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King Bullet

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The incredible finale of the page-turning, high-octane Sandman Slim series filled with an explosive ending and intense kick-ass action from New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey. It’s been three months since Stark stopped a death cult and a potential ghost apocalypse, and he’s at loose ends. His personal life is a mess. His professional life isn’t much better. An The incredible finale of the page-turning, high-octane Sandman Slim series filled with an explosive ending and intense kick-ass action from New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey. It’s been three months since Stark stopped a death cult and a potential ghost apocalypse, and he’s at loose ends. His personal life is a mess. His professional life isn’t much better. And the world…well, the world is going to shit. L.A. is gripped by a viral epidemic that has everyone wearing masks and keeping their distance from each other. But what’s even more frightening is the Shoggot gang and their leader, King Bullet, who revels in the city’s collapse. Who is King Bullet? No one knows. He seemingly came from nowhere with nothing but a taste for mayhem and an army of crazed killers who follow his every command. What king wants seems simple on it face: Chaos. Destruction. A city in flames. But there’s more to the king and his plans for L.A. and what Stark discovers will change Heaven, Earth, and Stark himself forever.


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The incredible finale of the page-turning, high-octane Sandman Slim series filled with an explosive ending and intense kick-ass action from New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey. It’s been three months since Stark stopped a death cult and a potential ghost apocalypse, and he’s at loose ends. His personal life is a mess. His professional life isn’t much better. An The incredible finale of the page-turning, high-octane Sandman Slim series filled with an explosive ending and intense kick-ass action from New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey. It’s been three months since Stark stopped a death cult and a potential ghost apocalypse, and he’s at loose ends. His personal life is a mess. His professional life isn’t much better. And the world…well, the world is going to shit. L.A. is gripped by a viral epidemic that has everyone wearing masks and keeping their distance from each other. But what’s even more frightening is the Shoggot gang and their leader, King Bullet, who revels in the city’s collapse. Who is King Bullet? No one knows. He seemingly came from nowhere with nothing but a taste for mayhem and an army of crazed killers who follow his every command. What king wants seems simple on it face: Chaos. Destruction. A city in flames. But there’s more to the king and his plans for L.A. and what Stark discovers will change Heaven, Earth, and Stark himself forever.

30 review for King Bullet

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Brooks

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If I were forced to sum up the final Sandman Slim novel, “King Bullet,” in one word (okay, two) it would be “contractually obligated.” I get it. After 12 books, maybe that well has dried up or venturing back into the gritty LA of Stark and gang might feel depressing (esp. given the current state of the world.) But I felt like Stark deserved a better send-off. The pacing was breakneck and it felt like being dropped into a movie where I’d missed the first 15 minutes. This book felt rushed from the f If I were forced to sum up the final Sandman Slim novel, “King Bullet,” in one word (okay, two) it would be “contractually obligated.” I get it. After 12 books, maybe that well has dried up or venturing back into the gritty LA of Stark and gang might feel depressing (esp. given the current state of the world.) But I felt like Stark deserved a better send-off. The pacing was breakneck and it felt like being dropped into a movie where I’d missed the first 15 minutes. This book felt rushed from the first page as if Kadrey just wanted to get it finished so he could get back to writing something else. Threads were left dangling and the penultimate scenes were perfunctory at best. I genuinely felt like the author had a checklist of all the characters he needed to work into the book so we could say goodbye but that they were added on a stream-of-consciousness basis. I was bummed that we didn’t get to see Father Thomas again. He was one of my favorite characters. And then he crammed them all into a single cramped and uncomfortable apartment which honestly felt like a metaphor for the whole book. By the end, I was starting to think Stark’s apartment must have resembled a clown car full of misfits and cast-offs. I mean after he dies, we get a one-sentence description of what’s going on with his Scooby gang for whom he just gave up his life. He was so worried about saving them, he went through both literal and figurative hell on their behalf but when he goes back to see how they are, he barely cares. These are people he’s died for more than once and as a reader I personally was invested in their fates enough that I wanted more detail and *I* didn’t die for them. You’d think Stark was a little more invested than me. I hope that was done intentionally to show that Stark is letting go of his earthly worries but after “protecting his friends” was hammered into us as one of his only consistent character traits, but it was jarring to see him basically just say “peace out” and give zero fucks about them afterwords. Is this a device to draw parallels between himself and Mr Muninn being an absent god once he got to heaven? I don’t know, but it’s a big change for the character. It’d be one thing if he was made to seem fully at peace in heaven. But he still jokes about leaving. And if there’s one thing we know about how the world works in the series, it’s not like he couldn’t have a more active role in observing his friends once he arrived, so what gives? Candy has the key now. Can’t she visit? Noir always has the protagonist get the shit knocked out of him. And throughout this journey poor James Stark has been absolutely put through the cosmic wringer. But holy shit, this book felt like Kadrey had grown to hate Sandman Slim on a personal and visceral level. The things he does to his “hero” in this book feel unnecessarily cruel. The painful mental flagellation Stark feels as he begins to realize how no matter how much he tries to protect his friends, he’s the common denominator in their being in danger, and his reflection on his feelings for Candy juxtaposed with his feelings for Jane (a character I came to loathe by the end of the book--through no fault of their own) are ultimately unsatisfying. It’s like Kadrey finally lets him grow as a character just to kill him. Where was this introspective Stark in books 1-11? But the mental toll on Stark is nothing compared to what Kadrey does to him physically in this book. The Kissi arm is like a walk in the park compared to this one. The scarification and mutilation he undergoes to prep for the final battle felt to me like an expression of hatred for the character. I get that he’s martyring himself for his friends but goodness it felt so cruel. I kept imagining someone taking a pen and just angrily scribbling over a picture until the original image is totally destroyed and unrecognizable. It just felt spiteful to me. Like Kadrey had to destroy him on every level to let him go to heaven. I also didn’t really understand the final battle between him and King Bullet. What happened to King Bullet after Stark tricked him? If he’s also a hybrid, wouldn’t King Bullet wind up in heaven too? As a finale it certainly felt “final” but read more like a novella written because an editor asked for one last book to close out the series rather than a fully developed story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David Simon

