cover image Aloha from Hell

Aloha from Hell

Richard Kadrey. Harper Voyager, $23.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-171432-0

Compelling if cartoon-like ultra-violence and sometimes brilliantly metaphoric language drive Kadrey’s third Sandman Slim contemporary noir fantasy (after 2010’s Kill the Dead). Lucifer has returned to Heaven, leaving a power vacuum in Hell. Mason, the magician whom half-angelic antihero James Stark recently killed, is more than willing to step into the breach, and soon he’s massing demonic forces to attack Heaven and possibly destroy the universe. Manipulating angels, demons, and the monstrous Kissi, Stark must head off a full-scale war, and if that means returning to Hell, he might as well do the Orpheus thing and rescue his dead girlfriend while he’s there. Fittingly, perhaps, Hell turns out to look a lot like Stark’s hometown, Los Angeles, on a very bad day. This installment feels a bit long at times, but its profane mixture of noir atmospherics, black humor, and nonstop action will please Kadrey’s many fans. (Oct.)