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1. High Cotton: Selected Stories
2. Sunset and Sawdust
3. The Best of Joe R. Lansdale
4. Lost Echoes
5. Leather Maiden (Vintage Crime/Black
6. Bad Chili: A Hap and Leonard Novel
7. Rumble Tumble: A Hap and Leonard
8. The Bottoms (Vintage Crime/Black
9. Act of Love
10. Mucho Mojo: A Hap and Leonard
11. Cataclysm in Worm Town Jonah Hex
12. Vanilla Ride (Vintage Crime/Black
13. Batman in Terror on the High Skies
14. The Shadows Kith and Kin
15. Devil Red (Hap and Leonard)
16. Crucified Dreams
17. The Drive-In (A B-Movie with Blood
18. Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard
19. Fine Dark Line, A
20. Lightspeed Magazine, October 2010

1. High Cotton: Selected Stories of Joe R. Lansdale
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 267 Pages (2003-07-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930846177
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
This collection of Joe R. Lansdale stories represents the best of the "Lansdale" genre-a strange mixture of dark crime, even darker humor, and adventure tales. The stories are varied in setting and theme, but they are all pure Lansdale-eerie, amusing, and occasionally horrific. In "The Pit," modern gladiators square off against one another using Roman methods. An alternate-history tale called "Trains Not Taken" shows Buffalo Bill as an ambassador and Wild Bill Hickok as a clerk. Lansdale's love of large lizards and humor are evident in the stories "Godzilla's Twelve Step Program" and "Bob the Dinosaur Goes to Disneyland."Amazon.com Review
Like Stephen King, Joe R. Lansdale is a powerful and versatile author. He writes frequently funny, often disturbing suspense, horror, dark fantasy,science fiction, and Western fiction. And like King, he has a strong senseof place: he successfully invokes the spirit of the West and demonstratesa wonderful and distinctly Texan gift for a phrase. But don't be fooled--the resemblances are superficial. Joe R. Lansdale writes like nobody but his own self. And, unjustly, he's not yet a bestselling author.

The genre-jumping collection High Cotton is subtitled Selected Stories of Joe R. Lansdale, but could more rightly be called The Best of Joe R. Lansdale. If you haven't read Lansdale, this is the place to start. If you like Lansdale, you already know you want this collection, even if you already own By Bizarre Hands, which contains 7 of these 21 stories. If, however, you are of a delicate constitution or a sensitive nature, you might want to steer clear. Lansdale can be blunt, or gross, or grim, sometimes all at once.

Most of the stories in High Cotton are excellent, and some arealready classics. "Night They Missed the Horror Show," a tale of boredyoung hell-raisers who discover dreadful new depths of trouble, is one ofthe great horror stories of the 20th century. The alternate-history Western"Letter from the South, Two Moons West of Nacogdoches" packs a lot of big(and shocking) changes into four pages. In the crime story "The SteelValentine," a fading athlete finds himself the captive of his lover'smerciless, criminal husband. In "The Phone Woman," a man discovers hishorrifying true nature in a violent act. And in the screwball "MisterWeed-Eater," a man's life is turned upside-down and inside-out by hisinnocent attempt to help a blind groundskeeper.

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over 20 books, including the HapCollins and Leonard Pine mystery series. He has won the American MysteryAward, the Booklist Editor's Award, five Bram Stoker Awards, theBritish Fantasy Award, and the International Crime Writers Award. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

3-0 out of 5 stars Southern-fried Horror
Joe R. Lansdale's peculiar mix of horror, South-West American mores, humor and attention to the morally repugnant in the story collection 'High Cotton' is always only going to appeal to a minority.Judging from the other reviews, many in that minority are enthusiastic enough to write their opinions down - an indication that if you are already a fan of Mr. Lansdale's quirky style, then 'High Cotton' is sure to satisfy.Those who are not familiar with this author, or who aren't aware that they are familiar with him, should use their previous experience with modern horror stories as a guide.Mr. Lansdale is, for the most part, an engaging story-teller - but those readers who are squeamish, easily offended, or against graphic depictions of violence will probably be upset or turned off by the collection.

The twenty-one stories of 'High Cotton' are split equally into thirds; those I thought were entertaining to excellent, those I felt ambivalent about, and those that would have made the collection stronger if they had been left out.Almost all of the last example were short-short stories, consising of only a few pages apiece.The quality of these varied from squirm-inducing ('My Dead Dog Bobby') to silly ('Godzilla's 12-step program', 'Bob the Dinosaur Goes to Disneyland'), but it was the short format that I found lacking, over and against any technical proficiency.The middle group of stories were either derivitive, or else they waltzed to close to the line where I feel disgust rather than horror.

Every human activity is eligible for examination, but the success or failure of looking at its uglier aspects depends on how the author handles the material.Simply describing actions considered taboo may have some shock value, but it doesn't work as horror - an example would be the film 'Hostel', more pornography than horror.Back to Mr. Lansdale's collection, several of his stories, by concentrating on the shock value, miss out on the potential to be truly unsettling.One of the best stories, 'Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back', gets the difference, and gets it just right.Two other stories, one exemplifying an effective tale ('The Night They Missed the Horror Show') and the other an ineffective one ('Drive-In Date), are harder to quantify just what exactly makes them different, let alone a success or failure.To me, it comes down to concentration on character rather than situation.When the focus of the story is on an activity, then I feel my nose is being rubbed in something unpleasant.When it is about the character, I'm engaged, or at least have the potential to be.

There is one other aspect to Mr. Lansdale's writing that I feel is important to mention.These stories take place in the rural south, and the dialogue of many of the characters is dotted with slurs and derogatory comments that are sure to offend sensitive ears.Personally, I feel that Mr. Lansdale was trying to make a point about types of people that certainly exist, and he was intent on presenting them realistically.I can go along with that, but the author often made his point early in the story, and then made it again and again and again.Regardless, if you find the atom-bomb of racial slurs to be unfit in any context, then skip 'High Cotton'.

For those who aren't aware of it, the somewhat obscure film 'Bubba Ho-Tep' was adapted from a novella of Mr. Lansdale's (not included in 'High Cotton') - readers who enjoyed the quirky elements of that film will see stylistic similarity in some of the stories included here (perhaps best in 'Steppin' out, Summer, '68'), though one shouldn't look for the theme of the film repeated over and over.One of the strengths of this collection is it's variety, which is also one of its weaknesses.Seven four- and five-star stories, seven three-star, and seven one- and two-star stories - that makes it a three-star average for the entire collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pour it on, Mr. Lansdale.
As a fledgling horror writer, I'm trying to digest some bits and pieces from masters of the genre. Consider this review more of a discussion of what I liked in the book. Like I said, I'm a fledgling writer myself, and once you start creating something, you realize how much easier it is to criticize than create--so I'm trying to keep it on the positive.

I enjoyed much of High Cotton. Personal highlights include "Mister Weed-Eater", "The Night They Missed the Horror Show", "Incident on and Off a Mountain Road", and my favorite, "Steppin' Out, Summer, '68". Each of these tales forced my hand, made me keep turning those pages to see what bizzare sight waited around the corner. Each contained just the right mix of black humor for my taste.

In this mix of 21 tales, the reader really gains a respect for Lansdale's style of storytelling. He is from East Texas, and you hear the voice throughout, even when the story might be a bit wide of the darkly humorous horror for which he's known. A warning to the squeamish: this book will offend your senses and offers enough racial ephitats to make political correctness roll around in it's grave.

Lansdale knows how to entertain, and when he's on his game, he's among the best.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enter the dark world of Joe R. Lansdale
I bought this book because I wanted to read the original story from which a first season episode of Showtime's "Masters of Horror" was built around.The episode was "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road", and both the television adaptation and- I was happy to learn when I received "High Cotton" from Amazon- the original Lansdale story are top notch.In fact, the TV show was excellent largely due to its sticking extremely close to the Lansdale original.

Happily, there are many other great stories in this collection other than "Incident".As other reviewers have pointed out here, the stories range from darkly humorous to dark & gritty, the dark & gritty ones being my favorites.There are also a few good stories of the ironic and darkly poetic variety, where some poor schmuck gets an undeserved ton of bricks dropped on his life for no other reason than fate sometimes does that (I'm thinking mostly of the story involving the guy who tries to help the seemingly pathetic blind groundskeeper).The outright "funny" stories, like the one about Godzilla being in the twelve-step program (he wants to stop stomping on tourists), and the story about the inflatable dinosaur who wanted to visit Disneyland so he could meet Mickey Mouse, are also okay, but less memorable than the dark & gritty stories, which usually involve hapless characters taking a wrong turn somewhere and in short order finding themselves in the midst of one form or another of earthly hell.

Sensitive readers should note that there are many instances of racist humor, and many racist observations, throughout the book, as this or that character spouts something ignorant.In fact, there's so much of it that I started thinking that the author perhaps had a benign view of such things, or maybe even held those views himself.But, no, it ultimately becomes clear that Mr. Lansdale is just trying to accurately show how many people talk and think, and also demonstrate that such thoughts and observations can mean one of several things: that the character in question truly IS racist, or might just be a little ignorant and stupid but not truly bad.I say this because in several instances (especially in the last story), a couple of SEEMING racists meet up (after one of those wrong turns) with a group of true, hateful, monstrous racists, and... well, let's just say Mr. Lansdale makes it clear that there's a difference between dumb, ignorant spoutings and true evil.

With the exception of the occasional inflatable dinosaur and the not-as-friendly-as-it-seems housecat (and even the tales containing those offbeat elements were perfectly engaging), these are intense, dark, memorable stories, and I look forward to experiencing more Joe R. Lansdale in the near future.Just not quite yet.There's some grim stuff here, and I could use a breather.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lansdale's Best-Of Collection
So, "High Cotton" reprints several of Lansdale's personally selected best stories.These stories, all of them except for one are also featured in his original collections "By Bizarre Hands", "Bestsellers Guaranteed", and "Writer of the Purple Rage", and are arguably the best of the stories featured in the original (and out of print) books.

Lansdale's follow-up, "Bumper Crop" collects many of the rest, but not very many stories from "Writer of the Purple Rage."If you can get a copy of "Purple Rage" get it.It has the original "Bubba Ho-Tep" novella, which is one of Lansdale's best stories and was made into the wonderful movie starring Bruce Campbell, which may be one of the most faithful adaptations of a writer's work ever put on film.

Anyway, "Booty and the Beast" is the newest (to me) story in this collection, which centers around a specific item associated with the Virgin Mary that brings doom to those who possess it.It is an entertaining story.The best stories here, however, are the ones his true fans have read before: "The Night They Missed the Horror Show" (his signature story), "The Phone Woman", and "Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back", "Not From Detroit", and many others.The stories also have introductions by Lansdale telling how they were conceived.There is also an introduction at the front of the book explaining how he came to write short stories and why he deosn't write as many anymore.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the stories again and I hope this one stays in print for a long time, so that readers don't have to track down out of print collections to see what a fabulous writer this man is.These are the stories that made him famous, using his unique blend of humor, horror, and gritty realism to form a truly effective story.Highly Recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars The best short story collection EVER!
High Cotton by Joe R. Lansdale is the best short story collection I have ever read so far!The stories are funny and will make you laugh aloud -- so don't read this book in public places! Funny story: I was reading this book whilst waiting to board the plane in the airport, and I could not stop laughing!Security guards started to crowd around me -- just because I was acting in a 'peculiar manner' due to the loud laughing... so Joe R. Lansdale, it's your fault people are laughing out loud in public places whilst reading your book!Read this book and you will know what all the fuss is about. ... Read more

2. Sunset and Sawdust
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 336 Pages (2005-01-04)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$4.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375719229
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In the middle of a cyclone, beautiful, red-haired Sunset Jones shoots her husband Pete dead when he tries to beat and rape her. To Camp Rapture’s general consternation, Sunset’s mother-in-law arranges for her to take over from Pete as town constable.As if that weren’t hard enough to swallow in depression era east Texas, Sunset actually takes the job seriously, and her investigation into a brutal double murder pulls her into a maelstrom of greed, corruption, and unspeakable malice.It is a case that will require a well of inner strength she never knew she had. Spirited and electrifying, Sunset and Sawdust is a mystery and a tale like nothing you’ve read before. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Dazed and Amazed with Sunset and Sawdust
Sunset Jones has just shot her no good abusive husband, Pete, the former town constable. Little did she know that this was only the beginning of her problems! Almost as soon as Pete fell to the floor dead, a raging storm comes through town, tearing down her house. Sunset is dazed and amazed as she looks at the remains: some boards, the floor and some papers that Pete had filed - she gathers her wits and heads over to her mother-in-law Marilyn's house to confess.