    It’s been 12 years, and as many books, and now we’ve come to this—King Bullet, the final novel in Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim saga. I approached this with excitement, because hey, it’s a new Sandman Slim novel, but also trepidation and a tinge of sadness, because hey, it’s the last Sandman Slim novel. Bittersweet mixed emotions, I guess I’m saying. If like me you’ve been along for the ride from the very beginning, and a lot of you have, then you’ll be happy to know that the whole gang’s here fo It’s been 12 years, and as many books, and now we’ve come to this—King Bullet, the final novel in Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim saga. I approached this with excitement, because hey, it’s a new Sandman Slim novel, but also trepidation and a tinge of sadness, because hey, it’s the last Sandman Slim novel. Bittersweet mixed emotions, I guess I’m saying. If like me you’ve been along for the ride from the very beginning, and a lot of you have, then you’ll be happy to know that the whole gang’s here for this one. Stark of course, but also Candy, Alessa, Janet, Fuck Hollywood, Kasabian, Allegra, Carlos, Brigitte, Samael and Mr. Muninn. Even Mustang Sally and Flicker are there to lend a helping hand. Old friends who are no longer alive, particularly Alice and Vidocq, are very much missed. Kadrey excels at creating characters who feel real, whether human or not. Like every novel in the series, the plot of King Bullet moves like a freight train. L.A. is on fire, on the verge of collapsing, consumed by an epidemic turning the locals to raving maniacs and worse (I now know what the word autophagia means. Kinda wish I didn’t.). People are afraid to go out, and masked up when they do. Sound familiar? On top of that, there’s a new gang in town reeking havoc, the Shoggots, and their leader, the mysterious King Bullet, may be more than Stark can handle. Naturally, though, the odds don’t matter when Stark’s friends, and his city, are threatened, so he dives head first into the chaos, na’at and black blade in hand. Kadrey’s villains are always over the top, and King Bullet is one of his best, a nihilistic, supernatural killer with a score to settle with Stark. There’s wall to wall action here, but Kadrey also gives the novel room to breathe, allowing Stark moments of much needed introspection. Caught between his new love for Janet and his still smoldering love for Candy, Stark is at a crossroads. He spends much of the novel surrounded by his friends, but in many ways he’s never been more alone. King Bullet and the epidemic would almost be a welcome distraction if only they weren’t threatening everything he cares about in the world. After reading the last Sandman Slim novel, Ballistic Kiss, my son and I made a bet about where Stark and another character would be at the end of the series. I’m not saying what the two of us thought, but I am saying that I now owe him $20. King Bullet releases on August 17, 2021. If you’re already a fan, you know the drill…pre-order it now. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, time to get reading. You have some catching up to do.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Kiger

    LOVE this series but this last book and the previous one were just okay. Did not care for Janet's character, so whiny and it made no sense in the context of the story. Also the stroyline was thin and really dragged in parts. I miss Jimmy being super kick butt and hardcore. He has become depressed and angsty and it is very annoying. LOVE this series but this last book and the previous one were just okay. Did not care for Janet's character, so whiny and it made no sense in the context of the story. Also the stroyline was thin and really dragged in parts. I miss Jimmy being super kick butt and hardcore. He has become depressed and angsty and it is very annoying.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Didi Chanoch

    Is there much point in reviewing the final book in a 12 book series? To my mind, at this point, there's only one relevant question: Does the author stick the landing? The answer, dear readers, is yes. He most definitely does. Is there much point in reviewing the final book in a 12 book series? To my mind, at this point, there's only one relevant question: Does the author stick the landing? The answer, dear readers, is yes. He most definitely does.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justin Brightbill

