I am a big fan of Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series. It is a crazy, operatic, dark, violent wild ride that regularly goes off the rails, spins out of control and then sticks the landing. If you like urban fantasy, noir-ish mystery and aren’t offended by god’s name being taken in vain, you should read it. I was giddy with excitement when I read that Kadrey has released a new book and that it’s the first book in a new series.
The Everything Box is lighter in tone than Sandman Slim (hard not to be, Sandman Slim starts with Stark escaping from Hell looking for revenge). Like Sandman Slim, The Everything Box is L.A. noir meets urban fantasy, there is a Heaven and Hell, the angels are trying to kill us, and a bunch of people want to destroy the world. Enter Charlie Cooper, known as Coop, thief and pick pocket. He can’t do magic, but he is immune to it. Unlike James Stark, he doesn’t want to watch the world burn, he just wants to steal stuff and not go to jail.
The not going to jail thing doesn’t work out for him. He is paroled mysteriously early, and the shenanigans begin. There is a box. A lot of people want the box. They each think the box will do something different. Everyone wants Coop to steal the box and each group provides a different stick to motivate him. Can he steal the box, keep his friends safe, stay out of jail, and keep the world from going boom?
Coop is a much calmer and less violent hero than Stark. He didn’t grab me by the throat the way Stark did in the first pages of Sandman Slim, But that’s ok. Stark is exhausting and he pisses everyone off. I’m excited to see what Kadrey does with a calmer, saner but still noirish hero. You should read this. And for god’s sake, read Sandman Slim, too.