omg thank u netgalley for this gem! i was excited mainly because the cover and well MAGIC and my excitement was RIGHT beautiful loved julie’s story tho it dragged on a bit, also the fox !!!!
anyway i read this in 2 days so i don’t have many words to say except holyshit 3.5 stars. you guys should pick it up tbh.
My thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was first so excited to read this new team up with Richard Kadrey and Cassandra Khaw because I'm a huge Sandman Slim fan and the cover of Nothing But Blackened Teeth is dying to make me read it. I'm not sure if it was the individual writers or how two writers' talents mixed, but this book did not work for me on any level. The premise was so promising, sounded like everything I loved about Sandman Slim's harshness and grittiness, and set in the more familiar to me city of New York, but the delivery was terrible. The writing was as undisciplined and shallow as bad fanfiction, with meandering plot points, poorly timed deliveries, characters stuck in their own heads instead of developing the plot, and little character depth.
Has NetGalley changed the way profile feedback is calculated? I mean, the feedback I submit isn't adding to my profile numbers. I know this isn't a publisher's issue; I'm including it here to see if written review changes my submission numbers. I think there's a glitch. And that sucks.
Although this book was verging on ick factor for me, and it portrays many of the characters as the worst of the worst people, I found this book engrossing and it really stuck with me. I would really recommend this book for any Lovecraftian horror fans or body horror.
When I heard that Cassandra Khaw, author of Nothing But Blackened Teeth and The Salt Grows Heavy (both of which received 5 stars from me) and Richard Kadrey of the Sandman Slim novels had written a book together, I jumped at the chance to get a copy. The result, The Dead Take A Train, is a wild, gritty, and humorous blend of magical noir and cosmic horror.
Julie Crews is a down on her luck magic user who is trying to eke out a living fixing supernatural problems in the down and dirty portion of New York City. He ex is a conniving douche who works for an upscale magical megacorp — the kind of guy who would smile while he stabs you in the back in his attempt to climb the corporate ladder. He hires her to do a little task for him, a way of avoiding what is surely a suicide mission.
This leads to a Machiavellian series of events which could ultimately result in the destruction of the universe as we know it. It’s quite possibly the worst time for her normie best friend and unrequited love to show up on her doorstep looking for a place to hide from her abusive husband. Julie has to find a way to stop the Lovecraftian nightmare while keeping her friends safe and maybe, just maybe, stay alive.
If you like your Urban Fantasy dark and with a healthy dose of horror, you need to grab The Dead Take A Train. It is listed as “Carrion City #1.” I sincerely hope that this is the start of a long series of collaborations between these two great authors.
O. M. G.
What a ride. What a FUN ride, if technicolor in it's violence. This book defies explanation. "A dystopian The Firm (by John Grisham)," I read in another review and that honestly feels close, but add in eldrich body horror and you're getting closer.
Julie is a burned out thirty-year-old who works some gruesome jobs. She gets rid of some nasty demons and makes deals with some unsavory entities as she claws her way to the top. Nothing she's seen yet will compare to what's next, the kind of eldrich body horror that haunts your dreams! When Sarah, her best friend and crush, shows up at her door needing help, Julie will do all she can to keep her safe, including setting off a chain of events that may leave Julie and Sarah, and the whole world, on a path to destruction.
Like I said, this book was a fun ride and it won't be one I forget too soon. I'm looking forward to the next one!
Delightfully creepy and a fantastic story that occupied my mind during and after reading it. I hope Khaw and Kadrey team up again!
An awesome beginning to a planned duology. Kadrey and Khaw knock it out of the park. I was very impressed with the quality of the writing, the engaging characters, the sumptuous plot, and the smooth collaboration between the authors.
The Dead Take the A Train gives me Dresden Files vibes. The characters are fun and well-formed. The story is interesting, and the authors don't shy away from using gore.
There are some holes in the story, but considering this is a planned duology, I assume (hope) the next book will take care of those.
The ending is a little anti-climactic, but again, I feel the second book will explain why.
Despite these issues, I give it 5 stars, because I had way too much fun with this story.
