Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey
Death comes for us all, young, old and everything in between. However, he usually doesn’t come hand on heart, trapped in undying flesh, asking for your assistance. Well in this case no heart at all, as someone has just stolen it. Who do you call when you just want to sleep that final sleep and make the world right once more, the Sandman.
Survivor, outcast and victor of more than a few battles between Heaven and Hell Stark is the one man Death knows can help him restore the natural order, allowing people to begin dying once more and work out who took his heart in the first place.
Stark and friends dig into a seedy LA world of Ghost trafficking, vampires and the re-emergence of an Occult Nazi sect. Cobbled together with having to get a real job and slowly integrating Candy's new face into his world, sometimes being dead will just kill you.
Welcome to the new and improved world of James Stark, aka Sandman Slim. Well, not really improved for Stark: he's still broke, he's still getting his ass handed to him and he's still in trouble with the Law, but he's trying, that counts for something right? The Getaway God concluded the previous story arc for Stark and now in Killing Pretty we get to see how the Sandman tries to rebuild his life without Hell, Heaven, Old Gods and revenge hanging over his head.
Killing Pretty is a pretty good addition to the Sandman Slim series and a nice reboot for the series. Stark is acting as a PI for Death, who thanks to some very bad people has been forced into human form minus a few small; some would say really important items, such as his memory of being Death and his heart - his actual heart. The result of which is that people all over the world are not dying.
Is this a perfect reboot? No. Is it still full of the Sandman Slim attitude, big guns, gratuitous violence and magic? Yes. While the action is not as in your face or as constant as it had been in the previous books, when it kicks in (pun intended) it still carries that angry at the world punch.
Stark at times is a little more introspective, taking a more mature approach to the problems he faces, both in his every day and magical life. We see the transition of Cro-Magnon, battle scared Stark to a more civilized (that's maybe a bit of a stretch) modern-man Stark, fighting it step by step.
Overall, the story is engaging, containing neo-Nazi cults, Death in human form, not so dead girlfriends with magical camouflage and ghost fight clubs, and you know what they say about Ghost Fight Club… The occult references are very detailed which keeps it very interesting and provides a real feel to the read.
Most stories follow the lines of a double peak story arc, a chart slowly rising to one reveal, providing a small climaxing before falling slightly to rise once more to a final apex and the conclusion. Killing Pretty is more along the line of many small peaks, before spiking that little bit higher to conclusion. I particularly enjoyed the final fight scenes (no, that’s not much of a spoiler so it’s ok) as they are classic Sandman Slim, raw with lots of energy.
Throw in some old friends, a few new faces, a nice new twist towards the end (you are going to be very happy with this little introduction as it has so many possibilities) and we are given the rebirth of the Sandman series, which will keep long time readers happy and should entice some new fans to start the series from the beginning.
Death is a nightmare, but you should try living with him. Always helps with the dishes, but you know his heart isn't in it.
If you are interested in reading more about Richard you can check out our interview with him here.
This Killing Pretty book review was written by Fergus McCartan
All reviews for: Sandman Slim series
Sandman Slim series #1
Life sucks and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth tha...
The Getaway God
Sandman Slim series #6
Being a half-human, half-angel nephilim with a bad rep and a worse attitude - not to mention temporarily playing Lucifer - James Stark aka Sandman Slim has made a few enemi...
Sandman Slim series #7
James Stark has met his share of demons and angels, on earth and beyond. Now, he's come face to face with the one entity few care to meet: Death. Someone has tried to k...
Have you read Killing Pretty?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Killing Pretty reader reviews
7/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Grimnoir Chronicles
Jake Sullivan is a war hero, a private eye—and an ex-con. He’s free because he has a magical talent, being able to alter the force of gravity in himself and obj...
Three Parts Dead
A god has died, and it's up to Tara, first-year associate in the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao, to bring Him back to life before His cit...
A storm is coming... Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longe...
Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly pr...
Rosemary and Rue
The world of Faerie never disappeared; it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival: but no secret can b...
Simon Burns is fired from his job without warning. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of stay-at-home dad for his three-year-old son but this pushes his already strained mar...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, a...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...