Marilyn is sad and shocked over her son's death, but deep down she knows he got what he deserved. He'd cheated on Sunset and used to beat her. In fact, Sunset's killing of Pete gives Marilyn the courage to kick her no good husband to the curb!

Marilyn is well to do in the town of Camp Rapture, Texas - she owns the sawmill where half the town works and a chunk of the land as well. She also has the power to appoint Sunset as the new town constable. Enter Clyde and Hillbilly, two of the sawmill workers, who Sunset makes

Things really get cooking when word gets out that Pete had filed a report on a baby's body that was found on a farm and now woman's body has turned up, who just happens to be Pete's mistress. While Clyde and Hillbilly try to win Sunset over, she realizes that it is up to her to figure out who killed Pete's mistress, before she gets blamed for it!

I really enjoyed Sunset and Sawdust and found it to be a good mix of mystery, old western, humor, and sleuthing. All in all, a great book!

4-0 out of 5 stars "If I can put one touch of ...sunset into the life of ...man, I have worked with God." Gilbert K. Chesterton
It's the depression era in East Texas. The Klu Klux Klan is active and many Texas men believe that if they smack their wives around, they won't be held accountable for their actions.

Constable Pete Jones comes home drunk and beats his wife, Sunset, and is in the process of raping her when she reaches for his revolver and puts a bullet in his head, killing him.

Since the tiny sawmill town of Camp Rapture, Texas, is now without a law enforcement officer, at a camp meeting, with the help of Sunset's mother-in-law who is a majority owner of the sawmill, Sunset is appointed the new constable on a trial basis. She will be assisted by Clyde Fox and a new man in town who goes by the nickname, Hillbilly.

Soon after her appointment, a body of a dead child is found in the land of the only black farmer in the area. Not long after that, a woman's body is found, shot and covered with oil.

To the surprise of many, Sunset takes her job seriously and tries to learn the functions of the job and to learn who this woman was. As she learns things about the woman, it creates other difficulties for her. In addition, as Sunset is working at the new job, she must resolve issues with her precocious fourteen-year-old daughter and her relationship with her mother-in-law.

As I read the story, the depiction of events was told so vividly that I felt like I could see the action unfolding before me.

The story is very realistic and interesting. I felt drawn to the difficulties that people faced at that time and the courageousness of Sunset Jones.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Texas-style, Depression-era Western, not to be Missed
A twister is raging through the small town of Camp Rapture, Texas. It's raining to beat the band. Wind is god-awful and the head cop in town is raping and abusing his wife Sunset, so called because of her flaming red hear. However, Sunset does not give in easily, she gets Pete's pistol, the one he uses in his job as town constable, and kills him. The town is sympathetic and in no time at all, and with the help of her mother-in-law who owns the town's sawmill, she's takes over his position.

Meanwhile, east near the Louisiana border, a good-looking, guitar-player named Hillbilly hops a freight going west. Two men in the car jump him and Hillbilly kills them, but not before his guitar is destroyed in the fracas. Now he needs money for another guitar, so he heads to Camp Rapture and a job at the mill.

Sunset needs a couple deputies and since work is the four letter word Hillbilly hates most, he volunteers. The next day a dead baby, packed in a jar, and the body of a local prostitute are discovered and now the tale takes off. The story at times seems a bit low key, but the tension always seems to be on the front burner, if that's possible. Mr. Lansdale has put many unforgettable characters in this memorable, often humorous, suspense-packed novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Lansdale's "The Bottoms" and I remember thinking books don't get any better, well they do. Pick up this one and you'll see what I mean.

4-0 out of 5 stars And Blood and Oil...
"Sunset and Sawdust" doesn't waste anytime letting you know what you're getting into: a raucous roller coaster of East Texas mayhem and violence, starting right off with red-haired bombshell Sunset Jones half naked, being beaten and raped by her drunken town constable husband Pete.But leave it to the cagey Joe Lansdale to consider a rape and beating too commonplace to fill an entire scene.So it all has to happen during a tornado.Which is tearing the house apart as Sunset is being raped.But not just any tornado.A tornado of Biblical proportions, with frogs and fish and maybe even Dorothy and Todo being dropped from the sky.And then Sunset shoots Pete in the head.We're on page two...

Welcome to Camp Rapture, East Texas, circa Great Depression.And welcome to Joe Lansdale, if not America's most talented spinner of homespun wisdom and mighty yarns, certainly one of the most prolific.So Sunset, with the unlikely support of her mother-in-law, goes on to pick up the constable duties of the husband she murdered, setting the stage for an improbable but no less entertaining saga of crime and corruption, justice and injustice, treachery and redemption, set among the oak and sweet gum forests in a steamy East Texas summer.Using a grisly double murder as enough of a plot against which a rich and motley cast than sling around Lansdale's unparalleled country bantered slang, Sunset deploys her common sense and country spine to solve the mystery through a bunch of twists and turns along the way.

As expected from Lansdale, he renders a cast of memorable characters, from the fiery Sunset to the malevolent McBride and his darkly mysterious sidekick "Two", and especially the guitar-twanging, quick-fisted hobo "Hillbilly." And like most of Lansdale's writing, this one brings along some serious morale undertones, set deep in racial tension and racial disgrace; the deep south in the worst days of her bigotry, delivered without apology or excuse.It's days of cotton candy innocence poorly hiding ugly undercurrents of hate and ignorance and the neat contrast of simpler times that really weren't all that simple. Plenty of action, a bit of history, and a generous helping of American culture add up for a wildly enjoyable page-turner, echoing Lansdale's classic "The Bottoms."Pick this one up if you missed it first time around.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good reading and story by Lansdale, too bad it's abridged
The only reason to read this abridged audio book is because Joe Lansdale hisownself is reading it. Joe has that Texas drawl that fits the story perfectly as its set in depression era Texas. Now he's not the best reader, but because of his drawl and its his own story make it a must to listen to.

The story is pretty decent too, not great, but decent. It starts off where a woman kills her husband who is the local constable and eventually takes over the position. And she finds a whole heap of corruption that has been going on in the area on the account of the new oil that is being found in Texas. This is a mystery story by Lansdale and while not bad, it's not one of his best mysteries. Still it was a great listen, as Joe hisownself read the story. ... Read more

3. The Best of Joe R. Lansdale
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 384 Pages (2010-02-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1892391945
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

By turns absurd, hilarious, and terrifying, this outrageous collection features the best writings of the high priest of Texan weirdness. Odd-ball detectives, malicious rocks, spectral prehistoric fish, and vampire hunters permeate these vividly detailed stories. Featuring cult-classic award-winning tales such as “Night They Missed the Horror Show” and “Mad Dog Summer,” along with nonfiction forays into drive-in theaters and low budget films, this dynamic retrospective represents the broad spectrum of Lansdale’s career. “Bubba Hotep”—the tale of Elvis, John F. Kennedy, and a soul-sucking mummy, which was made into an award-winning film—is included along with the acclaimed novella, “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks,” and never before collected works. Original, compelling, and downright odd, this unforgettable compilation is essential reading for fans of horror, mystery, and southern gothic.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Joe is still the best!
Joe R. Lansdale is still as sharp as a razor blade.His mixture of satire, horror, and mystery, mixed with atmospheric social commentary is both entertaining and thought provoking.His originality is a refreshing change from the mediocraty so often seen in recent literature.The one complaint I have is no Hap and Leonard stories.

4-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Lansdale Rocketh
I own pretty much everything and anything written by Joe R. Lansdale, who is dark and funny and weirdly profound all at the same time. His writing is unique, generally brilliant and always original.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rogues Gallery
Joe Lansdale is the bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred voice of American fiction - a shrewd genius who buries in what seems on the surface to be good ole boy yucks and corn pone a keen insight and deep morality."The Best ofJoe R. Lansdale" is an extraordinarily entertaining anthology that captures the author's versatility and brilliance - a thrill and chill-packed collection of short stories crossing boundaries of horror, drama, and cynically black humor - all creative, off-the-wall, and a lot of fun.

There's not a turkey in the bunch, but my favorites:

"The Big Blow": a fictional but well-researched tale of the deadly Galveston hurricane of 1900, spiced with an illicit boxing match between the first black heavy weight champion, Jack Johnson, and the most vile, despicably drawn opponent I can even remember reading.

"Mad Dog Summer": a moving and poignant tale of racial tension and Great Depression economics combined with gothic mystery - suspenseful with a supernatural lilt.I assume this was the basis for "The Bottoms," one of my all-time favorite Lansdale novels.

"Incidents On and Off a Mountain Road": classic suspense and horror with a wicked and totally unexpected twist.

"On the Far Side of the Cadillac Dessert with Dead Folks": with a title like this, you know you're gonna get an extra dose of Lansdale's mischief.Sure to offend many, leave it to Lansdale to twist zombies and Disney and Christianity around a malignant version of a Michael Crichton plot.

"Bubba Ho-Tep": so what if Elvis really was still alive, and it was actually an Elvis impersonator that died?Whatever you can imagine, I can pretty much guarantee this is not what you're thinking.

"The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out in a Harlequin Romance": another wacky-great title, leading into an unlikely murder mystery with well drawn characters featuring Lansdale's unique brand of humor and razor-sharp metaphors.

And perhaps the best, "Steppin' Out, Summer, `68": a coming of age tale so darkly funny that only Lansdale's beautifully warped mind could have spun a story that so-well captures the pressures and myths of a trio of teens' passage into adulthood combined with such hilariously disastrous results.Terrific character development, a sneaky pace, and an outrageous climax make this a classic that deserves a bushel of awards.

Trust me - Joe Lansdale is the real deal, an all original American treasure.If you haven't discovered him yet, I can't think of a better place to start than here.And for the fan, what I great place to get some additional insight into the source of the author's creativity and prolificacy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stories,like grandma use to tell.........
Letting the imagination take flight,(What a beautiful cover)THE BEST OF JOE R. LANSDALE, the stories
from this man have stuck with me for years, always look forward
to whatever he pulls out of his head, he is a master of his craft and what can you say about this "Best of", I'm sure their are actually many
of Joe's favorites included here, I've read many of these stories(many, many times over already) but
from the cover art to the back this is first class assault to the senses, one hell of a ride into the odd, bizarre & mixed with heart and soul and some real life sprinkled in.A best of collection to
take out and enjoy for all its thrilling, off the wall stories. Still
knows how to dig deep and tell a mean story and a favorite with
few peers to compare to. Long live Joe R. Lansdale!! ... Read more

4. Lost Echoes
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 341 Pages (2007-02-13)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307275442
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
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Product Description
Since a mysterious childhood illness, Harry Wilkes has experienced horrific visions. Gruesome scenes emerge to replay themselves before his eyes. Triggered by simple sounds, these visions occur anywhere a tragic event has happened. Now in college, Harry feels haunted and turns to alcohol to dull his visionary senses. One night, he sees a fellow drunk easily best three muggers. In this man, Harry finds not only a friend that will help him kick the booze, but also a sensei who will teach him to master his unusual gift. Soon Harry’s childhood crush, Kayla, comes and asks for help solving her father’s murder. Unsure of how it will affect him, Harry finds the strength to confront the dark secrets of the past, only to unveil the horrors of the present. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars 100% Pure Mojo Magic By Joe R. Lansdale
Joe Lansdale is a writer who can pull off just about anything. Horror, Suspense, Mystery, Humor, you name it, when he sets his mind to it, it sprouts to life within the pages of his books.

And Lost Echoes is no exception to this statement.

This is the story of Harry Wilkes, a kid who develops a strange ear infection, then comes to realize that when he's anywhere near a place where a violent crime took place, through sounds, he can relive these violent pasts through flashes of intense visions.

For example, if Harry is in a car where a murder took place, and someone throws a book in the backseat and it slams down hard enough to make a sound, within that sound are the memories of the murder. And what ensues is those memories being played out in Harry's mind.

Not a fun gift to have, but you'll find Harry learns to use it in a positive way.

