The Getaway God by Richard Kadrey
People are bailing out of LA in droves. It’s Christmas. The city is flooding. An apocalypse is happening, and Sandman Slim’s girlfriend, Candy, is reverting to her predatory Jade nature. The Angra Om Ya, who were the original gods of this reality before they lost it to a confidence-trickster god, are returning, and they aren’t happy. The Golden Vigil, a government-angelic partnership, has begun rounding up supernatural beings and putting them in concentration camps. For James Stark, the half-nephilim arena-fighter and former CEO of Hell, known as Sandman Slim, it’s basically just another Tuesday.
The Getaway God by Richard Kadrey is the sixth SANDMAN SLIM story. As the series has progressed, Kadrey has taken some scenic detours, as he did in Kill City Blues with a haunted shopping mall. The Getaway God returns to familiar Sandman Slim territory, reunites us with some familiar characters and introduces us to some new ones.
Stark has dealt with near-deities, zombies, vampires, demons and crazy angels before, but the Angra Om Ya are an order of magnitude different. He knows this first hand, because he’s had one of their mystical weapons for a couple of books now. When Stark’s archenemy Mason re-appears on the scene, things get even more desperate, if that is possible.
I confess, despite the fact the world was ending, I was more worried about Stark and Candy, especially because this is the kind of book where any character can die. Candy is already in trouble with the Vigil, and as the story progresses, things go downhill quickly. Her relationship with Stark is in peril, too, because the Jade side of Candy has, well, let’s say “some issues.”
Stark meets a new character here, Ishiro, a mouthy reanimated mummy, with whom he shares insults, and he reconnects with part of this universe’s current god — the god that split itself into five personalities. The set-up is so elaborate and intricate that it seems impossible to solve, but Sandman Slim can always find a way to make a bad situation worse, and still, somehow, resolve it. In this case, though, Stark will have to make real sacrifices, lasting ones; sacrifices of power and sacrifices of the heart.
The ending of The Getaway God is well done. It’s a surprise, but it all makes sense.
After Kill City Blues, The Getaway God is a return to vintage Sandman Slim, along the lines of Aloha From Hell or Devil Said Bang. Kadrey wraps up one overarching storyline here, and leaves himself plenty of room for more. If you think you’d like these books, though, do not start here. Do yourself a favor and start with the first one, Sandman Slim. In this series, the reader benefits from reading them in order.
No ordinary killer, the man known as St. Nick takes Stark deep into a conspiracy that stretches from Earth to Heaven and Hell. Further complicating matters is that he may be the only person alive who knows how to keep the world from going extinct. He’s also Stark’s worst enemy—the only man in existence Stark would enjoy killing twice—and one with a direct line to the voracious, ancient gods.