Urban Fantasy Wiki

1. Sandman Slim (2009)

Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey

Genres and Sub-Genres[]

Urban Fantasy / Noir UF / Thriller 

  • Described as: "Pulpy urban fantasy on steroids" / 

Brief Series Description or Overview[]

Spellbinding, utterly remarkable tale of a vengeful magician/hitman’s return from hell is part H.P. Lovecraft, part Christopher Moore, part Jim Butcher, and totally, unabashedly dark, twisted, and hilarious. Great news for fans of Warren Ellis, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, and Simon R. Green. ~ Richard Kadrey: Sandman Slim

Sandman Slim — (2009-2013) Publisher: When he was 19, James Stark was considered to be one of the greatest natural magicians, a reputation that got him demon-snatched and sent downtown—to Hell—where he survived as a gladiator, a sideshow freak entertaining Satan’s fallen angels. That was 11 years ago. Now, the hitman who goes only by Stark has escaped and is back in L.A. Armed with a fortune-telling coin, a black bone knife, and an infernal key, Stark is determined to destroy the magic circle—led by the conniving and powerful Mason Faim—that stole his life. Though nearly everything has changed, one constant remains: his friend Vidocq, a 200-year-old Frenchman who has been keeping vigil for the young magician’s return. But when Stark’s first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head that belongs to the first of the circle, a sleazy video store owner named Kasabian, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than he counted on, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future. ~ Fantasy Literature

Lead's Species[]

  • Magician / hitman

Primary Supe[]

  • Demons & Angels

What Sets it Apart[]

  • Revenge tale as central plot in Urban Fantasy

Narrative Type and Narrators[]

  • Present-tense first person voice told by James Stark. 

Books in Series[]

Sandman Slim series:

  1. Sandman Slim (2009)
  2. Kill the Dead (2010)
  3. Aloha from Hell (2011)
  4. Devil Said Bang (2012)
  5. Kill City Blues (2013)
  6. The Getaway God (2014)
  7. Killing Pretty (2015)
  8. The Perdition Score (2016)
  9. The Kill Society (2017)
  10. Hollywood Dead (2018)

Shorts, Anthologies and Guides[]

  • Devil in the Dollhouse (2012)

~ Shorts:  Stories | Richard Kadrey

Themes, Motifs, Symbolism[]

  • Absolution and revenge

World Building[]


Los Angeles


  • Bamboo House of Dolls: bar where Stark (and much of the magical community in LA) likes to go
  • Chateau Marmont: Super-luxe hotel; a giant white castle on a green hill
  • “Downtown”: convergent version of L.A. in Hell.
  • Max Overdrive: A video store; Stark's main source of income.

Supernatural Elements[]

BEINGS: Magician, angels, demons, vampires, monsters, alchemists, Nazi skin-heads, alchemist, Lucifer and Beelzebub, zombies, zombie plague, half-human-angel (Nephilim‎), talking head, diva devil, monsters, fallen angels, deities, Jack the Ripper', ghosts, serial-killer ghost, archdemons, old gods, naiads, werewolves, hellhounds, , , , 

THINGS: Supernatural key, codex, dragon's blood, magic-blended weapons, demon-built go-go-gadgets, exorcism, special powers, magic emporium, vampire-infested nightclubs,