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. so, it’s probably a good thing this is all done and over with. this one was just a painful read to get through. the best part was Stark doing a heist with the devil. that actually had me giggling a bit. (hence the second star) unfortunately, other than that it was more of the same. lots of self pity and angst. the whole “bwah haha i was your half brother this whole time!” goes to show there just wasn’t any more tricks to pull out of the bag. i feel there was a huge lack of impact seeing as how we so, it’s probably a good thing this is all done and over with. this one was just a painful read to get through. the best part was Stark doing a heist with the devil. that actually had me giggling a bit. (hence the second star) unfortunately, other than that it was more of the same. lots of self pity and angst. the whole “bwah haha i was your half brother this whole time!” goes to show there just wasn’t any more tricks to pull out of the bag. i feel there was a huge lack of impact seeing as how we never got any time with Uriel besides his guise as the Doc. There was no time in which Stark and him got to sit down and hash shit out. Then we get this douche out of nowhere causing a plague (which was an attempt to work in real world shenanigans) just because he shares a dad with the MC who was also abandoned by him. Felt like something more deserving of the Young and the Restless. Anyways, it’s over and i’m hoping Stark stays dead this time. I loved the series a lot and it’s one of my favorites but sometimes you just need to be able to Old Yeller something when it reaches its end. To me it felt like that was a couple books ago. Looking forward to what comes next. Loved Dead Set and enjoyed most of his other books. I’ll definitely continue to be a fan of Kadrey.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    · Book 1: Sandman Slim ★★★★★ · Book 2: Kill the Dead ★★★★★ · Book 3: Aloha from Hell ★★★★ · Book 3.5: Devil in the Dollhouse ★★★★★ · Book 4: Devil Said Bang ★★★★ · Book 5: Kill City Blues ★★★★ · Book 6: The Getaway God ★★★★★ · Book 7: Killing Pretty ★★★★ · Book 9: The Kill Society ★★★★★ · Book 10: Hollywood Dead ★★★★★ · Book 11: Ballistic Kiss ★★★★ · Book 1: Sandman Slim ★★★★★ · Book 2: Kill the Dead ★★★★★ · Book 3: Aloha from Hell ★★★★ · Book 3.5: Devil in the Dollhouse ★★★★★ · Book 4: Devil Said Bang ★★★★ · Book 5: Kill City Blues ★★★★ · Book 6: The Getaway God ★★★★★ · Book 7: Killing Pretty ★★★★ · Book 9: The Kill Society ★★★★★ · Book 10: Hollywood Dead ★★★★★ · Book 11: Ballistic Kiss ★★★★

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rana

    Okay. I've come to the conclusion and it's a bit of an odd conclusion given the subject matter and downright goriness of these stories. But yeah, Sandman Slim is a comfort read to me. I've read pieces of this 12-book series two and three times and the world that is built is only surpassed by the depth of the character building that Kadrey has done. Even odder is that in my heart, I feel that this series actually has quite a bit in common with Becky Chambers. While Chambers is soft and slow and K Okay. I've come to the conclusion and it's a bit of an odd conclusion given the subject matter and downright goriness of these stories. But yeah, Sandman Slim is a comfort read to me. I've read pieces of this 12-book series two and three times and the world that is built is only surpassed by the depth of the character building that Kadrey has done. Even odder is that in my heart, I feel that this series actually has quite a bit in common with Becky Chambers. While Chambers is soft and slow and Kadrey is hard and fast, both at their core are about found family and how beautifully wonderful and different people are. There is a deep respect in both these books for giving people the space to be who they are and acceptance. It is tough to let Jimmy go but it won't be the last time I read this series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dawnsy

    I wanted to love it after my Perfect Man went on PTSD pills in last book; did not fight for Candy just rolled over and gave her away. I was disappointed with last book I didn't write a review. I wanted him to, "Snap out of it." I wanted Samhail to find our Intrepid Sandman Slim and bring him back wherever Allegra buried him in his head with her liberal views. I wanted Candy to pound some sense into him. I wanted him to wake the F Up. It got worse. Someone has to kill the monsters. Instead, I get I wanted to love it after my Perfect Man went on PTSD pills in last book; did not fight for Candy just rolled over and gave her away. I was disappointed with last book I didn't write a review. I wanted him to, "Snap out of it." I wanted Samhail to find our Intrepid Sandman Slim and bring him back wherever Allegra buried him in his head with her liberal views. I wanted Candy to pound some sense into him. I wanted him to wake the F Up. It got worse. Someone has to kill the monsters. Instead, I get him mutilating himself, kneeling and baring his neck? To a Keesie? I'd rather him alone then with a whiny crybaby like useless Janet. I just dont get it. What happened? Why? Why send our hero out like this? Does every hero have to become a politically correct bundle of feelings taking all the blame for the ills of the world and full of regrets? John Wayne stayed John Wayne. How many times has Stark saved the world? Opened Heaven? But no. This is what I am left with. Just ugh. I know its an unpopular opinion but its mine. I seriously wish I'd never listened to the last two books. Just awful. I'm losing faith in today's writers that just seem to keep doing this as of late. Signed, One Unhappy S. Slim Fan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Groucho42

