Kill the Dead picks up shortly after the end of Sandman Slim and if you didn't read the first book, there would a lot that you would not get right away or just go right over your head. Kadrey does a good job of getting you up to speed but I think there would be a little lost if you hadn't read Sandman Slim. Kadrey also doesn't waste any time getting back into things with an action piece right off the top and let's face it, that's why you would read something like this anyway, for some hard nosed action. I also like that Kadrey has no problems going for the brass ring and bringing in the heavy hitters. What does that mean? Read the book and find out.
I've read too many books that are looking to drag things out for the sequel or to continue the series that it sometimes feels that things aren't progressing or going anywhere anytime soon. Not this series (of two so far). Kadrey keeps the action moving and, in a departure from the first, the development of Stark (Sandman Slim) beyond the sociopath bent on revenge to....something else. He was fairly one dimensional in the first book but here, in amongst the action pieces, we get some growth with Stark that added a change a pace as the one tune Stark gets stale after a while.
I highly recommend the Sandman Slim books if you're into that sort of thing, fast paced action of the urban fantasy variety. I can't wait for book three!
My Grade: A