Throughout the story Harry drinks to numb this gift, then meets Tad, a fellow drunk and also a martial arts expert who, in time, comes to be a teacher and father-like figure to Harry, and definitely a mentor.

Soon Harry and Tad find themselves wound up tight in a murder mystery, and the story really takes off. But this entire book, from page one, will have you glued to the pages, unable to put it down. Joe Lansdale will have you finishing this one in two days at the most-trust me, I couldn't stop reading it.

Whether you're just now discovering the magic of Lansdale's storytelling, or are already a fan just getting around to grabbing this one, do not miss out on Lost Echoes, because it's one killer piece of storytelling by one of the masters.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Minor Effort
I really admire Joe Lansdale's writing talents, but LOST ECHOES is definitely one of his lesser books.I found it an entertaining, well-written diversion, but little more than that.

LOST ECHOES is essentially a thriller with a supernatural twist.It's hero is a young man with the ability to see visions of violent crimes that have been committed in the past.It starts off quite well, when Lansdale describes the young man's discovery of his power and how it affects his childhood and young adulthood.Lansdale really excels at telling a coming-of-age story, and all the early scenes of this novel are quite compelling.

But LOST ECHOES falters after the midway mark, when Lansdale tries to introduce a half-baked murder mystery plot that is filled with a lot of unbelievable events and coincidences.As always with Lansdale, the dialogue is funny and well done, but the characterization is rather two-dimensional in spots, and I thought many of the supporting characters were underdeveloped.This book also has quite a bit of romance in it, but none of it is well done or convincing -- women just fall over the main character for no good reason.

I think Lansdale was trying to write something more light-hearted and fun here, and I think LOST ECHOES does succeed at that level.This is a fine entertainment that doesn't take itself too seriously.Still, if you never read Lansdale before, my strong advice is to read THE BOTTOMS, which has a better plotline and far more convincing characters.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Sounds of Ghosts
This is a pretty compelling piece of small town horror/mystery from Joe Lansdale. The main character Harry has the unhappy ability to see visions of past hideous crimes, triggered by the sounds made by nearby objects. After fearing his visions for years, and becoming an alcoholic in the process, Harry resolves to use his strange power to solve the murder of his girlfriend's father. Lansdale has great skill at intricate plot construction, with small details (my personal favorite is the darts) coming back in surprising ways, like the best of traditional whodunits. There are great horror elements to this story as well, and the climax is very well constructed.

However, a few weaknesses prevent this book from achieving true greatness. Harry's misadventures with a nasty rich girl add little to the story, and the villains are introduced in short side chapters that sit awkwardly in the early parts of the book before being fully integrated into the story much later. The villains are also pretty monochromatic and too talkative about their motivations. The biggest problem is the character of Harry's confidant, Tad, who is too many literary archetypes rolled up into one - especially his role as the independently wealthy benefactor (a true cop-out for any skilled author). But otherwise, Lansdale has delivered a readable and compelling modern crime thriller with strong elements of horror and a restrained use of the supernatural. [~doomsdayer520~]

5-0 out of 5 stars One of favorite Lansdale books
I liked everything about this book.I enjoyed his other books but have gotten tired of the gore fest genre.I really enjoyed the main characters - Harry, Tad, Kayla - and would like to see them back in future book(s).Maybe some of the things that happen in the book were a little "out there" but you know what - it's a book, it's fiction, and it's allowed.Who wants to always read about something that can actually happen?

5-0 out of 5 stars Works on every level
I've followed Lansdale for twenty years-read his "Twilight Zone Magazine" short stories like a kid tearing into a Halloween bag of candy. So my expectations are high. Often-with other writers-that leads to disappointment. Not with Mr. Lansdale and especially Lost Echoes. The heroes aren't clean-cut, but they aren't nasties you're ashamed to like. There's a nice balance. Lansdale's dialog is wicked cool (but I agree with one of the other reviewers that it doesn't always click. I chock that up to not every attempt at being fresh is going to also be good. I'd rather have some duds than a book full of dull writing, which Lansdale has never put out). This one keeps you turning pages and the surprises are shocking. ... Read more

5. Leather Maiden (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 304 Pages (2009-08-18)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375719237
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Abrash amalgam of terrifying suspense, raw humor, and intriguing mystery that unfolds in the vividly rendered shadowy lowlands of East Texas.

After a harrowing stint in the Iraq war, Cason Statler returns home to the small East Texas town of Camp Rapture, where he drinks too much, stalks his ex-wife, and takes a job at the local paper, only to uncover notes on a cold case murder. With nothing left to live for and his own brother connected to the victim, he makes it his mission to solve the crime. Soon he is drawn into a murderous web of blackmail and deceit. To makematters worse, his deranged buddy Booger comes to town to lend a helping hand. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

2-0 out of 5 stars scooby doo only vulgar
This book got dumber and dumber with each turn of the page.In fact, it is just dumb. A disgruntled Iraq veteran returns to write for the local hometown newspaper after being nominated for a Pulitzer prize.He starts investigating a missing person case, but soon gets tangled up in a blackmail scheme involving his brother; who just happens to be a professor at the local college.The only thing missing is the mystery machine, that may be too much suspense credit as the author tells you pretty much everything. It's too bad you have to waste almost three hundred pages figuring out what you are already told. This is just a horrible book, the writing is good but the story sucks. It is not realistic, the main character can somehow out dupe the local cops, they really are the dumbest police force in history. A series of murders happen that are even more stupid that just prolong the misery. If you like long boring mysteries that author just tells you, you will love this!Lansdale may getting some awards for his writing, but I can't see why? Do not read this unless you like movies that tell you everything, who am I kidding the general public will love this!

4-0 out of 5 stars You can't go wrong with Joe Lansdale.
Joe R. Lansdale, Leather Maiden (Knopf, 2008)

I love Joe Lansdale's work. Have for almost thirty years, since I first started reading his stories in the long-defunct Twilight Zone magazine. But every once in a while I forget how enjoyable his work is and don't pick up a Lansdale for three or four years. Then I read one and wonder how I ever let myself go that long without his stuff. I just finished Leather Maiden last night, and what do you know, there's that feeling again.

Cason Statler is a disgraced journalist who does about the only thing he can do--go home. All is forgiven there (probably because no one has any details of his fall from grace), he finds a job covering the social beat with the local paper, and starts stalking the woman who broke up with him long distance. Yes, all in a day's work for a lonely alcoholic journalist, but in the notes of his predecessor, he finds a few allusions to a recent missing persons case that was never solved. This is a chance for him to get back into the big time, and with the help of the spunky office secretary, he gets down to investigating.

East Texas, in the world of Joe Lansdale, is a downright creepy place, and Leather Maiden is no exception to that rule. I tend to think of Lansdale as a horror novelist, because that's where I started reading him, but he has proven his ability to do noir many, many times. So Leather Maiden is right up his alley, and it should be right up the alley of any Lansdale fan. For that matter, even if you're not a Lansdale fan, this is an excellent introduction. Most of his books are, but this is a standalone, which is on the rare side for him these days (he's been writing the Hap and Leonard series for a couple of decades now). Pick it up and get lost in Lansdale's world. *** ½

4-0 out of 5 stars The world according to Joe Lansdale
In the world depicted in Joe Lansdale's fiction, reality is bifurcated.There's the everyday world, where there's sorrow and poverty, but there's also simple love and joy, a place where contentment can be found if one seeks it.Then there's the other side of the coin, the dark, dangerous side, a world that anyone can fall into if they're unlucky or unwary, a world inhabited by bad actors who would kill you just as soon as look at you.It's a world that Lansdale idol John D. MacDonald only hinted at in his novels of the fifties, sixties and seventies (in books like The Executioners, more commonly known as Cape Fear), but which Lansdale has been exploring in explicit detail for the past two decades.

Indeed, Lansdale is again exploring that terrain in Leather Maiden, a contemporary companion piece to other East Texas novels like The Bottoms, A Fine Dark Line, Sunset and Sawdust and a direct descendant of his earliest works of suspense, like Cold in July or the Hap and Leonard novel Savage Season.This time out, Lansdale's hero is Iraqi War veteran and Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Cason Statler, a dangerous, capable man with a self destructive streak which one day may do him in.Returning to his hometown of Camp Rapture, Texas after a scandal at his last place of employment (he slept with his editor's wife AND daughter), Statler accepts a job with the local newspaper, replacing a former staffer.Going through the reporter's files looking for story ideas, he becomes intrigued with a piece about the disappearance of a young woman named Caroline Allison.Statler's inquiries and articles on her disappearance and the likelihood that foul play was involved stir things in Camp Rapture up quite a bit, pulling him into a nightmare scenario that may cost him and his loved ones dearly.

A prime example of noir Lansdale style, Leather Maiden comes replete with jarring plot twists, edge-of-your-seat suspense, sudden, intense violence, wry humor, and an array of memorable supporting characters that constantly threaten to steal the show, such as Margot Timpson, Statler's savvy, irascible and bigoted editor, and his psychotic comrade in arms Booger, a homicidal force of nature who occupies the roles Hawk, Mouse, and Joe Pike fill in Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels, Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins series, and Robert Crais's tales of Elvis Cole. As in prior works, the villains are vivid and absolutely terrifying, providing a stark contrast to the person of Statler's flawed hero.Although they remain off screen for much of the novel, their malign presence is felt throughout.

It's hard to believe that Lansdale has been doing this for as long as he has without getting winded, but his writing remains as vibrant, inventive and engaging as it was twenty years ago, perhaps more so, because of the lessons he's learned along the way.Having carved out a lucrative niche in the suspense field uniquely his own, and having won a Edgar and several Stokers in the process, he has nothing to prove.Fortunately, he keeps outdoing himself with each successive work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lansdale never dissapoints
Great writing, great characters. So worth the time and money. Will continue reading and loving Lansdale for years to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reviewing: "Leather maiden" by Joe R. Lansdale
Cason Statler has returned home to find home, at least on the surface, is pretty much the same while he is not. The East Texas town of Camp Rapture is his last stop on what has been a downward spiral lately. Cynical, trying desperately not to drink himself to oblivion, the former Iraq veteran and Pulitzer nominee has come home in an attempt to get his life back together. Step one is to get hired at the local newspaper called the Camp Rapture Report.

Step two is to deliver the column several times a week, stay sober (or as close to sober as possible) and maybe win the former girlfriend, Gabby, back once and for all. Step two has a lot riding on it on many levels and is much harder to accomplish.

The plan gets off to a rocky start. He does get the job despite the rocky interview with the crusty editor, Mrs. Timpson. Of course, it didn't help that he had really tied one on the night before. Though with his personality and a penchant for pointing out flaws in others directly to them, the fact that he was massively hung over might have helped the interview a little.

What is clear is that Gabby isn't remotely interested in getting back together. She wants absolutely no part of him. While Cason is convinced that he can ultimately get her back, his very successful brother Jimmy insists that she is done with him. Jimmy, the all so perfect brother, has always been a bit of soul crushing envy for Cason. These days, Jimmy is a successful professor at the local college, married with kids, and still thinks he is better than everyone else. That sibling rivalry takes a bizarre turn when Cason realizes his older brother was involved with the beautiful women that went missing months earlier. ..

Beneath the tranquilly of East Texas, award winning author and Texan Joe R. Lansdale crafts a darkly disturbing tale of pure evil and racism. Racism is not an uncommon theme in Texas as recent news stories have illuminated for the rest of the nation. And while the racism depicted in this book has little originality from those news stories, the evil depicted here is abhorrently new. Evil that was grown, nurtured and flourished in beautiful and not so beautiful ways. And while Cason Statler does fit a stereotype initially, before long he and all the other players in this noir style novel become very real to the reader and easily slip the bounds of stereotypes. Nothing is as it seems for anyone in this book whether it be Cason, Jimmy (the perfect brother), Booger (the deranged veteran and Cason's friend), Gabby (the former love interest) or Caroline (the missing woman).

It should be noted that the novel is frequently graphic in terms of language and descriptions of violence and the state of various bodies. Joe R. Lansdale is well known for using all types of language as well as populating his works with dark images and plenty of black humor. That certainly is in the case here in a powerful read that isn't over until the last word has been read.

