New Fiction: Dead Set – Richard Kadrey

When a colleague told me that the author of the “Sandman Slim” novels had written a standalone that could work as a YA crossover novel, I couldn’t quite believe my ears. The action in Sandman Slim might well be called “eyeball searing.” (William Gibson said of the first one that it’s  “The best B movie I’ve read in at least twenty years. An addictively satisfying, deeply amusing, dirty-ass masterpiece.”)

Needless to say, I had to read it–and was the happier for having done so. Kadrey ably adds to coming-of-age fiction with the story of a teen girl coming to terms with her father’s death. But Kadrey being Kadrey, this dark fantasy involves a journey that starts in a used record store, where the souls of the dead are caught on vinyl, keeping them from making their final journey. When the shop’s proprietor offers Zoe the chance to see her father again, both Zoe and the reader start an adventure that Cory Doctorow calls “supernatural horror with deep punk roots.”

Dead Set was featured as part of Publishers Weekly’s “Most Anticipated Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Novels / Fall 2013” and the Los Angeles Times just did a feature on Kadrey and the book.

A fantastic supernatural horror novel with deep punk roots … Kadrey’s underworld is a gloomy mirror of the overworld with all its injustice and broken dreams, and Zoe’s battle with her fear and her honorable spirit put her in enough jeopardy for six novels.
— Cory Doctorow

This bittersweet and elegiac fantasy will appeal to both fantasy fans and mainstream readers.”
— Publishers Weekly

“An intelligent stand-alone tale of quiet horror that should appeal to Kadrey’s many fans, as well as to lovers of more subtle shivers.”
— Library Journal

“If punk and underworld mythology got into the mosh pit, it would come out something like this book; spiky and pretty with lashings of black eyeliner and its heart tattooed on its sleeve.”
— Lauren Beukes

Dead Set (9780062283016) by Richard Kadrey. $22.99 hardcover. 10/29/13 on sale.

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