  • Sub Rosa: humans that have magical powers.
  • Lurker: any secretive, mystical, or monstrous creature that isn't a Sub Rosa. Like naiads, zombies, werewolves.
  • Hellion: Demom—a Fallen Angel
  • Angra Om Ya: old gods who existed before God
  • Qomrama Om Ya: the Godeater—aka Stark's holy grail—a weapon designed by gods to kill other gods—a powerful artifact and has been kept well hidden; able to kill gods #4.
  • Azazeal's Blade: Hellion weapon which doubles as a key that can unlock virtually anything.
  • Na'at: a Hellion arena weapon, named after the kind of thorns in Jesus's crown. like a spear or a staff—turns into a metal whip that can strip the skin off a rhino. Capable of changing its shape to a multitude of weapons.
  • Gladius: a flaming angelic sword summoned by any of the more powerful Angels. Stark can also sumon one. the orginal Lucifer can summon two.
  • Veritas: A pocket oracle.
  • Stark's magic devices: fortune-telling coin, a black bone knife, and an infernal key (Azazeal's Blade)
  • Jade: super-vampire—look human, but when they turn into the monster (or "go Jade")—consumption involves dissolving their prey's insides and drinking them, like spiders—like a cross between a vampire and tarantula. Their bite paralyzes humans.
  • Enerjik Kissi (Kee-shee): they were born from chaos; called "anti-angel", the opposite of an angel.
  • Aqua Regia: Hells' booz—a drink that can only be found in Hell. Think a combination of 50 year old whiskey mixed with formaldehyde and dragon's blood.
  • The PanDaimonium Codex: The Hellish book of all knowledge.
  • Zombies:
    • Drifters: Term used by Stark for all flavors of Zombie. The dumbest of their kind are called Zeds, mere shambling eating machines.
    • Lacunas: Drifters which are a little smarter than Zeds; they can actually speak human language (but not much more than swearing)
    • Saperes, aka Savants: The smartest and rarest kind of Zombie; they look and act human until they eat you.
    • Zeds: dumbest of the Drifters, aka Zombies;
    • Gluttire: a demon, a glutton. They eat other demons, they are pretty rare.
  • Aqua Regia: Hell's booze
  • Malediction: Lucifer's favorite cigarettes. Can only be found in Hell.
  • High Hellion: a language in Hell—sounds like dogs barking
  • Wildfire Ripper: stalking the city #6

Groups & Organizations:[]

  • The Circle: group of magic users—sent Stark to Hell alive.
  • Golden Vigil: Aelita is leader; Heaven's Pinkertons. a society of angels that work to protect humanity. They also use humans to help, especially personnel from the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Men in Black:


God has had a nervous breakdown, what with screwing up life, the universe and everything, and has long-ago split into five separate yet related smaller Gods. (One of whom is the new Lucifer. Yes, God is the Devil, the Devil is God. Keep up.) With one God offed she only has four to go.

  • The names of God's "brothers" are from Kabbalistic teachings? The names of God are the levels of the soul.


Sandman Slim: James William Butler Stark, Main character; a bounty hunter, hit man, and talented magician. Though himself almost impossible to kill, he is very bad juju for anyone who spends time near him.

✥ James Stark was a magician (a real magician, not a sawing-a-woman-in-half kind) who was madly in love with his girlfriend Alice when he was betrayed by another magician named Mason and some others. Mason managed to send Stark to hell, but as a living person, not a dead soul. Eleven years later, Stark learns that Alice has been murdered on Earth by Mason and his pals. Determined to get revenge, Stark breaks out of hell with a magical key that allows him to access almost any point in any dimension. His stay in hell has made him supernaturally tough with an extremely bad attitude, but he soon runs across various angels, demons, monsters, alchemists, magicians, Nazi skin-heads and porn shop owners that he has to deal with as he learns that there may be something much bigger than his revenge at stake. ~ Goodreads reader | Kemper

✥ James Stark, also known as Sandman Slim is the ultimate antihero. He is after all, Lucifers private body guard. If you are not familiar with Sandman Slim, he is a man of magic that was sent to hell alive. He fought for his life, he fought for Lucifer’s generals, and he fought for the fun of it. He was a gladiator that fought Hells’ minions and then lived to tell about it. He was unaware that he was a Nephilim, half human and half an angel. This means that he is very hard to kill. He is also very good at killing. He is adept at hoodoo, hexes, and spells, which add to his ability to maim and murder. His heritage makes him a perfect soldier, as getting hurt only makes him stronger. He is also a bit psychotic as well, as he has internal conversations with his angel side that he keeps penned up like a battered dog. ~ GR reader - Jason

"But in a way, Mason won. He wanted to destroy me, and the one who went to Hell sure isn’t who came out. I was James Stark going down but Sandman Slim when I left. Eleven years of torture and fighting in the arena to entertain monsters will alter your perspective on life."