Kevin R. Tipple (copyright) 2009
... Read more

6. Bad Chili: A Hap and Leonard Novel (4) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 304 Pages (2009-05-05)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307455505
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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With his trademark knack for gut-busting laughter and head-splitting action, Joe R. Lansdale serves up a bubbling cauldron of murder and mayhem that only he could create.Hap Collins has just returned home from a gig working on an off shore oil rig. With a new perspective on life, Hap wants to change the way he's living, and shoot the straight and narrow. That is until the man who stole Leonard Pine's boyfriend turns up headless in a ditch and Leonard gets fingered for the murder. Hap vows to clear Leonard's name, but things only get more complicated when Leonard's ex shows up dead. To the police it is just a matter of gay-biker infighting, but to Hap and Leonard murder is always serious business, and these hit a little to close to home.Amazon.com Review
Hap Collins is in a LaBorde, Texas, hospital recuperating froman attack bya rabid squirrel and wondering why his best friend, Leonard Pine, hasn't beenby to visit. Turns out that Leonard was upset enough about his boyfriendRaul leaving him for another guy that he went down to the biker bar thisguy hangs out at and beats him with a broom handle. When the biker turns updead later that night, it doesn't take long to guess who the primarysuspect is--especially with Leonard nowhere to be found.

After Hap checks himself out of the hospital and finds Leonard hiding inhis bed, the fourth novel in this series kicks into high gear--or whatpasses for high gear in Lansdale's deceptively laid-back storytellingstyle. Pretty soon, they've stumbled onto a conspiracy involving gaybasherpornography, and Leonard's ready to exact some vigilante justice over Hap'sprotestations: "There's few people think a roach exterminator is amurderer. I'm not talkin' about beatin' up and rapin' innocent people whoare lookin' for love in all the wrong places. I'm talkin' about stampin'out a plague, man.... I've heard you rave about the horrors of the child sextrade in Thailand, the poor, the plight of blacks and women and gays, andall the stuff you gripe about, but me, I'm gonna do somethin'."

Add in a budding romance between Hap and Brett Sawyer, the nurse who tellshim on their first date about how she set her abusive husband onfire--which impresses him much more than it scares him--and you've got themakings of another classic Lansdale thriller. --Ron Hogan ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars A BREATH OF FRESH AIR.....
This is my first Hap & Leonard novel. I happened to pick up the audio book version from my local library. I've been listening to the book commuting to work and let me tell you this is a hoot! A bunch of funny characters and even funnier situations and lines, and very well-written. I'm only about 1/4 of the way through but I am already hooked. This has made my commuting a joy ride everyday. I often found myself laughing out loud. If your recent reading experience is somewhat stale and ifyou want to experience the joy of reading again, pick up this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Really Bad Chili
Bad CHili is a bad book.It's like the author got his opinion of the South from watching Easy Rider. Also the characters were completely unbelieveble. That being said, I read the whole thing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rabid
Count on Joe Lansdale for no-holds-barred southern mayhem at a pace that never slows below frenetic.And never is Lansdale's vicious humor - a bizarre blend of out loud chuckles and deeply revealing social insight - better than when he's telling of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine's mind bending mishaps.

Hap has returned from an offshore oil rig drilling job with some cash in his pocket and some thoughts about his life and future in his head.But before Hap has time to get too philosophical, Leonard's boyfriend Raul has run off with a renegade biker gang.Tucked in between friendly cop Charlie's moaning about his dismal sex life, Hap's attack by a rabid squirrel, and the introduction of nurse Brett as Hap's new heartthrob, Raul's new beau is found murdered by the road, setting off a string of increasingly sordid and brutal events.Despite Lansdale's patented cone pone yucks and storytelling flair, "Bad Chili" is not for sensitive ears or the faint of heart.Raunchy sex - gay and straight - and savage violence set the table in this one - a jagged edged tale that plumbs new depths of depravity, neatly contrasted with Lansdale's good ole' boy banter.

While "Bad Chili" may not be the best of the bunch, it does showcase Lansdale's bizarre but superbly crafted sense of common sense justice of the streets twisted with lightly liberal political views.But heremains the southern noir stylist of our times, succeeding in disguising biting slices of country culture in humor and suspense.For those not familiar with Lansdale or this terrific series, this would not be the best place to start - the "Savage Season" debut is still the benchmark.But Lansdale fans cannot afford to leave this one off their short lists.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best opening chapter ever
Another great entry in the Hap/Leonard series, and this one comes with one of the best opening chapters of any book, ever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nature Gone Wild
I only recently re-read this book after a few years and was struck by how FUNNY it is!Arguably the funniest in the Hap/Leonard series, its also pretty dark in many ways, and quite gory as well.Rabies plays a key role in both the beginning and conclusion to this story, in a weird - and oddly satisfying - circular construct.The plot involves Hap's quest to clear Leonard of possible murder charges.There's also what seems to be an underlying theme - with vivid descriptions of torture, gay-bashing for entertainment, mad animals and a violent storm - of nature, in all of its forms, gone wild.Joe Lansdale is somehow able to convey humor even while proving once again that HUMAN nature is still the baddest mf on the block (okay, that storm is pretty bad.But human nature runs a very close second here, trust me!).A must-read. ... Read more

7. Rumble Tumble: A Hap and Leonard Novel (5) (Vintage)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 256 Pages (2009-11-10)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307455513
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are in for an action-packed adventure when they cross paths with a towering Pentecostal preacher, a midget with a giant attitude, and a gang of bikers turned soldiers of fortune. Even though a midlife crisis just hit Hap Collins like a runaway pickup truck, he's still got his job, he knows his best friend, Leonard Pine, will always be there for him, and of course he's got his main squeeze, Brett Sawyer. Things hit a new low, however, when Brett's daughter, Tillie, who has been walking on the wrong side of the law suddenly stands in need of a rescue. It's won't be easy—it never is—but nothing is going to stop Hap and Leonard as they hit the road destined for Hootie Hoot, Oklahoma to shake things up. And with Hap and Leonard at the wheel this promises to be a wild ride.Amazon.com Review
The fifth installment in Joe R. Lansdale's low-key East Texas thrillersfinds Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, despite their best efforts,once again in the midst of grim violence. It begins when Hap volunteers to help his girlfriend, Brett, retrieve her daughter from a life of prostitution justoutside Oklahoma City. And where Hap goes, Leonard follows, as always withan eye on the aspects of the situation that Hap would rather not deal with: "Iknow you don't like the gun talk, Hap, but you know as well as I do, atsome point those people up there, they're who I think they are, they'regoing to point guns at us. And the guns are gonna be loaded, and when theypull the trigger our heads are gonna go away. Unless we shoot first orintimidate their asses into not shooting at all."

Mayhem ensues, to be sure, but the story in Rumble Tumble is not asimportant as the ongoing relationship between Hap, who still wishes that hecould empathize the world's troubles away, and Leonard, who knows better. As with the series of Westerns directed by Budd Boetticher andstarring Randolph Scott, theirs is a world where "good" and "bad" matterless than whose business you're taking care of. People on both sidesare willing to engage in plain conversations about how to define ethicsunder those circumstances, in dialogue that fulfills Lansdale's highstandards of excellence. Whether you've been on board for the full ridewith Hap and Leonard or are meeting them for the first time, RumbleTumble will entertain and subtly challenge you.The other adventuresof Hap Collins and Leonard Pine include Mucho Mojo, The Two-Bear Mambo, Savage Season, and Bad Chili. --RonHogan ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

3-0 out of 5 stars Breaks the formula
The Hap and Leonard series is a crowd pleaser, that much is certain, but with this book Lansdale attempts to break what was becoming a formula. There is little mystery to this one, and a good deal of action and humor throughout. If you like the characters already you should have no trouble buying into this adventure however this isn't the type of adventure for a newcomer by any means. It is violent, wild, funny, vulgar in the way that Joe Lansdale always is, and it might be predictable, but if you've enjoyed Hap and Leonard in other stories you won't mind in the least.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hap and Leonard Cross the Line
I suspect Joe Landale's DNA does not allow writing a bad book, and "Rumble Tumble" signals no break in that genetic code.As would be expected from Hap and Leonard, this is a no-holds-barred, darkly and cynically funny, mayhem-filled romp through East Texas - with an important detour south-of-the-border.In this episode, Hap's relatively new girlfriend, the foul mouthed fiery redhead Brett, convinces the boys to accompany her in "rescuing" her daughter Tillie from a life of drugs and prostitution - whether Tillie wants redemption or not.Stalwart fans of the series know that when Lansdale gets together with Hap and Leonard, a zany and dangerous cast of supporting characters is sure to come around for the ride."Rumble Tumble" raises this bar, featuring a midget, his monster-sized reformed criminal and current preacher brother, a washed out bush pilot, some stoned Indians, and the obligatory gang of outlaw bikers.The results are predictable - lots of people maimed or murdered, the best one-liners in pop crime fiction, and Hap and Leonard managing to stay a step ahead of the law - barely - with most of their body parts intact.

Lansdale is a cagey writer - he lulls the reader into an easy cornponed stupor with is good-old-boy yarn-spinnin' style, which is a way is a disservice to the brilliance of Lansdale's well-camouflaged prose.Make no mistake about it - this guy can write, whether he's describing a Texas landscape like "the bleakest ugliest GD terrain this side of the moon...the kind you think you'd fall off" or skewering an antagonist with raw with that can only be honed by an extraordinarily keen insight into human nature and American culture.

Having said all of this, "Rumble Tumble" is not the best of the series.There is an ugliness in this one that extends beyond the landscape that the author captures so well - a dark side we see in Brett, and an insecurity in Hap, that is not endearing.Given that this was the next-to-the last in the series before Lansdale sent Hap and Leonard on a seven year vacation, one can't help but wonder if by now he has also getting a bit burnt out on the concept.

But hey, lie I said - Lansdale can't write a bad book.Fans of the series will not want to miss this one - but the uninitiated should start with the unparalleled "Savage Season."

4-0 out of 5 stars A story of crashing the party.
Hap and Leonard aren't afraid of taking on the odds.In this, a prime example of the Lansdale's Hap-and-Leonard suspense novels, our modest heroes stand toe to toe with nearly impossible opposition to defend a friend's family honor.

Joe R. Lansdale's writing style, as always, makes for fascinating and humorous reading.Hap, Leonard, Brett, and all the book's characters have a raunchy, earthy sense of humor and a uniquely southern delivery that greases the rails on this bumpy, suspenseful ride.

Give this one a try.If you like it, try "Bad Chili" and "Mucho Mojo."

RUMBLE TUMBLE, the fifth novel in the series, by Joe R. Lansdale continues the saga of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, beginning where BAD CHILI left off. It all starts when Hap's girlfriend, Brett Sawyer, tells him that a man called on the telephone and said that he had news about her wayward daughter, Tillie, but that it's going to cost her five hundred dollars to find out what it is. Hap and Leonard (think Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson--thanks, Dale!), accompanies Brett to the seedy motel where the voice on the phone is staying. It turns out there are two men at the motel--a redheaded midget with an attitude the size of King Kong and a stupid giant-size piece of white trash who thinks he's tougher than he actually is. Both guys want to make some quick money by telling Brett that her daughter, who's a prostitute, is being held against her will in Hootie Hoot, Oklahoma by the local crime lord, Big Jim Clemente. Naturally, it isn't long before Hap, Leonard, and Brett are heading to Hootie Hoot to rescue the trick-turning prodigal, but nothing is ever easy for these folks. After a big confrontation and a shootout in Big Jim's house of ill repute, the trio finds out that Tillie's been sent to Mexico to sexually service a gang of bikers called the Bandito Supremes as punishment for a misdeed. Hap and Leonard are two tough hombres, but the odds against rescuing Brett's daughter just got considerably higher with the addition of a biker gang of killers. Before the week is over, our two favorite amigos are going to have to deal with the treachery of a midget that can do handstands, an ex-biker turned preacher who wants redemption for his past deeds, a Texas armadillo in need of little friendship and kindness, and a shootout in old Mexico that will remind you of the ending in the movie, The Wild Bunch. RUMBLE TUMBLE delivers with full force the fun and excitement expected from any 'Hap Collins/Leonard Pine' novel. The characters are deftly drawn, the dialogue is true to the ear, and the story line has all of the necessary ingredients to fulfill one's desire for action, suspense and drama. Mr. Lansdale has created Hap and Leonard with not only a strong sense of humor, but with an avid sense of justice and honor. These two men also have a profound view of life and how to live it that gives the reader an opportunity to think about his or her own belief system. This fantastic series is more than just popcorn entertainment for the masses. It's a great author's attempt to tell a good story, while at the same time reflecting on what it means to be a decent human being and staying true to one's values. I can't recommend the 'Hap/Leonard' novels enough. This is writing that has power and honesty, and is able to touch the heart, as well as the funny bone. Now, it's time to pick up MUCHO MOJO, the third book in the series, and find out what the dysfunctional duo was like before Brett came into the picture.

