The Perdition Score

Courtesy of goodreads.comIt’s been awhile since I had a Sandman Slim novel to chew on. And they do tend to be chewy. Kadrey is never an easy read. It took me ages to get through the one non-Sandman Slim he’s written that I’ve read. Still, I like James Stark. He’s my kind of asshole. And since I don’t know when this book was released (sometime this year I think?), SPOILERS be here.

Richard Kadrey’s latest Sandman Slim novel is The Perdition Score. Stark is legit now and doesn’t like it, can’t handle it really. He’s got a job working for the newest Augur, Thomas Abbott. He’s got a place to live and Candy (now called Chihiro) is alive and well and also with a job (one that used to be Stark’s). Most people would be happy that things were quieter.

Stark is not most people. He’s suffering from raging headaches and suffering from acute boredom. The only way he relieves both of those things is via an underground fight club. It’s very…Fight Club. I’m a little mad that Kadrey never really gets to whether these headaches were because of something physical or if it was psychosomatic. He did mention a few times that when the action started, the headaches went away, but that could be adrenaline.

In this book, Stark has two problems: A missing kid and Wormwood. Turns out that these two things are, of course, linked. It takes Stark a while to put it together because he gets side-tracked by a new and poisonous substance called black milk. It’s given to him by a dying angel and it gets him into trouble almost immediately. Naturally.

There’s a good chunk of the middle of the book where Stark is pretty convinced that Wormwood is targeting him by setting up terrible things at places he knows and people he’s met. And he’s right. Eventually, they go after his friend Vidocq directly and almost get him too. It’s this that triggers Stark going back into hell for the millionth time.

And hell is where Wormwood is now headquartered in a way. Norris Quay, whom he killed in the last book (if I remember correctly), is running the black milk scheme from the Griffith Park part of hell. Oh yeah, apparently hell is a copy of LA. Makes sense to me.

At any rate, black milk, once refined, makes berserkers out of angels. Stark finds this out first hand earlier in the book. Samael (now angel of death rather than Lucifer) sends a trustworthy angel down to assist Stark in hell and when she finds out what black milk is, she destroys the stock of it using her own blood. Stark is more messed up by this death than pretty much any other death in the series, which I find a little odd but maybe we’ll find out more in the next book.

This is the second book I’ve read recently that’s finished on a cliff hanger. ARGH! So irritating but at the same time, I know that another book is coming. As for this one, I don’t think it was the best Sandman Slim I’ve read but it was a decent read. I think that whenever the next book comes out, you could probably skip between the one before this and whatever comes after and not really miss much. This whole book was just an engine for James Stark to die. Like really die this time and not just seemingly die. It was good enough for me to devour in two days but I also couldn’t settle on reading anything else, so…I’d say overall it’s a good filler between books that you really, really want to read. Rating: B-.

Dr. DOA

Courtesy of randomhouse.comSimon R. Green you magnificent bitch. You rarely disappoint (can’t say I was overly fond of the Ghost Chasers) and you really didn’t with Dr. DOA. I have to say, since this came our relatively recently, there may be SPOILERS here. So beware and don’t read if you don’t like them.

The latest in the Secret Histories books finds Eddie Drood wanting to celebrate Christmas with his lady love, Molly Metcalf. Of course, things don’t go as he plans, not when the family needs you.

So off Eddie goes to Drood Hall, ready to kick asses and take names…and promptly pass right the fuck out. What? Seems Eddie has been poisoned and the most likely suspect is a bad guy that no one has ever seen and who may or may not be real, Dr. DOA. Regardless of who did it, Eddie has been poisoned and it likely happened in Drood Hall.

With literally nothing to lose, Eddie takes the case of his own murder to try and save himself and to find the traitor. Meanwhile, quite aside from the fact that he’s dying, someone is out to kill him. They’re possessing people Eddie and Molly know from the old days, using them as proxies to try and take revenge on Eddie for some unknown deed.

From a floating psychic business (which sounded an awful lot like the helicarrier from the Avengers movies) to last chance hospitals and weird science experiments, Eddie and Molly try to find Dr. DOA and a cure. The problem is, even their contacts don’t seem to know if DOA is real and where he/she might be if they are.

Eddie and Molly wreak their own particular brand of havoc in a last chance hospital, an enormous science lab under a mountain and crashed space ship in Wales. Because where else would you have a crashed space ship?

Dr. DOA leads them both around by the nose and by the troubles that they get into, I can only assume that he’s using them to get rid of some competition before he does his final reveal. And what a final reveal it is!

For several books now, Jack Drood (RIP Jack) has been warning Eddie about the Merlin glass and the Something that lives inside it. I don’t know if Jack knew precisely what was inside it but apparently Dr. DOA learned to manipulate it. Because Dr. DOA is Edmund Drood from the alternate dimension where the Droods were all killed. He is Eddie’s mirror universe evil twin and he wants to do the same thing to the Droods in Eddie’s universe that he did to the Droods in his, kill them all.

But Simon, dear man, has left us hanging! That bastard! He leaves us with a cliff hanger of Eddie and Molly trapped in the Armoury as it was transported to the other Drood hall with no way for them to get home or to warn the others of Edmund, a.k.a.-Dr. DOA. *shakes fists* On the one hand, sonofabitch I hate cliff hanger books (see- Dresden Files, Changes). On the other hand, that means at least one more Secret Histories book! I know that Simon is winding down the series he’s writing in favor of singleton books due to health concerns, so I’m happy he didn’t try and do a hasty finish of the Secret Histories like he did with the Ghost Chasers.

All in all, despite the cliff hanger (or maybe because of it), Dr. DOA is a great read. There’s no need to read the other Secret Histories books, but it would certainly give you background. RatingA