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Aloha From Hell is the third book in the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey, following Sandman Slim and Kill the Dead. If you haven't read either of those two, you might want to skip this review - I try to avoid spoilers for this book, but it's difficult to avoid spoilers for the prior two.

No, seriously.

Oh, still here? Okay. The last book left us with Sandman Slim in a somewhat odd position, having basically committed genocide and having screwed up by sending his nemesis straight Downtown to Hell - but alive, and in a position to consolidate his power over the denizens of the deep and make a serious attempt at invading Heaven.

Yeah, I know. If you're not a reader of this series already, it makes no sense.

This story seems to take place a few months after the end of Kill the Dead. Sandman Slim is still in L.A.; he's hanging around with Vidocq and Kasabian, doing burglaries with the former to keep from getting bored and living in a motel with the latter while their video store is rebuilt after the events of the previous book. He's seeing Candy the Jade once in a while. Generally, he's mellowing out slightly, and spending more time like a human being instead of the nephilim he really is.

Of course, that's not a good idea. Shit starts going down, and his newfound human side just gets in the way.

The books have all been leading to this story. It's been laid out for us in bits and pieces over the prior two books, and now it's time to see how it all plays out. Lucifer is gone, back to Heaven as Samael, and there's no-one keeping tabs on Hell, where Mason is busy raising...well, Tartarus. And eventually, he manages to reach back up into the world and fuck with Sandman Slim, and there's only one thing Slim can do.

The story is therefore sort of on rails. It's perfectly fine, but big chunks of it have been telegraphed if not laid out for us, so there's not much to look forward to in terms of Big Reveals. We learn some stuff, but not a whole lot. Mostly, we watch Sandman Slim do what he did - kick a lot of ass on Earth, and then kick a lot of ass in Hell.

At the end of the book, he's definitely in a new place. It's unclear if it's a worse place or a better place, and it's somewhere he was warned he'd end up.

If you read the first two Sandman Slim volumes and enjoyed them, then this is a solid third chapter. It's unclear if there is room for more to come; while it's of course always possible, I can't tell if Kadrey is done with this ride or not. At base, it's a couple hours of solid entertainment. I had trouble keeping my head down in it; I kept putting it down, but I was having a somewhat...eventful week, and not necessarily in a good way, so that may not be the book's fault.

So anyway. Did you like the first two? Golden, pick this one up. If you aren't a huge fan, wait for paperback. If you're not sure what the heck I'm talking about, go read Sandman Slim and see if you like it.

Aloha from Hell
by Richard Kadrey
Harper Voyager (October 18, 2011) - 448 pp.


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