4-0 out of 5 stars What can I say?I like Lansdale and this doesn't disappoint
If you've read any of Lansdale's Hap and Leonard books then you know what to expect, and you know that it can't be a bad thing.Lansdale is one of the few purely diversionary novelists who I still buy and read, and this book is a perfect example why.Its over in a day or two, and the ride is funny, suspenseful, and somehow humane.Nothing new here, and the earlier books ("Mucho Mojo" etc.) do it just a smidge better, but for what it is - a fistfight of a paperback with explosive action and absurd situations - it is exemplary.Drug-addicted prostitutes, a midget pimp, two tough guys and a renegade pilot... really, how could you go wrong with that mix?A good paperback with a slightly better pedigree than execution, but recommended nonetheless. ... Read more

8. The Bottoms (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-12-07)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$10.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307475263
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
When young Harry Collins finds the mutilated body of a black woman bound to a tree with barbed wire, he and his younger sister suspect the legendary Goat Man, who is said to lurk under the swinging bridge crossing Texas's Sabine River. The creature holds the key to a string of brutal murders--and a chilling truth. A "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year".Amazon.com Review
Joe Lansdale, author of several horror novels, Westerns, andsomeoutrageous thrillers, is something of a cult writer. The Bottoms, which may be the breakout book that moves Lansdale beyond the genre category, is a resonant and moving novel. Though there is a mystery at its core, it is at heart a coming-of-age story, with a more literary bent than Lansdale usually demonstrates.

Harry, an elderly man, tells the story of a series of events that occurred in his 11th year, when the mutilated, murdered bodies of Negro prostitutes began turning up in the county where his father was the local constable. Harry and Tom, his younger sister, find the first one. Only their father, Jacob Crane, seems to care about finding justice for the victims, who are dismissed out of hand as unimportant by the local branch of the Ku Klux Klan, which warns Jacob off any further investigations. Harry and Tom think they know who's responsible: the Goat Man, a creature who's said to lurk beneath the swinging bridge that crosses the Sabine River, where the first body was found.In fact, the Goat Man has something to do with the murders, and the secret of who he is and what he really did is the key to the unsolved slayings. But that takes second place to the artfully explicated character of Jacob and Harry's changing relationship with him in the course of the loss of his boyish innocence. This is a masterfully told story and a very good read. --Jane Adams ... Read more

Customer Reviews (93)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom." George S. Patton
The memories we have of our younger days are prescious and as we go on with our lives those recollections become cherished.

This story is told as a man is nearing the end of his life, reminiscing about the most momentous event of his childhood.

In East Texas, during the hard days of the depression, twelve-year-old Harry Crews and his nine-year-old sister, Tom, find the body of a black woman, deep in the woods by their farm.

Their father, Jacob, is the town constable.He brings the body to the next town because he is afraid that if he goes to the young doctor in his town, that doctor would suffer a loss of patients because he worked on a negro. The woman is identified as Jelda May Sykes, a harlot who did some conjuring. He's not surprised that there hadn't been much publicity due to their color.

As he is gathering information, he's informed by Red Woodrow, the constable in that town, to stay out of Red's jurisdiction and that he, Red, would conductthe investigation.

Meanwhile, Harry and Tom are convinced that a legendary killer is about, the killer, known as Goat Man, follows them home from deep in the woods.

After a period of quiet, another body of a black woman is found. This time the body is in Jacob's jurisdiction so he conducts an official investigation.

The story is told in a warm, visual style, as if the reader was sitting in the living room and listening to the events unfold whle having a cool drink with the story teller.

Harry and Tom are excellently portrayed and could have been the children of Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird." In fact, Scout Finch and tomboy, Tom Craine could have been twins, they are so much alike. Both stories have negro characters who are wrongly accused and both stories have heroic characters and are masterpieces of literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Story Well Worth Reading, Again and Again
Set in the thirties, during the depression, young Harry Crane discovers the mutilated body of a black woman bound to a tree with barbed wire in the maze-like scrub of the river bottoms. His father, the local constable and part time barber, sets out to solve the murder and he doesn't get much cooperation because whites fear a renegade Negro and blacks fear a vengeful reprisal.

Harry's imagination runs wild. He can't think of anything but the murder and he too wants to find the killer. His prime suspect is the Goat Man, the myth-monster who lives like a troll under the rotting swinging bridge that crosses the Sabine River.

After a white woman is killed, the local Klansmen lynch an elderly black man, but of course he wasn't the killer. Maybe it was the Goat Man after all, maybe not. Maybe it was a "travelin' man,' a term that would later be changed to "serial killer." And maybe the killer is a lot closer than anybody thinks.

The story combines twisted family histories, gossip, myth, urban legend, a child's imagination, considerable gore, a generous number of decaying corpses, some raw sexuality and characters that you'll never forget. It's a story about a lot of things, good and evil, death, justice and the law, to name a few. It's a story well worth reading, again and again.

4-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining quick read
I had to purchase this book to read for an English class.It is very interesting and suspenseful, and I got through it in just a few days.The book is set in East Texas during the 1930s, which of course was during the depression among other things.The book is hard to put down once you pick it up, and if you enjoy murder mystery it is a good choice.

3-0 out of 5 stars A split decision.
The story drew me in, and Lansdale very skillfully develops characters in as few words as any writer I know. Dialog is entertaining and telling, and sounds very Southern.Only one problem - you'll have no difficultyidentifying the murderer once you're in about one third of the book. So the climactic ending is quite anticlimatic, and consequently is a good bit of a letdown.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Pretty Potent Brew
Harry Crane discovers the body of a murdered young black woman tangled and hidden in the maze-like scrub of the river bottoms. It's the middle of the Great Depression and the life of a black person isn't worth all that much, but Jacob Crane, Harry's father, is the local law and he wants to solve the crime. However there are forces that hinder and slow his investigation and hateful and hurtful bigots abound. There are racists everywhere.

Harry fixates on the murder and believes himself to be an important part of the investigation and, like his father, he wants to find the killer. And he has a suspect, someone he calls The Goat Man, a mythical, troll-like monster who lives under the swinging bridge that crosses over the Sabine River.

Because of the time and the racial divide and the fact that that divide was often murderously enforced by the Klan, Jacob Crane finds it too risky to continue the investigation. He is forced to let it drop and all he can do is hope that the murderer was one of the many transients of the time.

Harry's life and his world move on and he agonizes about his lost youth and the unsolved crime as he sits in a nursing home with nothing but time on his hands. The Bottoms may be gone now, paved over, but they live in an old man's mind the way a murder did in a young boy's. What a story. A darn good book. One that takes urban legend, gossip and warped family histories, puts them in a caldron, mixes them up with a witch's ladle and slips them into a child's imagination, turning them into a pretty potent brew. Mr. Lansdale is a storyteller extraodinaire, a writer not to be missed. ... Read more

9. Act of Love
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 320 Pages (1995-08-21)
list price: US$4.95 -- used & new: US$12.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786702885
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Telling the tautly plotted story of a modern Jack the Ripper's spree in Houston, Lansdale creates a powerful combination of crime, police work, and social commentary--all with an eye for graphic detail. Act of Love, his first novel, is a collector's item for Lansdale's old fans and essential reading for his new ones. Previously published by Zebra.Amazon.com Review
Before Clive Barker orsplatterpunk, Lansdale wrote this pioneering serial killer novel, setin Houston. "The closest thing to what I wanted to do at that time wasthe work of Sam Peckinpah," Lansdale says. "I wanted to make violencenasty, I wanted to make it bother you, but I wanted to make the storycompelling. The thing that made me write Act of Love wasanger. I was angry that so much attention was directed to psychopathsand murderers and very little attention given to their victims." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Half-Hearted Lansdale
Compared to Lansdale's typically high-quality output, this novel is pretty substandard. The characters never quite gel, the dialogue is rough around the edges, and the plot's "guess which character is the killer" is the kind of stuff best left to made-for-tv movies. Even the violence and brutality lack that hard edge one expects from Lansdale's books. His later novels delve into the horrors of the criminal mind and the sadness of the troubled soul much more effectively than this rather hackneyed attempt. I would only recommend this to a Joe R. Lansdale completist, and even then, hesitantly.

1-0 out of 5 stars I would haven't given it any stars at all.
The book, in my opinion wasn't written very well. A high school student could have written it better. I did however finish the book and then threw it in the trash. It is probably the only book that I have ever thrown out. If you like an intelligent read then this is not the book for you. If you just want blood and guts then go ahead and read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lansdale off to a good start.
Act of Love is one of Lansdale's earliest, if not the earliest, books.AoL's writing lacks the polish or homespun humor that readers would come to expect from Lansdale.Yet, he showed a great deal of potential that would be realized in his later works.Be forewarned, Act of Love is not for the squeamish or the easily offended.

The novel centers around Houston police detective Marvin Hanson, who has the unenviable task of bringing down a modern day Jack The Ripper.The killer is very unpredictable in his methods much like the aforementioned Jack.For instance, one night he'll[choose]a prostitute in a slum-ridden section of the city.The next night, he'll [choose] someone from an affluent suburb.When a few (emphasis on FEW) of the killer's patterns become apparent, everyone becomes a suspect - especially Hanson himself.Hanson not only has to contend with the killer, he has to coexist with his partner Joe Clark as well.Both Hanson and Clark are mutually suspicious about one another.And to make matters worse, Hanson has to restrain himself around an amoral tabloid reporter who likes to further his career by besmirching the Police.

Those expecting the humor of Lansdale's Hap and Leonard novels, which incidentally Hanson appears in starting with Mucho Mojo, may be disappointed.Act of love is still a solid mystery if you have a strong stomach.

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

4-0 out of 5 stars Gritty, gory, gripping
Turn on a light and check all your locks. You'll need that sense of security while reading this novel. We're so numb to serial killer fiction at this point that it's difficult to remember a time when this genre wasrelatively unknown. ACT is one of the first, and Lansdale adds hisincredible touch to make it a unique and chilling novel of a horrifickiller and the men trying to catch him.

Lansdale doesn't ease intothis subject: the first few pages describe a grotesque murder, the first ofthe "Houston Hacker", a self-proclaimed hunter of women. EnterMarvin Hanson and Joe Clark as the cops assigned to solve the series ofgrisly murders. Hanson is a unique character for horror fiction: he's ablack cop in the South. He's disgusted by the murders and takes on apersonal vendetta against the Hacker. Lansdale leads the reader on tovarious possibilities as to the identity of the killer without totallygiving away anything until near the end. Do not doubt: this novel is notfor the squeamish. Lansdale never pulls any punches in his novels; thesemurders are grotesque. The novel is packed with scenes depicting racial andgender hatred so prevalent in society; there are loads of racial slursbetween some of the characters. If you can read this without cringing,check your pulse.

Lansdale is always worth the read. He's a masterstoryteller. This edition is especially worth it for the intro written byAndrew Vachss as well as the afterword written by Lansdale himself; heexplains how the novel came into being, and it's an interesting saga.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
I recently discovered the great talent of J. Lansdale and I'm thunderstruck! Landsdale has an unbelievable way with words. This book is a simple serial-killer novel, but Lansdale's magical touch makes it so muchmore than that. Recommended. ... Read more

10. Mucho Mojo: A Hap and Leonard Novel (2) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-01-06)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$6.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307455394
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Hap and Leonard return in this incredible, mad-dash thriller, loaded with crack addicts, a serial killer, and a body count.Leonard is still nursing the injuries he sustained in the duo's last wild undertaking when he learns that his Uncle Chester has passed. Hap is of course going to be there for his best friend, and when the two are cleaning up Uncle Chester's dilapidated house, they uncover a dark little secret beneath the house's rotting floor boards—a small skeleton buried in a trunk. Hap wants to call the police. Leonard, being a black man in east Texas, persuades him this is not a good idea, and together they set out to clear Chester's name on their own. The only things standing in their way is a houseful of felons, a vicious killer, and possibly themselves.Amazon.com Review
In the second installment of the Hap Collins-Leonard Pine series, Leonardis still recuperating from the injuries he suffered in the first book(Savage Season) whenhe learns that his Uncle Chester has died. Hap agrees to stay with Leonardand help clean out the rundown house that he's inherited; when they find asmall skeleton buried under the floor, it's up to them to prove thatChester wasn't responsible for a string of child murders by finding thereal killer.