So if you loved Sandman Slim, this will take you to the next level. I wasn't familiar with Cassandra Khaw, but if this is her work with Richard, its PHENOMINAL! HUGE fan, will absolutely be following this series!
This was so much fun. I absolutely love Cassandra Khaw, which led me to request in the first place, but wow what a great story!
Super unique world building, and I love the characters.
Reading this book felt like a fever dream. Everything felt otherworldly and on the verge of being too much. There were multiple things going on simultaneously that you find yourself interested in and wanting to know more but appreciating that the authors left them undefined. For example: the weird and demented law firm that works with some sort of entity to rule the world (what even IS the mother who eats), the magical bookstore that houses a speakeasy for odd creatures and humans of the grungy magic underground of NYC (I would not want to drink there), the magic huntress (of sorts) that drinks away her money problems and keeps losing interns because of unnerving and traumatic magical encounters (I would quit too).
The fact that there is a second book coming out has me on my toes because I both want to read it and feel as though maybe The Dead Take the A Train might have been enough for me. Lets be real, I am probably going to read book two.
The Dead Take the A Train has the business heirarchy and magical monsters of The Rook (Daniel O'Malley), the elitist culture and mystique of Ninth House (Leigh Bardugo), and the crude characters and horrorifying creature concepts of Nestlings (Nat Cassidy). If you have read any of those you might enjoy this collaborative horror-fantasy effort.
Really enjoyed this book. It was the perfect blend of story meets unimaginable horror.
Right from the start it threw you into the world and let you know that it wasn't messing around with gore and a sassy attitude.
This was a dark and disturbing horror, and such a refreshing read for me! The pace is fast, I loved Julie and the grittiness of her character. This was my first novel by Kadrey and Khaw, and I was super blown away by them.
Really wavered between 3.75 and 4 because I just did not like Julie. She knew her flaws and short comings, but still would just excuse her fuck ups as "that's who I am what're ya gonna do" 🤷♀️
That being said though, the gore was great and I liked the plot. The writing was easy and descriptive enough you could picture these Lovecraftian monsters.
Still a bit confused as to how magic works in this world but hopefully it gets less confusing as the series goes on!
Man, I love NYC as a character. I love it. It always gets me. Khaw is a favorite of mine, and I was excited to check out this collab. Two bisexual women and a cast of non-human characters being actively chased down by their exes. There's aliens. There's monsters. There's GORE. There's so much gore. Did I say it was gory?
There are missteps here. The story lines don't always mesh well, the character story lines are a bit clunky, and the dialog is a little cheesy here and there. The fantastical elements and the lore were interesting, but I though the story line around it was presented in a confusing way at times. There were also a few characters that were named once or twice and then brought up chapters later, and I was like, "Who the hell is this again?" But I liked it. It kinda played out like a video game in my head, if that makes any sense at all.
Right from the start, this book plunges you into a world full of zombies and monsters that bring to mind H.P. Lovecraft's Eldritch Terrors, If you like ultra-modern, uncensored prose and don't mind blood, guts, and gore or descriptions of substance use, check it out!
I didn't know anything about this book going into it but I have read several of Kadrey's books and loved them. The Dead Take the A Train was weird fun and the perfect companion for my bus commute into NYC. I don't know what else Cassandra Khaw has written but I will be looking into it. Love you, Richard!
I really wanted to like this book. The cover didn't appeal but the write-up did. I should have stuck with my initial impression. I actually quite enjoyed the first chapter and was excited to see where the story would take me. And then the plot seemed (at least to me) to take a distant second place to the violence. I don't mind a bit of gore or pain if it progresses the story, but it felt like the violence was the point of the writing and that the plot was there simply as a link to the various violent descriptions. I did recommend this book to one customer who specifically asked for something gore-y, but in general I would not hand sell this title.
This was such a fun horror/dark fantasy. With a hardworking demon slaying heroine at it's center making an absolute mess of things throughout the story, I really couldn't put it down and raced through each page. These authors teamed up seamlessly; the character work and storytelling were excellent. It was fast-paced and kept me laughing which was surprise but this was definitely full of satire as well.
I do think the novel was a touch long, but I am still excited for this to be a duology and I can't wait to see how this author duo wraps things up.