    Yeah, he's finally given up. The last few showed the author was burned out, but he wanted to wrap things up. This one is both over the top and truly pedestrian, an impressive skill. Crazies are somehow completely overpowering LA and only the burnout Sandman can save things yet again. Still trying to be woke, the author used the idiotic "they" rather than "ze" for Janet, and isn't even consistent about it. All the other characters make appearances because they're supposed to. The villain is just Yeah, he's finally given up. The last few showed the author was burned out, but he wanted to wrap things up. This one is both over the top and truly pedestrian, an impressive skill. Crazies are somehow completely overpowering LA and only the burnout Sandman can save things yet again. Still trying to be woke, the author used the idiotic "they" rather than "ze" for Janet, and isn't even consistent about it. All the other characters make appearances because they're supposed to. The villain is just a petulant idiot. I read the conclusion because I had to, kind of like why he wrote this terrible book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emmalita

    King Bullet, the last book in the Sandman Slim series, is a pandemic baby, and you know it. It is steeped in isolation, anxiety, and the futile desire for simple answers in the face of complex problems. And it’s James Stark, so there’s violence, mayhem, hidden Hollywood, and heavenly hosts. James Stark was sent to hell alive by his magician friends who were jealous of his powers. While there, he became Sandman Slim, the monster who kills monsters. Stark escaped from Hell to wreak vengeance on the King Bullet, the last book in the Sandman Slim series, is a pandemic baby, and you know it. It is steeped in isolation, anxiety, and the futile desire for simple answers in the face of complex problems. And it’s James Stark, so there’s violence, mayhem, hidden Hollywood, and heavenly hosts. James Stark was sent to hell alive by his magician friends who were jealous of his powers. While there, he became Sandman Slim, the monster who kills monsters. Stark escaped from Hell to wreak vengeance on the magicians that sent him there, and caused the death of the girlfriend he left behind. Since then he’s almost destroyed the universe, but chose not to, become friendly-ish with one of the aspects of God, become Lucifer, quit being Lucifer, pissed off a lot of angels, died, come back to life, taken down a lot of really bad people, opened the gates of heaven to every soul, found the love of his life and lost her. He’s moved on from being the monster who kills monsters and has quit being anyone’s attack dog. But growth is hard because there will always be people who don’t want you to change. The Sandman Slim series is at it’s best when Stark is in Los Angeles. Now Los Angeles is falling apart, the garbage is piling up, and the city is in danger of being over run by a madman and his gangs of henchmen. King Bullet knows who Sandman Slim is and wants to burn down everything Stark has ever loved. Stark wants to protect his people and his places, figure out his relationship with Janet, and find some peace. After forcing the machinery of the Universe to play fair, what antagonist could be worthy of Stark’s last outing? Kadrey goes Shakespearean. King Bullet gives a nice Saint Crispen’s Day speech. “We few, we happy few, we band of horrors. For they today who shed their blood with me shall be my brothers, my sisters, my blessed beasts. Now. Go forth and make creation weep.” King Bullet is the loneliest Stark has ever seemed. For all that he is surrounded by his friends, he is so aware of the impact that he has on the people around him. For the whole series, people have been telling Stark that what he does impacts others, and he has changed and evolved, sometimes reluctantly, and become someone who cares about the welfare of others, not just the people he loves. King Bullet weaponizes that care and punishes Stark with his own evolution. Now that I’ve finished the series, I’ll be going back to the beginning and reading it all again. And when the audiobook is released, I’ll buy that and let MacLeod Andrews narrate Sandman Slim’s final chapter. Kadrey kind of maybe leaves the door open for more Stark. I received this as an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristoffer Furacão Pereira

    It made very little sense as a storyline. The logic was wafer thin during most of it, and just uninteresting when it wasn't. Lack lustre as a book, even worse as a series ending. Its been a steady decline to a solid start, RIP James Stark. Please stay dead. It made very little sense as a storyline. The logic was wafer thin during most of it, and just uninteresting when it wasn't. Lack lustre as a book, even worse as a series ending. Its been a steady decline to a solid start, RIP James Stark. Please stay dead.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Psycho

