Novel Review – Kill The Dead by Richard Kadrey

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Awards

(for the author, not the “Sandman Slim” series”)

  • British SF Association Awards — for SF works published in the UK, voted by British SF Association members
  • “The First Man Not to Land on the Moon” (Back Brain Recluse #23 1997) — short fiction
  • Locus Awards — for SF/F/H works, polled by readers of Locus Magazine
    Dead Set (Harper Voyager) — fantasy novel — 25th place
  • Metrophage (Ace) — first novel — 3rd place Interzone Readers Poll — for stories published in Interzone magazine, polled by readers”Goodbye Houston Street, Goodbye” (Interzone #19 Spring 1987) — fiction — winner

“Let me make sure I have this straight. The cavalry just now rode into town and it’s a Czech Gypsy porn-star zombie killer. Have I got that right?”
― Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

About

 

From the publisher, “What do you do after you’ve crawled out of Hell to wreak bloody revenge? If you’re Stark you turn to bounty hunting, tracking and decimating whatever rogue monsters you’re paid to kill. Stark hates the work, but he needs the money, especially the big bucks Lucifer is offering. In town as an adviser on a biopic of his life, Lucifer needs protection, and he wants Stark as his bodyguard. But the gig isn’t all bad; there is the very sexy, very hot French porn star Brigitte Bardo, a friend of Lucifer’s in LA to remake her reputation as a legit actress. While it isn’t love, it’s pretty damn good, and after 11 years of demonic chastity, it’s enough for now.

Stark has enough trouble juggling a diva devil and a scorching French bombshell without a zombie plague to complicate matters. And just what happens when a human-angel half-breed is bitten by the living dead? His human side begins to die, transforming him into an unstoppable angel of death—a killing machine devoid of emotion or thought, with no regrets or future to worry about. Not a bad way to be when your choices are limited. Now, Stark has to decide . . . if he does find a cure for the zombie infection, will he take it?”

My Thoughts

“Hell is hilarious if you’re the one in charge.” ~ Lucifer

I absolutely love this series thus far. It was one of the books I wanted to finish reading by the end of the year via this list. 10 Books I Want to Read This Year.. And Why

My blog post from earlier this year, Kill the Dead” by Richard Kadrey –   I read the first “Sandman Slim” book, aptly named just “Sandman Slim” and dudddde, holy anti-hero batman. Yaas. Bring on the “I don’t give a shit attitude.” I love that the language in Sandman Slim is punchy. Not overly wordy and detailed.  I want some concisely written words.”

I received everything I asked for and more from reading #2 in the series. Sandman Slim should be on more lists and garner more praise. It should be up there with the likes of Dresden, and October Daye; it is just that damn good. It is so refreshing when there seems to be so much unoriginal urban fantasy out there. Always the same sort of schtick. Not this book…

“Twenty percent? What am I, your waiter? I got you five vampires, not a BLT.”
― Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

This story picks up a while after the first Sandman Slim story left off. We have our resident anti-hero having a hell of a time mentally, and in some ways physically while he tries to pay the bills by doing the odd killing or menacing here and there. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you enjoyed the first book in this series, “Sandman Slim” you will probably enjoy this one. They are a little different in style and texture. But, the dark humor and great story come through. There is a bit of a love interest, and a new interesting character getting fleshed out in Lucifer. I am going to keep this short, as this book is a pause in a longer story. But read the series. It is so worth it.

 

 

Review of “Year One” by Nora Roberts

 

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goodreads.com

I was very excited to read Year One by Nora Roberts. First off, I have read close to thirty of her books. For a while there I was plowing through them. She writes great characters and exciting plots. Especially her later work. I also have read pretty much all the post-apocalyptic books I can get my hands on. Except for “The Road” which I won’t touch with a ten-foot stick.

 

My first observation is a positive one. The entire novel rests on an interesting, if not a slightly trite premise. World plague that decimates human the population. The thrilling thing is that the epidemic is based on lore mythology and magic. The disease is itself named “Doom,” and is made of these dark energies escaping and infecting the world. I think. Nora Roberts was a little fuzzy on it. In response to these increasing darkness and sickness infecting, a reaction in people with any spiritual and/or magical is that the latent power these people had increased exponentially. Another point I’m fuzzy on. Otherwords, some people get big woo-woo, others not so much. No idea what it is based on or why. Some people get nothing at all and remain human. Also no clue. It just is. Plot points like these that lay the foundation in novels, in my opinion, need to be rock solid. Otherwise, niggling questions remain and throw the reader’s mind out of the story.

The second observation is also a positive one. Nora Roberts knows how to write good dialog. It may be a little schmaltzy, but it flows like people talk. The dialog was well written. I may not have liked what the characters were saying, but she is damn good at writing it.

Character-wise, it is just damn confusing. She has some well-written ones in there that are fleshed out, and some that are flat as a board (I am looking at you Eric and Allegra) and you scratch your head wondering what the hell. Why are the ones that are vapid come from out of nowhere and give so much page time? Also, the pacing and plot arcs are jarring as hell. I have never read a novel that jarred me like a car accident from one vignette to another.

Lastly the third act of the story. I am going to speak in broad terms so as not to do any spoilers, but I spent 75 pages scratching my head. It was all so bland and wrapped up in a neat little bow. I didn’t give a damn about the characters at the end. The ones that I really liked and thought were interesting got unceremoniously excised from the last act of the novel which was a weird pacing and story arc thing to do. Maybe I was just slightly miffed at that. Where are my Arlys, Fred and Jonah? She should have at least nodded her head at them and told us a little of what was going on.

I want to be very clear here. This isn’t a crap book. Nora Roberts is a master storyteller, but this isn’t her best work. That’s ok not everything is going to be a shining star. It is a serviceable book with highs and lows and is very readable. I will read the next book in the series to see what happens. If I had to give it a rating, I’d rate it 3 out of 5.

ARC – Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega #5) by Patricia Briggs

I received this as an advanced copy from Netgalley.com for an honest review.

 

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Image courtesy of goodreads

When I first started reading this novel I felt pretty strongly that the story could have stood a trim and be better served as a novella. The plot felt too small and specific to carry an entire novel. This may be because I haven’t read books 2, 3, and 4 of the series and I am not as familiar with the characters as some. However, Patricia Briggs is, in general, a fantastic writer. I am a rabid fan of the Mercy books and pretty much anything she writes in that world. I didn’t think it would be a problem coming into the novel a little out of sequence, and it wasn’t. This is how I felt for the first 100 pages or so. It slogged a bit and the characters and setup just didn’t gel. Why is this plot important? Why do I care? What is the mystery that is trying to be solved? None of these questions came to much of a head till about 250 pages into the story. It is worth the wait. The climax of the story is absolutely worth the wait. But, I just don’t think this is one of her best books. It is heads above most writers out there, but all in all, it felt to slow for her normal pacing.