Lansdale slowly develops the relationship between his two protagonists asthey banter with each other throughout their pursuit of the killers.Mucho Mojo also introduces two other characters, LaBorde PoliceDepartment members Lieutenant Marvin Hanson and his sidekick, Charlie,who serve as ongoing sources of friction--and, when it's most needed, support. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

3-0 out of 5 stars "Macho does not provide mucho." Zsa Zsa Gabor
"Mucho Mojo" would be a good book to take on vacation. The story moves along nicely and has an interesting plot.

Leonard Pine is surprised to learn that he has inherited his Uncle Chester's home and $100.000. Leonard's feeling was that his uncle didn't approve of him because Leonard is gay.

His friend, Hap Collins is with him when he arrives at his uncle's home and finds drug dealers using his uncle's porch to conduct their drug business.

Leonard asks Collins to move in with him and help him fix the house up. They are busy doing this when they find the body of a young child in the basement. There are also photos of little children in sex positions and some coupons.At first they think that Leonard's uncle may have been the killer and a child pornographer but on reviewing the evidence Leonard remembers that his uncle was a cop wanna be and that he was probably looking for the killer and perhaps leaving a message before the senility that was effecting him, took hold of his brain.

The author is dealing with some sensitive subjects in this novel. Pine is a black man who is gay. Collins is a white man who is straight. Their relationship and acceptance of each other is well described. We also read of the problem of drugs in the inner city and what crack does to a neighborhood and the children who live there. Finally, we read of child pornography and pedophilia.

The story is entertaining and the characters are likable. Lansdale has a talent with his character's dialogue that makes the reader feel as if they are being told the story in the character's own voice.

4-0 out of 5 stars James Lee Burke Without the Attitude
Following their 1990 debut in "Savage Season", Joe Lansdale's lovable butt-kicking east-Texan's Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are back for another melee in "Mucho Mojo", a ripping tale of lurid crime, racial tension, and raunchy sex told in that down-home, easy banter of the south that Joe Lansdale does so well.Leonard's uncle Chester has died, and while estranged, he played an important role model in Leonard's youth.So when asked to travel back to LaBorde, Texas, for the funeral and help in settling Chester's affairs, Hap can't hardly refuse to abandon his near-slave labor in the rose fields and oblige.But while cleaning up uncle Chester's wreck of a house, the boys uncover a small skeleton locked in a trunk beneath the floor boards, casting a despicable pall of pedophilia and murder over the good uncle's memory and reputation.

Despite what seems to be overwhelming evidence, Leonard can't believe his judgment of character could be so far off, and with the intermittent and reluctant help of the local PD, Hap and Leonard see if they can unwind a story that clear uncle Chet - or at least confirm his guilt.Along the way, Leonard falls hard in a torrid love affair with a young black attorney, while both boys match wits (some) and trade punches (mostly) with the local drug gang holed up in the crack house next door.

With Lansdale, especially when Hap and Leonard are featured, you can count on enough action and martial violence to have Lee Child's Jack Reacher straining to keep up. Think of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheau with a sense of humor and half the baggage - that's Hap Collins.But unlike Child's precise, sterile and no-nonsense prose, Lansdale's brutality is softened with his southern wisdom - an enlightened but believable no less charming good old boy who mixes enough morality and intelligence in his mayhem to make this more than a simple mystery.Never one to shy away from controversy, Lansdale wades into the weighty topics of child pornography and drug abuse with more standard murder and corruption, while taking a glancing shot at religion, with the politics of race and homosexuality as much a part of Lansdale's stories as east Texas' humidity.

So maybe the wily Lansdale shows his cards a bit too early before a satisfying if predictable climax, Hap's love interests do little for a story that stands strong without them, and perhaps the breakneck pace slows for a nap or two along the way.But if you like smart dialog laced in dark humor, fast action with a decidedly bloody edge, and smart characters wrapped up in writing that you know Lansdale had to bust his tail to make it look this easy - this is crime fiction not to be missed - a series and an author well deserving their "American classic" accolades.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hap and Leonard
Lansdale, Joe R. "Mucho Mojo", Vintage Reprint. 2009.

Hap and Leonard

Amos Lassen

"Mucho Mojo" is the second re-released book in Joe Lansdale's Hap Collins/Leonard Pine series. In "Savage Season", Leonard was injured when he learned that his Uncle Chester died and now he is still recuperating. He has inherited a small house and Hap goes with him to help clean it out. While there they find a small skeleton under the floor and now they must prove that Uncle Chester was not the one responsible for several child murders. To do so they must find the person who is guilty.
In this book the relationship between the two men is further developed. We see this through the lively dialog between the two as they go after the murderer/s. We also meet new characters--Marvin and Charlie, members of the LaBorde police force.
When Leonard's Uncle Chester discovered that his nephew was gay, he disinherited him but after his death, Leonard still received the house. As Leonard and Hap begin to fix up the place, they find not only the skeleton but a stash of child porn magazines. This gives them a sense of responsibility to find out who did this terrible thing and as they investigate, they deal with social problems such as child molestation, exploitation, drug use and violence. Through the two guys we meet a wonderful grandmother figure, MeMaw, a corrupt minister and drug dealers and we get a bizarre story.
Hap and Leonard are two politically incorrect characters and the book is loaded with stereotypes and stigmas and you can't help but laugh at them. The two are philosophical and odd but they are true friends and Lansdale draws them well. Through Hal and Leonard's interaction with the other characters, we get quite a commentary on race, sex and justice.
Lansdale writes with biting sarcasm and wit and his ideas are tough. This is a good story with suspense and a view on life. Reading "Mucho Mojo" can cause you become a fan of Joe Lansdale--I know it made me one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Lansdale has perhaps created one of the most interesting couplings in Hap Collins and Leonard Pine - a Democrat white heterosexual and a Republican black homosexual, respectively. Their interactions alone are nearly interesting enough, when you add the actual plotline to the mix, you have a no-fail concoction.

Hap and Leonard are dealing with the aftermath of "Savage Season," the first book in the Hap and Leonard series, when Leonard's Uncle Chester dies, leaving him his run-down house and some mysterious, seemingly random items. To boot, Uncle Chester's got a "bottle tree" in his backyard to ward off the eponymous "mucho mojo" (meaning "much bad magic"). This charming abode has a few unpleasant aspects - it's a few dorrs down from a functioning crackhouse and it has the skeletal remains of a young boy in a box under the floorboards. It's up to Hap and Leonard to decipher the unusuals clues Uncle Chester left, and figure out just who is committing such heinous crimes.

There are some wonderful characters in this novel - some will strike you as not-good-people almost from the get-go, and some will take you by real surprise. Lansdale is magic with his dialogue, and Hap and Leonard have some of the Best Conversations Ever. I cannot recommend this enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars A different kind of hard-boiled
Lansdale writes tough, and this book has some of the most effective and sinewy descriptions of close-in, bareknuckle conflict you'll find.The unlikely pair of protaganists are much more than action heroes, though: they manage to be quirky, philosophical, and prone to late-night conversations that ring of true friendship.The secondary characters are well-drawn as well, particularly the elderly neighbor and a pair of policemen who provide something of a mirror-image to the main duo.The nature of the characters and their relationships yield blunt yet astute commentary on matters of race, sex, and justice.

The only real weakness here is the central mystery, which is a bit telegraphed and overwrought.One gets the feeling that Lansdale might have done better with a straight storyline, which these characters could easily carry.

... Read more

11. Cataclysm in Worm Town Jonah Hex
by Joe R Lansdale
 Paperback: Pages (1995-01-01)

Asin: B003PSFFAO
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12. Vanilla Ride (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 256 Pages (2010-07-27)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307455459
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, the kings of East Texas mischief and mayhem, return in this full-throttle thriller to face off with the Dixie Mafia.
When Leonard is asked to rescue a teenage girl from a lowly drug dealer, he gladly agrees and invites Hap along for the ride.  Everything goes according to plan, until they find out the dealer is a member of the Dixie mafia. A wild gun fight ensues, after which Hap and Leonard are arrested. Turns out, however, that the law needs a favor and if Hap and Leonard can do the deed they’ll be free roam. There’s one problem the Dixie Mafia’s new hired gun—the legendary assassin Vanilla Ride. Filled with breakneck action, gut-busting laughs, and one gigantic crocodile, this hilarious novel is as hot as a habanero pepper. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vanilla Ride by Joe R. Lansdale
So far I've never seen a book by Lansdale I didn't like or thought it wasn't quality in a holistic sense. Other writers have at least a bad book or two, but not Lansdale. He hits a home run on every one of his stories and does them with so much style, even the best novelists in the industry have to sit up and take notice.

As part of his Hap and Leonard series, Vanilla Ride does an awesome job being a stand-alone crime/caper novel. You don't need to know what happens before this book and you don't need to read the synopsis even, the staccato-like yet flowing dialogue with the sparse yet flavorful narratives gives you all you need to know about Hap and Leonard, the rather odd and sleek duo of the series. You don't need to dig in much to know about Hap's seemingly frivolous relationship with Brett, his sexy girlfriend, who happens to be as kick-ass as both of them, or Leonard's queer inclinations (for those who aren't into that speak, it means gay tendencies), you can pick out much of it as the book flows along at a pace resembling a freight train's.

You can certainly read the previous books to know how much humorous violence and teasing sarcasm these Hap and Leonard books contain, but even Vanilla Ride has that covered to a T. To describe the way Hap and Leonard efficiently and effectively decimates a group of drug dealing hippies in this book as offensively violent would perhaps be an understatement. Leonard slams a guy's tender face into a plastered wall so many times, the guy's teeth even remains lodged in it.

And Joe describes the wonderful carnage in a straightforward, take-no-prisoners style that, in many crime readers' eyes, could be categorized as noir, very direct noir and with just the same subtlety of a poultry farmer chopping apart a pig with a tree axe. The result isn't pretty but you will feel exhilarated by the ride Joe brings you through this sublime crime story.

And how he brings you through it is an art in itself. The plot isn't as complex as his previous novels, A Fine Dark Line and The Bottoms, and it starts off with Hap and Leonard as they try (trying for them means very much like succeeding with flying colors) to get back the daughter of one of their old friends, the drug-influenced, scrubby looking girl named Gadget, who doesn't like it at all when she's taken away from her sole supplier of drug-induced pleasure, but the underlying nuance and hilarity of the characters underlines it all. Which is why the book reads like one of those crime pulps, the pleasure feels guilty reading Vanilla Ride.

A suspenseful plethora of turns and twists happen but the truly climatic one comes when the real star of the book finally appears, Vanilla Ride, an atypical blond and sultry assassin with homicidal skills to easily match the guys'. And it leads to an interesting plot point that I myself didn't even see coming.

Reading this superbly written gem feels like plunging down a steep plume with your throat somewhere up in your head. Versatile storytellers like Lansdale are as rare as exotic blood diamonds.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hap and Leonard return with a vengance
I won't mince words about it - I like the vast majority of Lansdale's works.I like his gallows humor and ability to unflinchingly write about subjects that aren't particularly pleasant.

But I particularly like his two seminal characters Hap Collins and Leonard Pine.I first read of their exploits in 'Mucho Mojo' back about ten years ago and have since read everything else I could about the two of them (including the excellent collaboration with Andrew Vachss, "Veil's Visit" - [...]; the character "Veil" gets referenced in 'Vanilla Ride' very briefly, so it wouldn't hurt to know who he was).
I very much prefer the books in which Hap and Leonard kick the ass and take the names (unlike 'Two Bear Mambo,' which is easily my least favorite of their exploits), and in this regard 'Vanilla Ride' is superb.I will say that the violence in the book does seem to spiral a little out of control at times, but Lansdale's entertaining prose more than makes up for any odd points in the story.

