Kill the Dead  - Richard Kadrey

You know how you can overlook a really good friend's faults? Moreover, how those faults kinda become the things you cherish most about him or her? For me, that's exactly why I love James Stark/Sandman Slim. This character is so broken and disjointed. He's unpredictable, but not in the sense that he's chaotic, but in that I believe Richard Kadrey had no idea (even in book two) who or what he wanted Stark to be. The end of this book is proof that Stark could turn out to be anything (aside from a nazi robot zombie vampire, of course), and I'd still have a sizable man-crush on him. 


I hate everything about a synopsis: writing one, reading one. I tend to skip them because they're nothing more than spoilers disguised as information. So, going into KILL THE DEAD, I had no idea what I was in store for. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself surrounded by the walking dead. 


Kadrey did everything right in this second volume of the Sandman Slim story line. I have only ever once given a sequel/continuation anything more than four stars, and that was Koontz's ODD INTERLUDE serial, which was (in my opinion) better than the first book in the series. To say the least, I was shocked that I loved KILL THE DEAD as much as I did SANDMAN SLIM. I couldn't see how Kadrey was going to keep up the epicosity, but he pulled it off. From the first paragraph on, I was entertained. With me, that's rare. Usually I find something about a book to complain about, but this time around I couldn't help but gush over every page, even the plot holes were like a birthmark on a lover's face. It's something you accept because the whole is worth loving... See, told you I had a raging boner for this series.


All right, enough maudlin bullshit, let's get down to business. Will you like this as much as me? Who knows? I sure can't say. I'll be completely honest with you, though: I'm biased as fuck. Keep that in mind if you read KILL THE DEAD. 




In a status update here on Booklikes, I mentioned how this book had become oddly Matrix-esque. Funny thing is, that was before the bullet-time scene wherein Stark ravages a swat team by using his angel vision (which is not unlike Neo seeing the Matrix in code form). Then you have Stark falling for porn star/zombie-carver, Brigette, who's a badass on par with Trinity, and their quick, albeit doomed, love affair. I don't know if Kadrey was purposefully channeling the Wachowski brothers (now brother and sister; good for you Larry/Lana), but it sure as hell felt like a tribute. 




If nothing else, go into KILL THE DEAD expecting witty sarcasm and laugh-out-loud commentary. Stark is nothing if he's not funny. And vulgar. Did I mention how vulgar he is? You need to be a little sick and twisted to enjoy Kadrey's work, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


In summation, I dug the hell out of this book, and will likely love every sequel that comes after it. There's something about Stark that gels with me: be it his attitude, his sense of humor, or the fact that he's everything a boy like me looks for in a hero. I'm starting to understand why people like Harry Potter...