Aloha from Hell: A Sandman Slim Novel
by Richard Kadrey
Cover Artist: Photo: Amanda Friedman / Getty Images
Review by Harriet Klausner
Harper Voyager Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061714320
Date: 18 October 2011 List Price $23.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
As Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” This proves prophetic when the impossible occurs. Lucifer has vacated his throne in Hell to come home to Heaven as Paradise Lost has become Paradise Regained for the Fallen reborn again as an Angel. However, instead of evil and sin eradicated with the devil's abdication, a leadership void is left with several malevolent essences planning to fill Lucifer's hoofs.
Avenging hybrid angel-human James "Sandman Slim" Stark recently eliminated serial killer Mason Faim the magician who sent him to Hell. However, Mason finds his new gig quite interesting as he begins a diabolic scheme to take over Hell. He quickly lines up a powerful force of followers with his fire and brimstone logic to take the war to heaven. In the shadows encouraging Mason waits Kissi the demon to defeat what remains of the winning side.
Stark knows an all out war could prove the end of the universe; thus the Nephilim wonders why God fails to end his vacation and intervene as that free will nonsense is hellish. However, Stark refuses to wait for heavenly intervention. Instead, with no miracles on the horizon, Stark who spent eleven years as Lucifer's bodyguard in hell (see Sandman Slim) and at the same job when his former boss arrived to film his autobiography in even more hellish Los Angeles (see Kill the Dead), breaks a personal vow by returning to Hell. He prays, though not sure to whom, that he will come back to L.A. with his murdered girlfriend.
The third Sandman Slim urban fantasy is a terrific noir thriller as the antihero takes the audience on a guided tour of Los Angeles and Hell, which ironically leads to the conclusion that the City of Angels is more of a hellish spot than the underground is. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with over the top of the Tower of Babel violent action whether it is on earth or in Hell.
However, Sandman Slim, as Stark is called, keeps the dark atmospheric story line focused. He wants to prevent the final war to end all wars from occurring though he would prefer God stepped to the plate and swung the bat instead. Still he spent over a decade in Hell and lives in Los Angeles so he knows which place is safer. With his fully developed support crew and three dimensional adversaries starting with his personal enemy Faim, Stark enters Hell on a Heavenly cause. Readers will appreciate this satirical twisting tale as Richard Kadrey lampoons the End of Days Revelation crowd with a fascinating different heretical take.