Sandman Slim is still my favorite urban fantasy series. As Ballistic Kiss opens, Stark is living alone, doing his best to deal with his PTSD, trying to figure out what he’s going to do with this new life now that Candy has moved on with Alessa (he doesn’t blame her, he died after all), and whether or not he’s willing to move on with Janet (they/them) from Donut Universe. I listened to the audiobook narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He is still an excellent narrator.
Thomas Abbott, who is graciously providing a home for Stark, asks him for help with a ghost infestation in Little Cairo, Samael asks him to help find an Angel last seen at a porn movie theater in the 1970s, and Janet seems to be mixed up with some crazy people that Stark wants to kill as soon as he meets them. Of course, everything is connected. For all the violence and murdering that happens in Ballistic Kiss, it seems like the calm before the storm that is gathering for the final book. The stakes are lower (kind of) but Stark reaches a couple of places he needs to reach before the series ends.
I close my eyes. “I keep coming back to this one thought: that I know everything about monsters and nothing about people.”
Stark and Murderbot have a few things in common. Neither likes other people and both have complicated relationship with the parts of them that are human. They have to learn to live in peace with people, but they will also kill you dead if you harm one of their people. The difference is, Murderbot is more at peace with being a construct now that it has control over it’s own actions, and Stark hates the part of him that’s an angel more than he hates his human half.
For a long time Stark has considered himself the monster that kills other monsters, but he’s been growing past that for awhile. By the end of Ballistic Kiss, Stark is in a pretty good place with himself so I’m looking forward to seeing what Kadrey does with a Stark who might be willing to accept that he is more than an Abomination. I don’t have to wait long, because I have an advance reader copy of King Bullet on my Kindle right now.