    A fun read, but not Kadrey's best: skips at breakneck (and ribs, and legs, and spine) pace through mostly predictable plot points with glee, but not a lot of gravitas. Whilst I enjoyed all the usual fun things of a Sandman Slim book - the snarky wit, the pop culture, the violence and crazy shit happening - none of it felt like it had much weight. The antagonist, the final big bad of the show, the titular King Bullet, never felt like much of a plausible threat - other than because that's how other A fun read, but not Kadrey's best: skips at breakneck (and ribs, and legs, and spine) pace through mostly predictable plot points with glee, but not a lot of gravitas. Whilst I enjoyed all the usual fun things of a Sandman Slim book - the snarky wit, the pop culture, the violence and crazy shit happening - none of it felt like it had much weight. The antagonist, the final big bad of the show, the titular King Bullet, never felt like much of a plausible threat - other than because that's how other characters were written to react to him. There was no build up, no slow reveal, and this meant very little real tension. Even Stark just seemed to be going through his paces. It is impossible not to delight in the carnival of carnage and brutality that Kadrey can conjure when he needs to, and this book definitely delivers on that note. There's also some top-tier character moments and it's a little heartwarming to see some of them making amends and coming together again at the end of the road. For any faults and shortcomings that I personally felt shone through, I still read the whole thing in two sittings, in a single day, and enjoyed it all - it just doesn't measure up to some of the highlights in this series. Perhaps Kadrey was just somewhat bored and sick of writing these books, which is why it felt a little rushed out of the door? Perhaps the chaos that started the third decade of the 21st century had an impact on the novel, beyond the prevalent inclusion of a mandate of mask-wearing in the wake of a dreadful epidemic. Whatever the reason, I can't help but feel a little sad that Stark's final entry didn't have the bang and flash that I feel he deserves. But then, I do wonder where exactly he could have gone and what he would have done that would feel appropriate, given that he's died, more than once, been to heaven and hell, killed angels, beaten gods, and everything in between. But, if you're reading this far, then there's no reason not to read the 12th book in a series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hans

    So, here it is, this is the grand finale of the Sandmal Slim series and I have to say, it's quite a fitting one. It's not easy to write a good ending to such a long running series, especially considering there were several moments along the way where Kadrey could have comfortably called it a day but then decided to write another book and start another story arc. Anyway, I don't want to go into too much detail, but I for one am satisfied with the conlusion to the series. It's fast paced, it has th So, here it is, this is the grand finale of the Sandmal Slim series and I have to say, it's quite a fitting one. It's not easy to write a good ending to such a long running series, especially considering there were several moments along the way where Kadrey could have comfortably called it a day but then decided to write another book and start another story arc. Anyway, I don't want to go into too much detail, but I for one am satisfied with the conlusion to the series. It's fast paced, it has the usual Sandman Slim action, carnage and bloody humor, but there is also personal growth. We get to meet almost all the important characters for one last time and all the plot lines are wrapped up neatly without it feeling somehow forced or shoehorned. Admittedly, King Bullet as the final villain isn't that great and basically just there to give Stark a nut he can't crack that easily. The pandemic is a nice touch and though it's a much crazier one than Covid, I guess we can all relate to the everyday troubles it brings along. I also like how Kadrey makes a lot of references to classic as well as contemporary movies, music and so on but doesn't go overboard. Anyway, as I said, this is a bittersweet but overall satisfying conclusion to the series. It's good to know that a return at some point in the future isn't completely off the table, but if this is indeed the last time we meet Sandman Slim and his crew, it's a fitting farewell.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    Sad to see this series come to an end. The final installment was every bit as over-the-top and entertaining as I've come to expect, even if the premise seemed to come a bit out of left field. It was a solid end to a really fun series. Sad to see this series come to an end. The final installment was every bit as over-the-top and entertaining as I've come to expect, even if the premise seemed to come a bit out of left field. It was a solid end to a really fun series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Moros

    What just happened? So I'm disappointed by the end of this book for so many reasons. I called out tha end in the first chapter and what was going to happen writing wise as well. Felt like the rug was ripped from under me with a closed sign thrown out to make me go home. This is a sad ending for a 11 book series and I feel the author just wanted to be done and that current climate of social and political issues oozed in with heaps of pessimism. Characters were more like stick puppets than ever and What just happened? So I'm disappointed by the end of this book for so many reasons. I called out tha end in the first chapter and what was going to happen writing wise as well. Felt like the rug was ripped from under me with a closed sign thrown out to make me go home. This is a sad ending for a 11 book series and I feel the author just wanted to be done and that current climate of social and political issues oozed in with heaps of pessimism. Characters were more like stick puppets than ever and this is the worse book of the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I got to read an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Our series finale begins with a pandemic of unknown origin raging through Los Angeles, causing total chaos, garbage build up, out of control gangs, and the terror that your friends will kill you by breathing on you (Stark has to be reminded so many times to wear his mask!). Sound familiar? Even the Sub Rosa aren't safe from this plague. So what is our floundering Sandman Slim supposed to do amidst all this un I got to read an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Our series finale begins with a pandemic of unknown origin raging through Los Angeles, causing total chaos, garbage build up, out of control gangs, and the terror that your friends will kill you by breathing on you (Stark has to be reminded so many times to wear his mask!). Sound familiar? Even the Sub Rosa aren't safe from this plague. So what is our floundering Sandman Slim supposed to do amidst all this uncertainty? Why, find someone to fight, of course! King Bullet, the big bad, is controlling all the gang violence, and seems unstoppable. Abbott hires Stark to take him down, but Stark has suspicions about Abbott's motives. KB seems to have it out for Stark personally, and does his best to make it personal to Jimmy dear as well. The whole crew gets together, giving Stark lots of time to pine for Candy, and consider the many other women in his life. Overall, this final installment was as exciting as every other Sandman Slim book and was exactly what we've come to expect. To that end... it just felt like another installment. I would want the big bad in the series finale to be an extra special villain, someone who's identity has meaning and emotional ties to our hero, and I don't think King Bullet fit that bill. Stark was clearly still trying to overcome his past experiences and be a better person, mentioning his PTSD pills several times, but we never really got the chance to see if he was making progress or not. Other than that, the ending was very satisfying, our chance to bon voyage all the major characters was fulfilled, and I had a lot of fun reading it. Best of all, Kadrey left a little wiggle room for a continuation at some point if he so desires!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brad Rowan