Most nights I still dream about Hell. I can feel it inside me. It’s in the stink of my sweat. Flashing on the place even for a second makes me furious and sometimes afraid and sometimes ashamed of both those things. On the plus side, I got up close and personal with the killer inside me. I learned I was good at taking lives. Doc Kinski called me a natural-born killer, so now it’s what I do. But I don’t always like it, and when I do, I don’t always like myself for liking it. That’s what Hell is. It’s the shithole bottom of the universe, but it’s a place where you’ll learn more about yourself than you ever wanted to know.”


  • Kasabian — What: mage — Sidekick-to: James Stark, Sandman Slim — About: runs a porn shop — Book First Seen In: Sandman Slim
  • Vidocq — What: alchemist — Sidekick-to: James Stark, Sandman Slim — About: 200-year-old Frenchman; seeks cure for immortality — Book First Seen In: Sandman Slim

Characters Chart[]

Characters What About
James Butler Hickok Stark, aka Sandman Slim magician, Nephilim, bounty hunter, hit man (assassin) sent to Hell by group of mages, acquired resistance to injury; he's back to Earth after 11 years for revenge against the men for sending him there and also for killing his girlfriend, Alice;
François-Eugène Vidocq immortal alchemist, thief old friend; staying in Starks apartment while gone; sidekick; 200-year-old Frenchman who has been keeping vigil for the young magician’s return; seeks cure for immortality;
Kasabian mage, Disembodied head sidekick; runs a porn video shop; one of the "Circle" that send Stark to Hell; Stark cut his head off and takes up residence in his store; circle scapegoat; Lucifer uses him to send messages to Stark; pastimes are limited to TV, smoking and beer;
Candy Jade, Kinski's assistant; on-again off-again girlfriend; bloodthirsty monster;
Mason Faim Magician, Human wizard, main villain Stark's arch enemy; betrayed stark, sent him to Hell, and killed his woman; most powerful magician in L.A.; dragged Alice to Hell, Slim tries to save her;
Lucifer, aka Mr. Macheath Prince of Darkness, Lord of Hell; bk2: visits Hollywood as technical adviser to the movie of his life story
Allegra, aka Doc Allegra runs the video store Kas' manager; Stark's friend; sassy black woman; becomes an apprentice to Eugene Vidocq; Later, takes over Doc Kinsky's clinic; dating Vidocq;
Doc Kinski doctor, fallen angel A doctor to the supernatural community
Aelita angel, Golden Vigil an angel doing God's work on Earth; has an agenda; Mason's partner in crime;
Father Liam Traven priest, exorcist He was excommunicated for translating the book about the old gods. He has come from a long line of sin eaters and can blacken your soul with so much sin you'll spend eternity in the worst pit's of hell.
Medea Inquisitor menacing
Death Embodiment of death needs Sandman Slim's help to find who ripped his heart out.
Mr. Muninn salesman extremely rare and unique supernatural items
Parker "Circle" magician, One of the "Circle" that Stark is after. He is Mason's dog/yes man; killed by Stark
Alice ghost She was a very precious person to Stark; killed by Parker;
Carlos bartender/owner of Bamboo House of Dolls. Stark meets him after coming out of hell.
Azazel Lucifer's second general Lucifer's second general; Stark's "boss" while in Hell
Beelzebub Lucifer's general Lucifer's favorite general
Belial Lucifer's general
Mephistopheles Lucifer's general Lucifer's third favorite general
Josef Nazi, Kissi he is known as Legion; leader of the Nazi that attacked Stark. He is also a Kissi ("anti-angel");
Larson Wells U.S. Marshall working with Aelita and the Golden Vigil
Lawrence Tierney Hollywood badboy One of his last film roles was as an appearance as Bruce Willis' father in Armageddon
Ilsa Neo-Nazi Skinhead door keeper;
Brigitte Bardo zombie hunter, porn star Very sexy, Czech-French porn star, friend of Lucifer’s; former zombie hunter and Czech porn star; now a bored actress
Mr. Macheath Lucifer Name assumed by Lucifer to afford him some anonymity while in LA
Enoch Springheel LA Sub Rosa Degenerate last member of a Founding Family of the LA Sub Rosa
Spencer Church Sub Rosa One of the Sub Rosa elite
Hunter Sentenza boy boy whose exorcism went bad
Marshal Wells: U.S. Marshal Homeland Security; he also works for Aelita, rooting out God's enemies.
Simon Ritchie Movie mogul friend of Lucifer's
Cabal Ash Sub Rosa One of the Sub Rosa elite
Medea Bava Inquisitor LA Sub Rosa
Johnny Thunders Savant stationed in Los Angeles
Julia Sola Marshal works for the Golden Vigil
Koralin Geistwald Sub Rosa Matriarch one of the oldest and most powerful of the Sub Rosa families in LA
Rainier Geistwald Sub Rosa Koralin's son; totally self-important prick
Aki Sub Rosa powers Missing Midwest hick with Sub Rosa powers
Ziggy clerk Max Overdrive Video store
Eleanor Vance Debutante cheerleader gone bad—very, very bad
Tracy savant? Co-minder of Johnny Thunders
Charles Springheel Sub Rosa Head of a founding Sub Rosa family in LA
Ray US Marshall Golden Vigil; slightly psychic and very bureaucratic
Fiona savant? Co-minder of Johnny Thunders
Amanda Lucifer groupie aged and ageless
Gigi Gaston Studio subordinate to Simon Ritchie
Dr. Allwissend Human Lucifer's private physician when he manifests on Earth
Mother Teresa Catholic nun spent her life helping the very poor in Calcutta
Alfredo Garcia Kasabian Stark's derisive name for Kasabian, from the Peckinpah movie title "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
Spencer Church Sub Rosa One of the Sub Rosa elite
Enoch Springheel: Sub Rosa Degenerate last member of a Founding Family of the LA Sub Rosa
Madea Brava