While I wouldn't recommend this as a starting point for new readers to the Hap and Leonard books, it is a fantastic read nonetheless.

4-0 out of 5 stars vanilla ride.
Just great to see another hap and leonard book from joe lansdale,very enjoyable read.I just hope that he has many more up his sleave,great book,please write more of these books joe lansdale.

5-0 out of 5 stars Most fun I've had reading this year
I've read a few books this year (14 and counting so far), but this is the book that I had the most fun reading.

It felt good to have Hap and Leonard back.Lansdale's non-Hap and Leonard books are good, but there is something special about these characters.Vanilla Ride ranks up there with my favorite Hap and Leonard books, the one-two punch of Mucho Mojo and Two Bear Mombo.

Fantastic read.I'm glad the boys are back.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Way to Pass the Time 4 1/2 Stars.

Best friends and freelance troublemakers, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, help an old friend in rescuing his daughter from an abusive drug dealer, and wind up getting mixed up with the Dixie Mafia.
This was my first Hap and Leonard novel and I loved it. Loved the interesting characters. Loved the witty dialogue. Loved the no-nonsense writing style that just made the time fly by. This highly entertaining novel puts Lansdale on my must read list. ... Read more

13. Batman in Terror on the High Skies
by Joe R. Lansdale, Edward Hannigan, Dick Giordano
 Paperback: 66 Pages (1992-11)
list price: US$3.95 -- used & new: US$165.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316177652
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
An adventure starring Gotham City's Caped Crusader, Batman, features a fast-paced, easy-to-read text and energetic, non-stop action illustrations. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars rare find?
Loved the book. Lansdale is my favorite. one question to anyone out there. Does anyone else's copy have extra pages?
mine has reprints of pg 11-19 with the illustration between pg 21 and 22. strange is was wondering if it was something rare or just a printers error that occurred often

5-0 out of 5 stars Joker's Gone Wild With an Airship
This is a Young Adult novel about one of the Batman's Greatest cases.Well, Greatest according to our young narrator, who admits he's a bit biased because he gets to help.

The story is pretty staight ahead actioner.Recently moved to Gotham City from East Texas, our your narrator decides to creep onto a rooftop to help a cat -- it's just the right thing to do.There, he stumbles onto a mystery.The Joker, Clown Prince of Crime, has himself an airship and he's up to no good!It's up to our hero (with a little help from Batman, all right a bunch of help) to figure out the sinister plot and put an end to it.

Fun, fun, fun.This novel reads like a great comic book, the kind of thing you just don't want to put down.Luckily, the size is such that you'll be done in an hour or two.Makes great reading aloud, too. ... Read more

14. The Shadows Kith and Kin
by Joe R. Lansdale
Hardcover: 283 Pages (2007-04-25)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$65.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596060816
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The endlessly inventive mind of Joe R. Lansdale whips up yet another batch of stories to amaze, surprise, and entertain you.His new offering covers a lot of territory, producing what may be his best short story collection yet.One tale concerns an East Texas mule race in the early 1900s that proves to be an unexpected turning point and learning experience for the main character, a lifelong loser. It also chronicles the unusual circumstances of the race, which include a friendship between a rare white mule that can run like the wind, and his friend, a loyal, spotted pig.Another tale drops us into the disturbed mind of a mass murderer and his friendship with the shadows.Two others stories reintroduce us to the supernatural adventures of Reverend Rains, the flawed hero from Lansdale's cult favorite novel, Dead in the West. Here ghouls prowl and werewolves howl.There's a poetic collaboration with Melissa Mia Hall about the nature of loneliness and loss that echoes back to science fiction stories of an earlier time, as well as a famous, award winning novella reprinted here for the first time in several years about a clutch of unusual crime solvers.Read about a world where the dead almost rule, and venture into an alternate universe that is the background for perhaps the strangest tale of all, an adventure concerning an earnest and horny steam shovel named Bill, and his challenge to do the right thing at all costs.It's the usual wild and crowd pleasing display of what has become a subgenre of modern literature as only Joe R. Lansdale can present it: Tales Lansdalien.Welcome to his world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Call Him Joe; Call him MoJoe now; this book is that good!!!
In The Shadows, Kith and Kin, Joe R. Lansdale attempts to show you that you've got something in common with either the strange, bizarre, sick, or horrific. Each story seems to take on characters that do unholy things or characters who are so far outside of the realm of normalcy that it doesn't seem possible that there is any point of writing about them:they're too d**n waked out for anyone to believe in them. But then MoJoe Hisownself not only makes you believe in them, he makes you pull for them, cheer for them, pray for them, and even cry for them. You'll get pulled into their world in spite of the distance between you and them and you both come out better for it. The only story reprinted in this collection is the 1992 Bram Stoker winner, "The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance," which considering it's so good isn't a bad thing for someone coming to Lansdale for the first time. Even if you've read it before, it's so good it begs for rereading. My favorite story is Joe's take on both The Little Engine That Could and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel which he calls "Bill, the Little Steam Shovel." Bill here has to learn to believe in himself, see? He's got to believe that he can work, that he has a Dave who will care for him, that he's got a place in society, and, above all, that he can get some bumper from Miss Maudie. Along the way he's befriended by the wise and tuckered-but-tough steam shovel, Gabe, an unforgettable and kind and wonderful character. This book was heavily advertised as the return of Reverend Jebidiah Rains, whom we haven't seen sense the genre-generating novel, Dead in the West. Here we get him in two tales:"Deadman's Road" (a morality tale about hateful and recalcitrant sinners who have no human compassion and the sacrifice that some times has to be made for God's moral order) and "The Gentleman's Hotel" (a Lansdale type of action-packed, true love story mixed with werewolves that would make Lon Chaney, Jr. jealous -- they're probably just as foolishly arrogant as Chaney was, too). You also get two post-Apocalypse tales, "The Long Dead Day" and "Alone." Both are sadly and woefully nihilistic and rival Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog, even coming in under word-weight. It's like watching a bantam-weight battling a heavyweight and taking him the full count. Then, of course, you've got a white-trash, down-home, Southern-fried tale that regales its reader with brilliantly cooked up mishaps:"White Mule, Spotted Pig." The opening tale, from which the collection takes its name, is a truly scary story about a young man that decides to become a sniper in a college's bell tower; realistically scary and woefully timely. Joe Lansdale has never been better in creating well-crafted prose than he is in this collection. The book itself, stitched together by the Subterranean Press, is simply pretty:the boards are covered in nice, dark green cloth and the end papers are textured, (nice)rust orange, and there is even a signature page with Joe's sig. The full-color cover by Mark A. Nelson is a classic, depicting scenes from four of the stories. This is a great addition to Joe's oeuvre, and it proves that he is still hitting homeruns every time he steps up to bat.

5-0 out of 5 stars Joe, The Reverend and Harlequin Fold-Out
Another five stars collection of (partly) unreleased tales by Hisownself.
Do not miss the return of Reverend Jebidiah Rains from "Dead in the West" his smoking guns fight again against Evil!
Another interesting issue is the reprinting of the novellette "The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance": pure Lansdale, yummm...
But all the contents are outstanding so be sure you'll have a good read. ... Read more

15. Devil Red (Hap and Leonard)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2011-03-15)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 030727098X
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Hap Collins and Leonard Pine return in a red-hot, mayhem-fueled thriller to face a vampire cult, the Dixie Mafia, and the deadliest assassin they’ve ever encountered—Devil Red.

When their friend Marvin asks Hap and Leonard to look into a cold-case double murder, they’re more than happy to play private investigators: they like trouble, and they especially like getting paid to find it. It turns out that both of the victims were set to inherit serious money, and one of them ran with a vampire cult. The more closely Hap and Leonard look over the crime-scene photos, the more they see, including the image of a red devil’s head painted on a tree. A little research turns up a slew of murders with that same fiendish signature. And if that’s not enough, Leonard has taken to wearing a deerstalker cap . . . Will this be the case that finally sends Hap over the edge?

Full up with Lansdale’s trademark—whip-smart dialogue, relentless pacing, and unorthodox-to-say-the-least characters—Devil Red is one rambunctious thrill ride by one hell of a writer. ... Read more

16. Crucified Dreams
Paperback: 384 Pages (2011-03-15)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.76
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1616960035
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Crossing noir with the supernatural, this luridly visceral anthology attacks polite society and plunges into the unthinkable horrors lurking in its underbelly. Searching for some beauty in a time of increasing poverty and neglect, the desperate are all the more menacing, and in a brief moment, ordinary people turn into something far less human. Offering stylish yet savage tales of private dicks, serial killers, lurking demons, and femme fatales, these surreal and often bloody tales provide glimpses into sinister worlds that mirror our own. Boasting an intriguing assortment of stories from celebrated authors such as Harlan Ellison, David Morrell, and the infamous editor himself, each gritty and sensational undertaking proves that being human is a far cry from being civilized.

... Read more

17. The Drive-In (A B-Movie with Blood and Popcorn, Made in Texas)
by Joe R. Lansdale
 Mass Market Paperback: 158 Pages (1988-01-01)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$166.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553274813
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars LOVE HORROR,HATED THIS BOOK
People are trapped in a drive-in while attending a horror marathon. As times passes the people become more and more crazy. There's also a monster that has taken over and all this is supposedly the result of aliens trying to make their own low-budget horror film. Sounds great! There's no way one could go wrong with this. Ah but wrong I was indeed. This thing is horrible and by the end I was sick at the thought that I actually paid money for this book and took the time to read it. Its just people doing random weird and violent things at a drive-in. Even the "creature" mentioned on the back of the book is a disappointment since all it is is 2 people that got melded together (not a spoiler since you're there for its creation) . As for the aliens, they only make an appearance in a very brief dream sequence. The whole part about them trapping these people to make a movie really just seems like an afterthought thrown in to make the story (or lack thereof) somewhat understandable. Even the climax is one of the most disappointing I have ever had the displeasure of reading. As tempting as this book may seem to be, avoid it. Plus, keep in mind I actually like the movie "Dead End Drive-In" a lot so this book is REALLY awful.

5-0 out of 5 stars All hail the popcorn king!
This has got to be one of Lansdale's strangest stories.One Friday night at a drive-in in Texas something comes out of the sky and nothing is going to be the same.Everything beyond the fences of the drive-in disappear andas the popcorn and candy run out strange things start to happen.A new godis born and his name is the popcorn king.

This story is extremelyoriginal, fast-paced, full of interesting characters and great dialog. Ithas everything; bad movies, cannibalism, monsters, aliens, and a few othersurprises. ... Read more

18. Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard Novel (1) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
by Joe R. Lansdale
Paperback: 192 Pages (2009-01-06)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307455386
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A rip-roaring, high-octane, Texas-sized thriller, featuring two friends, one vixen, a crew of washed-up radicals, loads of money, and bloody mayhem.Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are best friends, yet they couldn't be more different. Hap is an east Texas white-boy with a weakness for Texas women. Leonard is a gay, black Vietnam vet. Together, they steer up more commotion than a fire storm. But that's just the way they like it. So when an ex-flame of Hap's returns promising a huge score. Hap lets Leonard in on the scam, and that's when things get interesting. Chockfull of action and laughs, Savage Season is the masterpiece of dark suspense that introduced Hap and Leonard to the thriller scene. It hasn't been the same since.Amazon.com Review
Start with two best friends who practice martial arts in theirfree time: one a straight white guy, the other a black gay guy.Add aconniving ex-wife in a blue-jean miniskirt. Throw in half a million ina muddy creekbed somewhere near the Sabine River in East Texas. Add anex-radical from the '60s and two naive idealists who want to save theworld. Mix them all together in a half-assed plan, season withdouble-crosses, and then top it off with a hilarious and chilling drugdealer named Soldier. Bloody mayhem a la Lansdale. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars These are some of the best buddy books I've read
Plot Summary:Hap Collins is a white Texan man with a talent for shooting and weakness for good-looking ladies.His good friend Leonard Pine is a gay black Vietnam vet, who is good in a fight, and sweet on his hunting dogs.They've been getting by doing field work, but Hap's ex-wife, Trudy, shows up with a get-rich proposition.A bank robber's stash has been lost, the thieves are all dead, and Hap grew up near the creeks where it was lost.If Hap can find their stash, he'll get to keep a nice-sized chunk, so he brings Leonard in on the deal.Unfortunately Trudy has taken up with a crew of idealists who can't let go of their 60s activism, and they don't get along.

