The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey Reviewed

Richard Kadrey
Harper Voyager

One of my fondest memories is sitting down and interviewing Richard Kadrey. I wasn’t in the best of places at the time and almost backed out. I’m glad I didn’t.

One thing I’ve in life I’ve found to be very rare, is to be able to have a conversation with somebody who knows certain songs or has had the exact same film scenes imprinted on the lives. I could have talked to him for hours.

The interview was based around the release of one of the Sandman Slim novels. That series is bad ass. I’m not going to go on about that here. If you don’t know those books, get after them. I will say that Sandman Slim is the definition of an anti-hero and I may be mildly jealous of the mind that created him.

The thing is with such a prolific series, I’ve found that quite often the writer gets chained to that series. Look at is this way….. James Gandolfini was an amazing actor. However, most people will forever associate him with Tony Soprano. They forget the subtle performances in films like The Mexican or Killing Them Softly. The man was an actor.

Richard Kadrey, while having created Sandman Slim is a motherfucking writer. I hope all of you feel what I’m saying and am tracking where I’m going with this.

A few years back he released Dead SET, a stand alone novel, which I feel is one of the most haunting and memorable books I’ve read in the last 5 years. It showed a fearlessness to step outside the box and go in a new direction. I love that. You have to free yourself to try new things. Flex all the muscles, not just the ones for show.

Richard Kadrey has done it again with his new novel THE EVERYTHING BOX. I knew from the moment I had the book in my hands that it was something different. I knew this was going to be a whole new world. And I knew I would need new eyes.

Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I’ve read the book once and I’m in the process of a second read because while it appears to be a simple tale at first glance, in reality it’s much more complex and requires your imagination and that’s not a bad thing. There is a lot going on. It made me use my imagination in ways I’m unaccustomed to and I loved that.

The book starts out in 2000 BC. An angel is looking over humanity at it’s wretched worst. God has given him a job. It’s to administer that final coup de gras. Think of it like a mafia hitter has the target at his feet and with one shot, it’s done. That’s what this angel is about to do. He is in possession of an object that will end humanity. However this angel is not……ok, the dumb fuck instead of just coldly pulling the trigger, he finds out he lost the object because he spent to much time being all egotistical and waxing poetic about the task he was given.

Humanity does not end. Life goes on.

Fast forward to 2015 AD. A thief by the name of Coop who specializes in the theft of magic objects gets hired for a special job by a mysterious client. He has to get an object. He does not know what it is, what it does. What he does find out fast is that a large cast of……. ghosts, magicians, the undead…..basically every other-worldy being and/or freak in Los Angeles wants the object as well.

Mayhem ensues.

rkWhat took me by surprise was the level of humor the book contained. I laughed out loud more than once and anybody who knows me knows I’m a humorless fuck. Yeah, there is blood; it’s a Richard Kadrey book. But it’s truly funny at times. The characters are very much original and none were close to what I expected.

I thought this review would be easier to write but I don’t think there is anyway I can do this book the justice it deserves. I am purposely not giving up much.

I loved it.

I applaud Richard Kadrey for thinking this story up and getting it out there. I do think some people won’t know what to think, maybe find the humor too much while others will be drawn to it .Others will discover a great writer because of it. It’s not Sandman Slim and I love that. For everyone else there is a new Sandman Slim coming in the next few months

Dave Wahlman