    This was received as an ARC from Netgalley. After 12 books, not a single one felt unnecessary. Sandman Slim, Stark, James, Jimmy gave us one hell of a ride. He saved the earth, heaven, and hell countless times and caused mayhem the entire way. This book, like all the others had its own feel that pulls you into the world that Sandman Slim protects and endangers at the same time. For the 12th and final book of the series it gave me everything I wanted from it. A compelling story, a struggle agains This was received as an ARC from Netgalley. After 12 books, not a single one felt unnecessary. Sandman Slim, Stark, James, Jimmy gave us one hell of a ride. He saved the earth, heaven, and hell countless times and caused mayhem the entire way. This book, like all the others had its own feel that pulls you into the world that Sandman Slim protects and endangers at the same time. For the 12th and final book of the series it gave me everything I wanted from it. A compelling story, a struggle against otherworldly odds, and and well written ending. It is with great sadness that this series is brought to an end, but we will never forget the tales of Sandman Slim.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amy Braun

    Wow. Talk about a wild ending. The SANDMAN SLIM series has always been dark, gritty, and unforgiving, but Kadrey stepped up his game for this one. Frighteningly realistic based on the 2020-2021 world, the story took everyone's favorite, fast-talking bad boy for one last glorious ride. It was bonkers from start to finish. Stark remains himself, but truly went through his final development and was forced to face all the things he had done. He had to go to some serious extremes, all while trying to Wow. Talk about a wild ending. The SANDMAN SLIM series has always been dark, gritty, and unforgiving, but Kadrey stepped up his game for this one. Frighteningly realistic based on the 2020-2021 world, the story took everyone's favorite, fast-talking bad boy for one last glorious ride. It was bonkers from start to finish. Stark remains himself, but truly went through his final development and was forced to face all the things he had done. He had to go to some serious extremes, all while trying to keep his personal life in check. It was no easy feat, with literal cannibals at his door, but I kept rooting for him. I will say that this book isn't just dark--it's a gorefest. Seriously, there were some truly cringey and terrifying moments in this one. Kadrey has never shied away from describing bloodshed, but it's even more realistic here. The writing is top-notch and stark as always. Kadrey doesn't write like any other author I know, and was happy to be immersed in his prose for this final showdown. I think I would have wanted the villain reveal to happen a little earlier, but Kadrey made sure that all of our favorites were visited this one last time. Am I going to miss this series? Of course. But I also think it ended on a really strong note and leaves the characters in the places they're meant to be. This is one of my favorite dark urban fantasy series' and I recommend it to anyone who loves stories with high body counts and higher levels of mayhem.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shawna

    Great last book to a series I highly enjoyed reading.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    That was more than I was expecting and better than I was hoping.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tj

    Bummed to see a great series end, but glad to see it go out on a high note. A fitting end to Stark and his story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rwader

    Never ever will I get tired of tales about Sandman Slim.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zack Hutton

    This was a great ending to a great Series. I will miss the series as a whole, and look forward to reading it again in the future.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ralph

    Classic James Stark, going back to his roots and kicking ass. Sad it is over, glad I found this series. This is my fastest finish of a book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    CynnieRose