To expand the table, in Edit–Visual mode, right-press on a Row of the table or Column (Control-press on a Mac)—choose add Row or Column.

Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey — Author


Richard Kadrey

  • WebsiteRichard Kadrey
  • Genres: Noir Urban Fantasy, Horror-Fantasy, Quest Fantasy, YA, Comics...

Bio: Richard Kadrey is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He is the author of dozens of stories, plus eight novels, including Sandman Slim, Kill the Dead, Aloha from Hell, Metrophage and Butcher Bird. His Wired magazine cover story, Carbon Copy, was made into one of the worst movies of 2001. It starred Bridget Fonda. Sorry, Bridget. He has been immortalized as an action figure. Kadray [sic]: The Invincible Wizard was a villain in an episode of the Blackstar animated TV series. Kadrey created and wrote the Vertigo comics mini-series ACCELERATE, which was illustrated by the Pander Brothers. He plans to do more comic work in the near future. He has written and spoken about art, culture and technology for Wired, The San Francisco Chronicle, Discovery Online, The Site, SXSW and Wired For Sex on the G4 cable network. Richard has no qualifications for anything he does. ~ FF


Cover Artists[]

  • Designer: Paula Russel Szafranski — Kill City Blues (book credits)

Other Contributors[]

  • Audio Book Narrator: — Source:
  • Editor: — Source:

Publishing Information[]

  1. Sandman Slim: Hardcover, 388 pages, Pub: July 21st 2009—ISBN 0061714305
  2. Kill the Dead: Hardcover, 434 pages, Pub: October 5th 2010 by Eos—ISBN 0061714313
  3. Aloha from Hell: Hardcover, 1st Ed, 438 pages, Pub: October 18th 2011—ISBN 0061714321
  4. Devil Said Bang: Hardcover, 399 pages, Pub: August 28th 20—ISBN 0062094572
  5. Kill City Blues: Hardcover, 383 pages, Pub: July 30th 2013—ISBN 0062094599
  6. The Getaway God: Hardcover, 400 pages, Pub: August 26th 2014—ISBN 0062094610
  7. Killing Pretty: ebook, 400 pages, Pub: July 28th 2015—ISBN 0062373242 / Hardcover, 400 pages, Pub: July 28th 2015—ISBN 0062373102
  8. The Perdition Score:
  9. The Kill Society:
  10. Hollywood Dead:

Book Cover Blurbs[]

BOOK ONE—Sandman Slim (2009): Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero. Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles. Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you'd expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.

Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

Darkly twisted, irreverent, and completely hilarious, Sandman Slim is the breakthrough novel by an acclaimed author. ~ Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, #1) by Richard Kadrey

BOOK TWO—Kill the Dead (2010): What do you do after you’ve crawled out of Hell to wreak bloody revenge? If you’re Stark you turn to bounty hunting, tracking and decimating whatever rogue monsters you’re paid to kill. Stark hates the work, but he needs the money, especially the big bucks Lucifer is offering. In town as an adviser on a biopic of his life, Lucifer needs protection, and he wants Stark as his bodyguard. But the gig isn’t all bad; there is the very sexy, very hot French porn star Brigitte Bardo, a friend of Lucifer’s in LA to remake her reputation as a legit actress. While it isn’t love, it’s pretty damn good, and after 11 years of demonic chastity, it’s enough for now.

Stark has enough trouble juggling a diva devil and a scorching French bombshell without a zombie plague to complicate matters. And just what happens when a human-angel half-breed is bitten by the living dead? His human side begins to die, transforming him into an unstoppable angel of death—a killing machine devoid of emotion or thought, with no regrets or future to worry about. Not a bad way to be when your choices are limited. Now, Stark has to decide . . . if he does finds a cure for the zombie infection, will he take it? ~ Kill the Dead (Sandman Slim, #2) by Richard Kadrey

BOOK THREE—Aloha from Hell (2011): In Sandman Slim Stark came back from hell for revenge. In Kill the Dead he tackled both a zombie plague and being Lucifer’s bodyguard. Once again all is not right in L.A. Lucifer is back in Heaven, God is on vacation, and an insane killer mounts a war against both Heaven and Hell. Stark’s got to head back down to his old stomping grounds in Hell to rescue his long lost love, stop an insane serial killer, prevent both Good and Evil from completely destroying each other, and stop the demonic Kissi from ruining the party for everyone. Even for Sandman Slim, that’s a tall order. And it’s only the beginning. ~ Aloha from Hell (Sandman Slim, #3) by Richard Kadrey

BOOK FOUR—Devil Said Bang (2012): Getting out of hell is just the beginning What do you do after you've escaped Hell, gone back, uncovered the true nature of God, and then managed to become the new Lucifer? Well, if you're James Stark, you have to figure out how to run Hell while also trying to get back out of it . . . again. Plus there's the small matter of surviving. Because everyone in Heaven, Hell, and in between wants to be the fastest gun in the universe, and the best way to do so is to take down Lucifer, a.k.a. James Stark. And it's not like being in L.A. is any better—a serial-killer ghost is running wild and Stark's angelic alter ego is hiding among the lost days of time with a secret cabal who can rewrite reality. Starting to care for people and life again is a real bitch for a stone-cold killer. ~ Devil Said Bang (Sandman Slim, #4) by Richard Kadrey

BOOK FIVE—Kill City Blues (2013): James Stark, aka Sandman Slim, has managed to get out of Hell, renounce his title as the new Lucifer, and settle back into life in LA. But he's not out of trouble yet. Somewhere along the way he misplaced the Qomrama Om Ya, a weapon from the banished older gods who are also searching for their lost power. The hunt leads Stark to an abandoned shopping mall-a multi-story copy of LA-infested with Lurkers and wretched bottomfeeding Sub Rosa families, squatters who have formed tight tribes to guard their tiny patches of this fake LA. Somewhere in the kill zone of the former mall is a dead man with the answers Stark needs. All Stark has to do is find the dead man, get back out alive, and outrun some angry old gods-and a few killers-on his tail.  ~ Kill City Blues (Sandman Slim, #5) by Richard Kadrey

