Kill City Blues is the latest in Richard Kadrey's amazing hard-boiled supernatural thriller series Sandman Slim. I've been a Kadrey fan since his landmark debut novel Metrophage, and have read and enjoyed all his work since, but Sandman Slim are the novels Kadrey was born to write.
Sandman Slim is a "Sub Rosa," part of the hidden world of magical people and beings who live beneath our noses. A precocious and gifted magician, he inspired jealousy in his coven, who conspired to send him to Hell while he was still alive. He was a novelty in the Underworld, and was sent to fight in a gladitorial pit, and eventually trained to be an assassin. After a daring escape from Hell, he returned to Los Angeles to reap a horrific revenge on the former friends who'd doomed him.
That was several books ago. Now, in book five, Sandman Slim has been around the block a few times, experienced several dramatic turns in his life, fought off zombies and vampires and creatures from beyond the universe, discovered the true identity of God and Lucifer, and stumbled upon the universe's impending unwinding.
Kill City Blues is the story of that impending universal destruction, and it revolves around the hunt for an artifact that may be our plane's only defense against the elder gods who are seeking to break in and reclaim the reality that was stolen from them. And of course, Sandman Slim isn't the only one hunting for it. His quest leads him — and his competitors — to Kill City, a dead Santa Monica megamall where the roof caved in and killed hundreds. Now it is haunted, and squatted by feral sub-rosa and "lurkers" and worse things. The quest through Kill City's demon-haunted, blood-drenched halls and towers and deeps is one of the great horror setups of all time, and delves into situations that would turn Clive Barker's stomach, the likes of which haven't been seen since the heyday of splatterpunk.
If there's one thing Kill City Blues demonstrates, it's that Kadrey's still got a ton of material for Sandman Slim. I can't wait to read it all.