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October 16, 2011 / schulerbooks

Aloha from Hell, by Richard Kadrey

After the hellish events of Kill the Dead, it’s understandable that Stark — also known as Sandman Slim — just wants to take it easy.

The Devil’s back in Heaven, his inner Angel’s behaving (mostly), and things are finally coming around with Candy the bloodthirsty monster (on the wagon, we hope). He’s not having to bust his ass as much anymore. It’s been so long since he killed someone he can’t even remember when it was, or why. Heck, even his dead girlfriend’s ghost is telling him to quit mooning over her and move on.

But he knows it’s only temporary — the calm before one hell of a !@#$storm.

His number one enemy — Mason, the bastard who had his girlfriend killed and tossed him into Hell alive — is Downtown, gathering power. Hes got most of the great demons on his side, now, and it’s only a matter of time before he organizes their massive armies into an attack on Heaven. And whether he wins or loses, the repercussions could shatter reality, or at least screw it up to the point where Stark’s long-overdue idyll would be seriously ruined.

That looming threat isn’t quite enough to get him off his ass, of course. But when his friends bring him into an exorcism gone seriously pear-shaped, the aforementioned bastard makes an appearance and reveals he’s got the one thing that Stark still gives a damn about. His old girlfriend’s soul is trapped in Hell under Mason’s lock and key, thanks to one of Stark’s least favorite angels. And if Sandman Slim doesn’t come on down and save her in three days’ time, she’s going to find out how ugly Downtown can really be.

Is it a trap? No way it isn’t. Does he have a choice? Not from where he’s sitting.

Does he have to like it? Hell no, and when he gets back Downtown, there’s going to be Hell to pay.

Of course, getting back downtown’s going to be interesting. Mason will be watching all the usual entrances, and will probably have any number of traps and traitors waiting along the way. To do this, Stark’s going to have to think way outside his usual box, call in some favors from people and things he’d rather not invoke, and do something he’s spent a long time trying not to do.

Die.

One of the great strengths of Kadrey’s Sandman Slim novels is that, just when you think you’ve got Stark’s world figured out, he always another level or layer of complexity that works seamlessly with what we knew before. Aloha from Hell continues in that tradition, and delivers a gloriously profane, high-octane horror action story that takes our hero from life to death and reveals an afterlife that’s both demonically different yet eerily familliar.

Hell and L.A. will never look the same again, especially when Sandman Slim gets through with them. But what shape will he be in when they get done with him…?

If you loved the previous two novels in the series, you will definitely want to find out. You can get your claws on Aloha from Hell when it comes out, October 18th. Wear oven mitts — this thrill is hot.

– Jim Tremlett, Eastwood.

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