The Getaway God by Richard Kadrey – Spoiler Free Review
|Book Name:||The Getaway God|
|Publisher(s):||Harper Voyager (US)|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook|
|Genre(s):||Urban Fantasy / Horror|
|Release Date:||August 26, 2014 (US) October 23, 2014 (UK)|
The Getaway God, Richard Kadrey’s sixth novel in the Sandman Slim series, is a confounding—but ultimately entertaining—entry in the story of James Stark. Friends and enemies (both new and old) appear. Aqua Regia is imbibed. Maledictions are smoked. The world is saved. Gods live and die. Just another day at the office for everyone’s favorite nephilim.
That rote, “just-another-day-at-the-office” feeling is what prevents The Getaway God—a good book by all accounts—from being great. In Dresden Files terms, there is too much “Hell’s bells, Murph!” and not enough fighting zombies astride a dinosaur.
Picking up shortly after the events of Kill City Blues, Los Angeles is literally on the verge of the Apocalypse and Stark (just Stark, thank you very much) is on the Golden Vigil payroll, helping the government’s supernatural spooks combat the Angra Om Ya—old gods that were rooked out of their universe by the fractured upstart God of so many Earthly faiths. One particularly grisly scene in a meat processing plant later and Stark and his band of merry misfits are thrown into the eye of a storm that could bring the universe to an abrupt conclusion.
Part murder mystery, part revenge fantasy, part supernatural thriller and part rumination on the nature of gods and man, The Getaway God reads (at times) as if Kadrey was writing from a checklist. In series such as this, adhering to formula isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But there is a fine line between formulaic and rote. There are more than a few moments when The Getaway God hews closer to the latter, to the detriment of the novel as a whole.
Certainly, all the things that made me a fan of the Sandman Slim series in the first place are present. Visits to Hell, Vido?, the Bamboo House of Dolls and Stark’s deadpan sarcasm abound. So, too, does the cinematic supernatural violence that has become a hallmark of the series. But it is not new-reader friendly. Its effectiveness as a work of fiction is predicated on prior knowledge of the series as a whole. I didn’t mind, because I’ve read all the books. But without having read all five prior volumes, the emotional impact is neutered.
Jordan, Butcher and any number of others have all had the same problem at one time or another. Sustaining a series past three books is a massive feat, and Kadrey should be commended for his accomplishments with this novel and the others. That the latest volume was merely good instead of great doesn’t diminish what he’s accomplished with Sandman Slim.
After finishing The Getaway God, I’m eagerly anticipating the next volume. Kadrey left Stark—and his world—in a very different state. While some doors that have been available for six books running have now ostensibly closed, others have opened. The possibilities for Sandman Slim are endless, and I have every confidence that the next volume will be as funny, entertaining and thought provoking as prior entries.
One final note—the hardcover of The Getaway God is beautiful. Compact, with a cover in the style of 60’s and 70’s horror flicks, it just looks and feels cool. I’m hoping the entire series is re-released in the style of The Getaway God. It’ll be a great-looking contribution to any bookshelf.
The Getaway God, Richard Kadrey’s sixth entry in his Sandman Slim series, is a worthy read. If you’ve read books 1-5, I highly recommend reading The Getaway God as soon as possible. It feels like a cap on “phase one” of the Sandman Slim universe.