss out on if you skip the first book. Do not skip the first book! DO NOT!

Stark is a serious piece of work, an alcoholic, chain-smoking, demon assassin, murderer, kick-ass detective; just the kind of dude Lucifer wants as a bodyguard. Our hellish anti-hero is a brilliantly humorous, angry young man, killing vampires and zombies with witty asides, and inventive techniques.

Kadrey has produced an LA dripping with monster filth, which works so well. This is a city bound-up with demons and hellions, drowning in Sub-Rosa (magical families), and is an antidote to those good folks in the Harry Potter novels. These magicians would cook up Harry and his pals for breakfast and then shit them out as zombies. This is hardcore witchcraft, terror and death.

This book is demented genius. Kadrey raised the bar for urban fantasy with Sandman Slim, and the expectations were high for the second book in the series. Not only does Kadrey gives us another exciting episode, but he continues to explore one of the most fascinating and engaging narrators/creatures in modern genre literature.

Sandman Slim is dead. Long live Sandman Slim!

THE OFFICE OF LOST AND FOUND By Vincent Holland-Keen – Reviewed

Posted in Morpheus Tales Magazine, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2011 by stanleyriiks

Published with the permission of Morpheus Tales. Soon to be featured in the MT Supplement.

It’s not often you pick up a book and think to yourself the writer is either insane or a genius within the first five pages. You see, this book is strange. I like strange, strange for me is pretty normal. I’ve been reading fantasy, sf and horror for twenty-odd years. Strange is my bread and butter. And yet, this novel is very, very strange.

It’s not often a book comes along that completely throws me, and to a certain extent that’s a good thing. The first bizarro fiction I read (Jeremy Shipp) made me think I’d been reading with my eyes closed; it made normal fantasy look meek and mild. It turned reality on its head, it messed with how you think and what you think. It’s disturbing in its lack of reality. And that’s what this book does too.

Within the first few pages we’re introduced to Locke, who’s in charge of the finding part of the Office of Lost and Found, and Veronica, who has killed her husband and needs to find him. When Locke refuses to help, Veronica shoots him in the head. Only then does Locke decide he’ll help Veronica find her dead husband.

This starts the first chapter, and things just get weirder and stranger as the book continues.

The first few chapters read like interwoven short stories, and Holland-Keen admits at the back of the book that the first chapter was written as such. This makes for an interesting experiment in novel writing. On some levels it works: the first chapter is immediate, quick, self-contained, but in others it doesn’t. It feels independent, there’s no continued theme or tension, the links between the stories are too slight to give it the impact or immersion of a novel.

The fact that one of the main characters dies and comes back to life with no explanation, and that there are so many things going on that are unexplained (you can understand Veronica’s frustration as Locke tells her once again that it “just is”), can sometimes make you want to throttle the writer. And sometimes what is explained doesn’t make any sense, but you have to go with the flow. The craziness is part of the attraction.

And the book does improve the further into it you get. The first two or three chapters have this short story feel to them as Locke, Veronica and Lafarge (in charge of the losing part of the Office) go around discovering all the lost things. All nice and fairly easy, despite the reality-warping of it all. Offices that move, doors that open to other realities, monsters that are real, nightmares that come alive… You may think you do, but you really have no idea. I read the book, and I’m still not sure I do!

The first part of the book takes up the majority of the nearly seven hundred pages, and it’s epic. End of the world scenarios, taking elements from all the previous stories, and beautifully weaving them into a madness of unending proportions. I doubt you have ever read anything like it, or will again. It’s a spectacular insanity, a brilliant non-sense, but perfectly in keeping with the rest of the book.

The failures of this book are clearly outweighed by the demented genius of Holland-Keen’s world. Be patient, be careful, and go with it. Let the madness flow over you and be absorbed by it, and you’ll enjoy your strange visit to the Office of Lost and Found.

The Morpheus Tales Supplement is available completely free of charge from their website: