Book Review: King Bullet (Sandman Slim #12) by Richard Kadrey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: August 17th, 2021
Pages: 320, hardcover
Source: NetGalley

The incredible finale of the page-turning, high-octane Sandman Slim series filled with an explosive ending and intense kick-ass action from New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey.

It’s been three months since Stark stopped a death cult and a potential ghost apocalypse, and he’s at loose ends. His personal life is a mess. His professional life isn’t much better. And the world…well, the world is going to shit. L.A. is gripped by a viral epidemic that has everyone wearing masks and keeping their distance from each other. But what’s even more frightening is the Shoggot gang and their leader, King Bullet, who revels in the city’s collapse.

Who is King Bullet? No one knows. He seemingly came from nowhere with nothing but a taste for mayhem and an army of crazed killers who follow his every command. What king wants seems simple on it face: Chaos. Destruction. A city in flames. But there’s more to the king and his plans for L.A. and what Stark discovers will change Heaven, Earth, and Stark himself forever.

King Bullet is the final novel in the Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey. Over the last dozen years, Kadrey has taken us to Heaven, Hell, and all over Los Angeles, which, depending on your point of view, be an equally infernal realm. Stark, AKA Sandman Slim, AKA Lucifer (for a brief spell) has conquered many foes, but this time, he may be up against an enemy he can’t defeat.

A virus is plaguing LA, turning the infected into Shoggots, who consume their own flesh and mutilate themselves. They are led by King Bullet, whose agenda seems to be to cause as much chaos as possible. But is this a means to some other end? 

This didn’t feel like a finale. I had a pretty good idea early on as to how Stark would end up, and I was mostly right. But Kadrey left enough dangling threads that I think, and hope, that he’ll either spinoff a series for one of the other characters, maybe Brigitte or Candy and have some incarnation of Stark have at least a cameo. That said, if this is truly Stark’s last outing, it was a great ride. Everyone (well, everyone who is still alive) is featured, and Stark’s angst about all the choices which have led him to this point is well-considered without being maudlin.

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