    I will forever be a Sandman Slim fan. I think and daydream about Mr. Kadrey's universe and world building a lot. The way the pandemic is woven into the story makes this my favorite *this is how the world is* read. I am sorry to say goodbye to the series but what a great ending. I will forever be a Sandman Slim fan. I think and daydream about Mr. Kadrey's universe and world building a lot. The way the pandemic is woven into the story makes this my favorite *this is how the world is* read. I am sorry to say goodbye to the series but what a great ending.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    Series Info/Source: This is the 12th and final book in the Sandman Slim series. I got an eGalley of this book from NetGalley for review. Story (4/5): It’s been three months since the last book and LA has plunged into a sort of apocalyptic chaos as a viral epidemic takes hold on the city. Stark gets involved when the Shoggot gang gets out of hand; they are being led by a new baddie named King Bullet who is trying to tear apart reality. This story was exciting and fast-paced just like most of the S Series Info/Source: This is the 12th and final book in the Sandman Slim series. I got an eGalley of this book from NetGalley for review. Story (4/5): It’s been three months since the last book and LA has plunged into a sort of apocalyptic chaos as a viral epidemic takes hold on the city. Stark gets involved when the Shoggot gang gets out of hand; they are being led by a new baddie named King Bullet who is trying to tear apart reality. This story was exciting and fast-paced just like most of the Sandman Slim novels have been. The whole viral pandemic may hit a bit too close to home for some; it’s basically a lot like if COVID hit but if half the people it made sick went insane...lots of mask wearing, violence, etc. I personally enjoyed it as a Sandman Slim novel, but thought it kind of missed the mark as a series finale. Things feel pretty unfinished here. King Bullet wasn’t really any worse than any other of the villains Stark’s gone up against and the way things end for Stark felt very lackluster to me. Although I enjoyed the story I was just left feeling a bit let down by how it all wrapped up. Characters (5/5): I love the crazy characters in this series and all of our favorites are here. At this point the cast is fairly extensive. There were some additions with King Bullet and F*** Hollywood. I really enjoyed F*** Hollywood a lot, she was a great addition to the cast. Janet continues to feature in the story and I continue to not really enjoy them much as a character. They are just very hohum and a bit boring compared to the rest of the cast...but I guess maybe that is the point. I did love that we get big fight scenes with both Brigette and Candy; love those two! Stark is still a bit whiny throughout but is trying to claw his way out of his depression and PTSD. Setting (4/5): The book is set in LA and the description is well done. We are shown how LA has descended into madness and chaos and it was scarily realistic at points and at other times super over-the-top crazy. Again, those who’ve recently gone through cities rioting (and of course we’re all still living through a pandemic) might find it a bit too realistic at times. Writing Style (4/5): This was easy enough to read and written in Kadrey’s chapter-free-style. I never got bored with the book and enjoyed the action scenes and figuring out the mystery behind King Bullet. Stark seems tired throughout much of the book and the other characters are more supporting characters than they were in the previous books. We got some good cameo fight scenes with Stark/Candy and Stark/Bridgette, but the other characters don’t really feature and are regulated more to side-kick mode. I was strangely disappointed in how unfinished this felt and was pretty unhappy at where everything was left. It just felt very anticlimactic to me; it ends like any other Sandman Slim book. My Summary (4/5): Overall I enjoyed the story and am glad I read it. Does this feel like the grand finale to this series? Not really, it pretty much feels like any other crazy, gritty, over-the-top Sandman Slim book. It was a fun romp but unsatisfying as a series ender. Would I still recommend this series? For sure! This is a unique, dark urban fantasy series that I enjoyed every book in. I love the characters and the writing style here and look forward to going back to re-read it at some point. I am curious to see what Kadrey will work on next.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Valerie - Cats Luv Coffee

    It's hard to believe that this is the final book of the Sandman Slim series. The series finale finds Stark in the midst of a viral pandemic where everyone is wearing masks. LA is in chaos. And in the midst is gang leader King Bullet, who seems to have a vendetta for Stark. Hold on to your hats because the train is barreling into the station and there's no one at the helm. This is a welcome change as the last book in the series, Ballistic Kiss, definitely felt like one of the slower books. Kadrey It's hard to believe that this is the final book of the Sandman Slim series. The series finale finds Stark in the midst of a viral pandemic where everyone is wearing masks. LA is in chaos. And in the midst is gang leader King Bullet, who seems to have a vendetta for Stark. Hold on to your hats because the train is barreling into the station and there's no one at the helm. This is a welcome change as the last book in the series, Ballistic Kiss, definitely felt like one of the slower books. Kadrey put a lot more emotion into Stark, with more introspection than the kick-ass action that I have come to know and love from him. King Bullet takes us back to everything that the Sandman Slim series has been. Once again, there is a very eccentric villain (King Bullet) that Stark has been tasked with taking care of. He's questioning why exactly he was tasked with it, lending credence to the idea that Abbott has not been on the up and up with him. This pandemic is no COVID, as terrible as that has been. This one causes autophagia, the consumption of your own body. Yes, these people are chewing their lips and fingers, and...ugh. Disgusting. In a lot of ways, it's a parallel of a lot of what's happened since COVID. Businesses are shuttered, masks have to be worn everywhere, and for other reasons, riots have happened. Honestly, I read to escape the real world, so reading a story about a novel pandemic in the midst of a novel pandemic wasn't really my cup of tea. Kadrey certainly wraps up all the loose ends with this finale. All the character arcs are settled without feeling like they were quickly tied up for the sake of completion. I think most fans will be happy with the fulfillment of the Sandman Slim series. Don't think we can completely count Stark out though. That ending might just leave the tiniest bit of wiggle room.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mason Jones

