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CBR4 #41: Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Eleven years ago, James Stark's friends cast him into hell. Unfortunately for them, he's escaped. Now he's roaming the streets of Los Angeles--armed with supernatural weapons, hellion spells, and the skills picked up from spending more than a decade doing battle in hell's arena with the worst the underworld had to offer--looking for revenge on the people who cast him down and in particular the ones who killed the woman he loved.

With the help of an immortal alchemist, a literal talking head, a mysterious man who sells very mysterious things, an angry angel, an underground doctor, and a video store clerk, Stark discovers that he's not the only one with an axe to grind...and that the fate of the entire world may just hang in the balance with only him to save it.

I like this book a lot. It reads like a Jason Statham movie--blood, guts, action, magic, fights, and funny one-liners. I enjoyed all the characters, though some were not fleshed out as well as I'd like, since the focus was mostly on Stark and the story was told from his perspective. I was right with him, though, trying to figure out what was going on and predict his enemies' next moves, as well as figure out whether his friends could be trusted. Obviously, this is not high literature, but it was tremendously entertaining.

This is the first book in a series, and I can't WAIT to get my hands on the next one.

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