This is only my second Hap and Leonard novel, but I already think I love these guys.Hap manages to be extremely likable even when he makes a huge mistake, like sleeping with his manipulative ex-wife.I want to hit him upside the head, but in a friendly way.Leonard is just plain nasty, and he says all the things I wish I could say in mixed company, but never would.They make a great team, they are true friends, and it's the kind of buddy story that never gets old.Savage Season is a crime caper where everything goes wrong, but as long as my boys come out on top, I'll be fine.

Joe R. Lansdale has a talent for crafting memorable images.Some of his sentences just stick in my brain and won't shake loose.I don't remember all that many quotes from the stories I read, but even after one reading his books are like sticky fly paper in my mind.After reading story after story about beautiful, wealthy, privileged people, it's kind of a relief to hang out at the other end of society, with folks who have to be scrappy and tough.Hap and Leonard are not angels with snow white morals, but they live by a code that's far more honorable than the scum they run into.

The second book in this series is Mucho Mojo (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard), but since I've already started this series out of order, I may not be too particular about which one I pick up next.

4-0 out of 5 stars well written, captivating (yes, its a pun)
Having read some of Lansdale's short stories, I was acquainted with his somewhat brutal style. I wasn't at all certain he could maintain the pace through an entire novel. In fact, I was prepared to be disappointed. Instead, this book was like driving past one long, bad auto accident. I couldn't look away. I was there - I cared, feared, smelled, tasted and felt it all. Many authors take hundreds and hundreds of pages to convey those feelings and that level of detailed impression. In my opinion it takes talent to do it effectively with such economy. This is not a book for the faint of heart, but it was very engaging. I suggest you put it near the top of the stack.

3-0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars - cynical, offbeat, and funny, but a little too predictable
I recently read The Bottoms by this author and thought it was exceptionally good - one of the best novels I've read in a long time.Savage Season (and the rest of this series) came highly recommended to me.I was told to expect a cynical, offbeat, darkly funny, high-octane thriller (exactly the kind of thing I like) so I was really looking forward to reading the first adventure of Hap and Leonard (I even special ordered it into my local library because they didn't have a copy).

Now, don't get me wrong, I liked this novel, just not enough to get really excited about it.

It had many of the elements I like in a crime novel, and for the most part it is cynical, offbeat, darkly funny crime fiction.But it fell a little short for me because of the simplicity and predictability of its plot.As a result, I didn't find it especially thrilling.In the novel, Hap and Leonard get mixed up with a group of old sixties radicals who have a scheme to recover money from a long forgotten bank robbery.Inevitably there are double crosses and more double crosses as competing factions of bad guys endeavor to keep the money for themselves.Needless to say, there is considerable bloodshed until finally only Hap and Leonard are left standing (well ok, they aren't exactly capable of standing at the end, but they are still breathing).

The ride was decent enough, but I knew exactly where this story was going.I wanted the plot to zig & zag and become increasingly more complex, but that never happened.It stayed true to its predictable course, and while it wasn't a bad course, I felt like I was `going through the motions' waiting for each inevitable twist and turn.

On the upside: the characters are colorful and memorable (although most of the people you meet will die by the end of the novel), there is a lot of witty banter, dark humor, and some sharp observations about human nature and the sixties movement.Lansdale is a great writer and the prose in Savage Season is lean, filled with great dialoge and clever turns of phrase (reminding me a little of Elmore Leonard).

I definitely haven't given up on Lansdale (who is a very talented writer) or Hap and Leonard (my understanding is that their adventures only get better as the series progresses).I look forward to reading other novels in this series.I just hope the plots become more complex and less predictable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Reminds me of those old films noir, but in East Texas
I can't escape reading Joe Lansdale any longer, since I live just down the road a piece. It's not my usual choice of book, but by golly, he can craft a story, and all of the sentences that build it up are exactly the shape they ought to be in order to get the job done. The raunchiness and violence that makes his true fans love him doesn't do much for me, but his characters and settings do; it's clear he knows the community I live in - all sides. I'll bet he's met some of the same low-lifes that I have (when I couldn't avoid it), but he knows that there is honor in the piney woods as well. He appreciates a good dog and a good friend, and, hang it all, I'll end up having to read all of these books just to find out how things go with old Hap and Leonard.

This adventure in stolen money, lost love and lost ideals reminds me of an old story by Raymond Chandler - if Bogie or Mitchum talked with a Texas accent. What a movie that would be!

If y'all don't have roots in East Texas, give these books a try; you'll get a flavor of it, and you'll be wanting seconds - at least.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like following Jules and Vincent from 'Pulp Fiction'.
Joe Lansdale's sharp Texan wit combined with the hilariously compelling relationship between the two protagonists Hap (a white, disenfranchised 60's idealist) and Leonard (a black, homosexual Vietnam vet) has all the spontaneity of Vincent and Jules in Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction'. I could have enjoyed reading 200 pages about these two going for burgers and a trip to the grocery store - the comedic and biting exchanges between them are that rich - however Lansdale weaves a tapestry of mystery and intrigue that you just know is going to end-up with a body-count which also rivals a Tarantino flick.

'Savage Season' is a quick read that draws you in and doesn't let go. At just under 200 pages, I finished in three sittings and for the first time in a while (have read some far less spectacular books in this same genre lately) felt truly pulled-in to the storyline. My only criticism involves the development of the characters 'Soldier' and 'Angel', whom I felt were introduced perhaps a bit too late in the plot and could have benefited from bit more back story. I found myself wishing the book had gone-on for another 50-100 pages.

I will definitely be checking-out the rest of Mr. Lansdale's catalog and I recommend this book to anyone looking for a tight, engrossing thrill-ride.

- Savage ... Read more

19. Fine Dark Line, A
by Joe R. Lansdale
Audio CD: Pages (2004-04-10)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$12.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001P80KGA
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The time is the summer of 1958. The place is Dewmont, Texas, a town that the great American postwar boom has somehow passed by. A sad, hollow beat trails the kids who tune into rockabilly on the radio and waste their weekends at the Dairy Queen. And an undetected menace simmers under the heat that clings to the skin like thin molasses.

For blissfully ignorant thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchell, the end of innocence comes with his discovery of an old trove of passionate yet troubled love letters that lead him to a long-ago house fire and the tragic deaths of two very different young women. Obsessed with investigating their fates, Stanley finds a guide and mentor in black, elderly Buster Lighthouse Smith, a retired Indian Reservation policeman who now runs the projector at the drive-in theater owned by Stanley's parents. The laconic Buster tutors Stanley on the finer points of Sherlock Holmes, the blues, and life's lost dreams.

But not every buried thing stays dead. And in one terrifying night of rushing creek water and thundering rain, an arcane, murderous force will suddenly rise from the past to threaten the boy - and test the limits of Buster's strength and wisdom. In the end the old man teaches Stanley a lesson that will haunt him always, about the forever short distance between living flesh and the dust from which it came. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Went in hoping for a hard-core horror novel - found something better
A story told from the perspective of a 13 year old boy.
At time frustrating how obvious some of the twists were, but.....this was told from a 13 year olds perspective, so I'm glad I was smarter.

And I wasn't always.Like Memento, clues can be misleading when you don't have the full picture.And I never would have guessed the final twist.

Can't wait to read more by this guy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Coming-of-Age Gem
A great yarn: I really enjoyed this story, but I think it needed a little editing--say 10 pages altogether of dialog. I don't want to give the plot away (read other reviews), but I think it should have been toned down a bit on the stereotypes (using the "N" word too much, resulting in some distraction for the reader. A little editing out would have made its use more powerful).

But I let those things go and kept reading. It would be unfair to take off any stars for those things. A novel is not reality.

I'm reminded of "Boy's Life," by Robert McCammon. One of the characters in a small southern town walks around with no clothes on, but nobody does anything because he is the son of the owner of the town's only bank. Now I had no problem with the the son being crazy, but having him walk around in the altogether was a little over the top. And not realistic. Still, "Boy's Life" was one of the best books I ever read.

That said, I still enjoyed "A Fine Dark Line," and at the end, it brought tears to my eyes. So what more can I say? I got into the life of thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchell and wanted to find out how the mystery ended.I will definitely read more novels by Joe Lansdale.

Check out the following three great coming-of-age stories:
1. "Boy's Life," by Robert McCammon
Boy's Life
2. "Summer of Night, by Dan Simmons
Summer of Night (Aspect Fantasy)
3. "The Traveling Vampire Show," by Richard Laymon
The Traveling Vampire Show

5-0 out of 5 stars Stanley investigates mysterious fire
In East Texas in the late fifties, 13-year-old Stanley Mitchel's father owns a drive-in at the edge of town. Stanley finds the remains of a burnt out mansion and a cache of hidden love letters in the wooded area behind the theater. When he also finds out that two young girls died mysteriously the night of the fire twenty years before, Stanley investigates.

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars ain't enough
I heard about Joe R Lansdale through 2 sources: Ramsey Campbell citing The Nightrunners as the last book he read that actually scared him (high praise indeed), and a visual quote in Punisher Max, where the female spook is seen in her cell reading 'Sunset and Sawdust'. This book was the only one I could find in my local bookshop-and it's a keeper. A brilliant, evocative coming of age novel, off beat murder/mystery, thriller and psychological chiller rolled into one-strongly character driven, and as an English reader, I loved the powerful evocation of late 50's Deep South America.Pumping plot, but completely character driven at the same time- the author has a brilliant grip on his craft, and I'd urge anyone to read this. Now I'm off to order the rest of his books.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Story, Good Voice Acting, but it stinks that it's abridged
This audio book is abridged, and it shows. Unfortunately I love Lansdale's work and I love audio books, but Joe only has only a couple of books on audio and they happen to be abridged. Anyway, even though I own the book, I knew I would get to this story faster if I listed to audio book. The story only clocks in at 4 discs, and it feels short. I expect that all major plot points are covered by this abridgement, but it does feel like there needs to be more character development.

The story itself is a mystery, and it is about a family that buys a local drive-in in a new town. The protagonist is the boy, and his adventures. He finds out that behind the drive-in is a burned house, and that burned house has some mystery attached to it, in the form of a murdered girl. The boy and one of the workers at the drive-in decide to investigate for fun, but it doesn't turn into fun when the boy gets wrapped up in the real mystery of the murder.

It is an interesting listen, as the story is entertaining, but since it's an abridgment I can only recommend it if you've read the novel, as I feel like I need to go to the book to get more answers. Good voice acting by the reader, though. The voice was very professional. ... Read more

20. Lightspeed Magazine, October 2010
by Stephen King, Joe R. Lansdale, Sarah Langan, John R. Fultz
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-09-29)
list price: US$2.99
Asin: B00452VH8S
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The October 2010 issue of Lightspeed Magazine features all types of sf, from near-future, sociological soft sf, to far-future, star-spanning hard sf, and anything and everything in between:

In our lead story this month, “Hindsight,” horror author Sarah Langan tells the story of an apocalypse-in-progress, a world in which the laws of physics no longer seem to behave properly, and a mysterious cosmic anomaly called Black Betty. The last remaining survivors have one last hope, but can the technological singularity defeat the threat of a gravitational one?

In “Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man’s Back,” author Joe R. Lansdale tells the tale of a mad scientist and his family who spend twenty long, hard years Down Under waiting for the war to end. By doing so, they manage to survive the end of the world, but when they go back Topside, they find a world very different than the one they remember—a world in which even a rose is supremely dangerous...and not just because of its thorns.

Imagine you’re awakened early from cryonic stasis aboard a starship traveling to a colony world where tens of thousands of starving colonists will die if you don’t get there to help them. John R. Fultz’s chilling “The Taste of Starlight” explores whether the lives of many outweigh the lives of few, as we experience the lengths the good Doctor Pelops is willing to go to in order to ensure his mission’s success. Would you—should you—be able to do the same thing?

There are few authors in the world about whom you can honestly say “he needs no introduction.” But when you’re talking about Stephen King, that’s most certainly the truth. “Beachworld,” one of the horror master’s rare forays into straight-up science fiction, follows the plight of the two survivors of a far-future interstellar spaceflight, who crash land on a harsh and unforgiving planet. ... Read more

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