BOOK SIX—The Getaway God (2014): Sandman Slim must save himself-and the entire world-from the wrath of some enraged and vengeful ancient gods in this sixth high-octane adventure in the New York Times bestselling series. Being a half-human, half-angel nephilim with a bad rep and a worse attitude-not to mention temporarily playing Lucifer-James Stark aka Sandman Slim has made a few enemies. None, though, are as fearsome as the vindictive Angra Om Ya-the old gods. But their imminent invasion is only one of Stark's problems right now. LA is descending into chaos, and a new evil-the Wildfire Ripper-is stalking the city. No ordinary killer, The Ripper takes Stark deep into a conspiracy that stretches from Earth to Heaven and Hell. He's also the only person alive who may know how to keep the world from going extinct. The trouble is, he's also Stark's worst enemy . . . the only man in existence Stark would enjoy killing twice.  ~ The Getaway God (Sandman Slim, #6) by Richard Kadrey

BOOK SEVEN—Killing Pretty (July 28th 2015): Someone has tried to kill Death—ripping the heart right out of him—or rather the body he's inhabiting. Death needs Sandman Slim's help. He believes anyone who can beat Lucifer and the old gods at their own game is the only one who can solve his murder. Stark follows a sordid trail deep into LA's subterranean world, from vampire-infested nightclubs to Weimar Republic mystical societies. Along the way he meets a mysterious girl—distinguished by a pair of graveyard eyes—as badass as Slim; she happens to be the only person who ever outwitted Death. But escaping her demise has had dire consequences for the rest of the world... and a few others.  ~ Killing Pretty (Sandman Slim, #7) by Richard Kadrey

First Sentences[]

  1. Sandman Slim (2009) — I wake up on a pile of smoldering garbage and leaves in the old Hollywood Forever cemetery behind the Paramount Studio lot on Melrose, though these last details don't come to me until later.
  2. Kill the Dead (2010) — Imagine shoving a cattle prod up a rhino's ass, shouting "April fool!", and hoping the rhino thinks it's funny. That's about how much fun it is hunting a vampire.
  3. Aloha from Hell (2011) — "Tell me," says the Frenchman. "How long has it been since you last killed anything?"
  4. Devil Said Bang (2012) — I punch the tunes into the juke box and make sure it's turned up loud.
  5. Kill City Blues (2013) — I'm in a window seat at Donut Universe eating heart-crippling lumps of deep-fried dough with the Devil.
  6. The Getaway God (2014) — You'd think the end of the world would be exciting, but this apocalypse is about as much fun as dental surgery.
  7. Killing Pretty (July 28, 2015) —

~ Sandman Slim Series ~ Shelfari


Metaphor examples:

  • Aelita isn’t what I imagined an angel would look like. She’s about as ethereal as a zip gun. She walks like she’s about to call in an air strike or buy Europe. Donald Trump in drag with her enemies’ balls in a candy dish on her desk, right next to the stapler.
  • Wells motions me over, squinting at me like a constipated Clint Eastwood.
  • With a superhuman effort I try to push myself to my feet, but only get myself as far as propping myself on my elbows like a white-trash Sphinx.

Rules of Thumb, example:

  • One rule of thumb in fighting is that crazy can often overcome skill and numbers, because, while a trained fighter might actually enjoy going up against another trained fighter, no one really wants to wrestle with crazy. Crazy doesn’t know when it’s winning. And crazy doesn’t know when to stop. If you can’t pull off crazy, if, for instance, you’re handcuffed in a small van with six armed assailants, stupid is a decent substitute for crazy.



Read Alikes (similar elements)[]

See Category links at bottom of page


See Also[]

See Category links at bottom of this page

External References[]


Freebies & Excerpts:


World, Characters, etc:




Community and Fan Sites:

Gallery of Book Covers[]