The Getaway God: A Sandman Slim Novel
by Richard Kadrey
Review by Drew Bittner
Harper Voyager Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062094612
Date: 26 August 2014 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Angra Om Ya once owned our universe--before God betrayed them and stole it for himself--and are about to return. Even the tiniest fragment of them is unbelievably destructive. God might have the power to fight them Himself, except that God had a nervous breakdown and split into five different individuals, one of whom is absolutely dead.
Now it's up to Stark (aka Sandman Slim), his demonic girlfriend, a helpful piece of God (currently in charge of Hell), and a handful of others to prevent the apocalypse. Good luck with that.
In The Getaway God, Richard Kadrey brings his Sandman Slim tale to what could be a conclusion. After all, fighting horrific alien creatures from beyond our dimension is sort of hard to top. Stark rises to the challenge, however, by first tracking down members of a weird death cult with ties to the Seven. He's working with the government, in the form of the surly Marshal Wells and a former ally, Julie, and the arrangement is not a happy one...mostly because Stark ends up killing the witnesses Wells needs to interrogate.
It's not Stark's fault, though--death cultists have a thing about not being taken alive. As Stark plows through and uses up leads, his girlfriend Candy is losing control over her demonic nature, and his employee Kasabian (an undying head on a robot body) is trolling for work contacting the dead on behalf of wealthy clients.
Wells, meanwhile, puts an ancient mummy to work figuring out an artifact, the Qomrama, that appears to be the most important piece of the Angra Om Ya's plan to return. It responds to Stark, erratically, but its true master is an old enemy who wants to play not one game but quite a few.
Defeated on multiple fronts, Stark goes to Hell for info, contacts the ghost of Wild Bill Hickok, and slowly comes up with a plan that could save reality as we know it--if he puts everything on the line and plays a hunch.
Thing is, will he be able to resist the temptation when the Seven of the Angra Om Ya offer him a deal?
Kadrey is one of the lead voices of the second wave of urban fantasy, a hard-edged bunch whose work would fit just as well in horror. His bare-knuckles style of storytelling finds peers in Chuck Wendig, Larry Correia, and Stephen Blackmoore, to name a few. They're taking the urban fantasy world by storm like a '70s rock band; the genre will never be the same.
Kadrey's Sandman Slim is a kitchen-sink kind of hero, fighting Heaven, Hell, and Others from Beyond with equal enthusiasm. He's a former gladiator and Lucifer's hitman, risen to prominence in part because he got himself out of Hell and came to acquire the Qomrama, as well as access to the transdimensional Room of Thirteen Doors. The latter gives him the ability to walk through shadows to wherever he pleases--and now he learns the real meaning behind both, at last. Like many protagonists, he doesn't know much at first but he slugs, shoots, punches, and cheats his way to the truth, step by bloody step. His frustrations illuminate a rough but noble spirit, facing the end of the world with a cigarette from Hell between his teeth.
To say much about the solution would be to give too much away, so let's stick with this: Stark finds an elegant, workable solution to the world's crisis. That he manages to do so against world-shattering enemies is the miracle all true heroes pull off, when they must rise to the occasion, look the devil in the eye and walk away laughing.
This is the stuff--the raw red pulsing stuff--readers want to see.