    It's the final installment in the series, and I'd love to be able to give it four stars, but I can't quite do it. It's a good ending, and almost the only way it could end, realistically. The story itself is fine, but suffers a little from being Yet Another Superbaddy for Stark to take care of. It would have packed more punch had it been someone/something that he'd run into before, so the reader would have a deeper connection to the conflict. But the biggest problem here is that the climax comes It's the final installment in the series, and I'd love to be able to give it four stars, but I can't quite do it. It's a good ending, and almost the only way it could end, realistically. The story itself is fine, but suffers a little from being Yet Another Superbaddy for Stark to take care of. It would have packed more punch had it been someone/something that he'd run into before, so the reader would have a deeper connection to the conflict. But the biggest problem here is that the climax comes due to Stark's relationship with Janet, who needs rescuing. This would be fine, except that by that point in the book, I was fairly annoyed with Janet and with Stark: Janet is, honestly, pretty annoying and out of place in the story. It would have been nice if Stark's last stand had been to protect his real friends who we've come to know and love during the series, and not a (sorry to say it) useless hanger-on who was never his real love anyway. Yes, this fight is ultimately to protect his city and his friends, but the focus is, unfortunately, on the least interesting person in his life. This sounds kind of rough, but I'm forced to be honest because I love the series and the problem (as I see it) has to be recognized. And, despite the issue, I enjoyed the book thoroughly. All of the good things are here: smart-assery, great movie and music references, bad attitudes, good friends, and plenty of ass-kicking. Stark mopes a tad too much and doesn't quite get to be himself enough -- because Janet holds him back, sadly -- but it all works. And the brief team-up with Samael is worth the price of admission on its own. And for now, the series is over (never say never). Maybe next will be Sandman Stout, after too many donuts and not enough ass-kicking.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe L

    I am very heartbroken to know that this is the final chapter of the Jack Stark in the Sandman Slim series. In this closing book, we find that Stark is in the midst of a viral pandemic. This one causes autophagia, the consumption of your own body and everyone is wearing masks to prevent the spread but also to hide they are eating themselves. Riots have started to break out and all of Los Angeles is in chaos. In the shadows pulling on the strings is a gang leader, King Bullet, who seems to have a I am very heartbroken to know that this is the final chapter of the Jack Stark in the Sandman Slim series. In this closing book, we find that Stark is in the midst of a viral pandemic. This one causes autophagia, the consumption of your own body and everyone is wearing masks to prevent the spread but also to hide they are eating themselves. Riots have started to break out and all of Los Angeles is in chaos. In the shadows pulling on the strings is a gang leader, King Bullet, who seems to have a deep hatred for Stark. Kadrey put a lot more emotion into Stark compared to his character in Ballistic Kiss, with more insight and train of thoughts than the normal run-of-the-mill bad a$$ action that I have come to know and love. Once again, there is a very eccentric villain (King Bullet) that Stark has been tasked with taking care of. He's questioning why exactly he was tasked with it, lending credence to the idea that Abbott has not been on the up and up with him. Kadrey certainly wraps up all the loose ends with this last book. I felt like all the character arcs were completed without feeling as they were rushed to get it finished. I think most fans will be happy with the fulfillment of the Sandman Slim series. Now I don't know if it is just wishful thinking or what, but to me, it looks like that we may not have seen the last of Stark. I truly hope not at least. This review was made possible by a copy provided to me by NetGalley.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael David Cobb

    Sandman gets old and soft and weary of his shit life. He realizes all of his male friends are dead except Kasabian and maybe he's a massive walking disaster. Somehow the idea of fishing and getting a dog are out of the question. He'd rather collect teenaged runaways. Then again, he's a product of a degenerate metal environment with a soft spot for experimental film. Who can blame him for that? After all, he's deep into trans-human ethics and he has something more than a black hole for a soul. Bu Sandman gets old and soft and weary of his shit life. He realizes all of his male friends are dead except Kasabian and maybe he's a massive walking disaster. Somehow the idea of fishing and getting a dog are out of the question. He'd rather collect teenaged runaways. Then again, he's a product of a degenerate metal environment with a soft spot for experimental film. Who can blame him for that? After all, he's deep into trans-human ethics and he has something more than a black hole for a soul. But when you have a personal relationship with God who admits to some colossal fuckups, where you gonna go? In the end all he wants to do is sleep, maybe. Except King Bullet has a hardon for Stark's head, and has put LA into a zombie plague of biblical proportions. So Stark reluctantly puts on a mask, minds his pronouns and sloughs off to another week in the killing fields as he slowly comes to the realization that maybe he's too old for this shitshow. Even stealing motorcycles is no longer a thrill. Armed to the teeth with all of his super trick weapons, he pauses to think his way through things, but the Maledictions are only so satisfying and Aqua Regia? fugettababoutit. Bourbon will have to do. You'd think that Kadrey would have a film deal by now, but his writing is far too smart. Thus his teenage runaway has the perfect name. You would have been a fool to bet against that clever trick. Kudos to Kadrey.

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