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The Bottoms

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,953 Ratings  ·  482 Reviews
The narrator of The Bottoms is Harry Collins, an old man obsessively reflecting on certain key experiences of his childhood. In 1933, the year that forms the centerpiece of the narrative, Harry is 11 years old and living with his mother, father, and younger sister on a farm outside of Marvel Creek, Texas, near the Sabine River bottoms. Harry's world changes forever when he ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Mysterious Press (first published 2000)
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The Bottoms by Joe R. LansdaleMucho Mojo by Joe R. LansdaleSavage Season by Joe R. LansdaleA Fine Dark Line by Joe R. LansdaleFreezer Burn by Joe R. Lansdale
Best of Joe R. Lansdale
1st out of 39 books — 44 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainMagic America by C.E. MedfordThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Coming of Age Stories
34th out of 557 books — 511 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Set in the 1930's this book is told from the viewpoint of an elderly man looking back at a time in his life. Harry grew up in East Texas along the Sabine River area. An area where more is picked up at the local store than groceries.

Harry and his sister Tom find the body of a black woman who had been mutilated and tied up with barbed wire. His father Jacob is the constable/barber/farmer in the town and he takes the body to the black section to have a black doctor have a look to see what happene
Paul Nelson
Feb 04, 2016 Paul Nelson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale is a rousing atmospheric murder mystery with an abundance and it has to said, more than its fair share of tension and thought provoking issue. The Bottoms won the Edgar award in 2000 and is definitely a book that will stay resolutely in your thoughts long after you've finished.

The story is an unforgiving coming of age tale for eleven year old Harry Crane set in the 1930's who along with his younger sister discover the tortured body of a
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Feb 04, 2016 Kelly (and the Book Boar) is currently reading it
Because I'm friends with nothing but a bunch of flippin' bookpushers . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography
Oct 26, 2014 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

We have no Halloween traditions in Eastern Europe, but since I read so many books published in the US I got into the habit of picking up in October some titles that don't usually migrate to the top of my reading stack. I don't mind horror: it's not my favorite genre, but I have found some real gems in the past. 2014 is the year I tried my very first Joe R Lansdale story, and I have chosen The Bottoms both because I noticed it received some literary prizes and because it is a standalone, no
Sep 24, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing
The main protagonist Harry Crane takes us back to his youth to the time of the 1930's. He tells of his growing up in the family farm in the Bottoms, of their struggles during the great Depression and the grizzly murdered women that they discover in the Bottoms. He tells of his wonders of his youth and his delight in learning of those around him during his coming of age, of his quest and mystery in search of the identity of The Goat Man.

His poor Dog Toby a limp but courageous dog that you'll nev
The Bottoms: Joe R. Lansdale's Edgar Award Winning Mystery

 photo joe-r-lansdale_zps1c3a8a83.jpg
Joe R. Lansdale

Just a few weeks ago my neighbor handed me a copy of By Bizarre Hands, the first anthology of short stories by Joe R. Lansdale. My neighbor is a professor of literature. I take his recommendations seriously. It was my first exposure to Landsdale. I was impressed.

I finished the anthology a few days before travelling to Texas to visit my wife's cousin, Kathleen. I usually travel with a book set in my destination. I chose The
May 26, 2014 Britany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
East Texas, 1930s, Racial tensions, add in a serial killer and the legend of the "Goat Man"...

Harry is just a little boy growing up in Texas where racial tensions still run thick. His daddy is the town constable and has done his best to raise his children without racial bias. Harry and his sister Thomasina "Tom" are playing around when harry discovers a dead black woman washed up on shore by the river that runs through their town. The woman has been severely beaten, raped, and decidedly murdered
Jan 29, 2016 Camie rated it it was amazing
From his nursing home bed Harry Collins recalls some of the suspenseful events of coming up in post Depression times in the swampy " bottoms" of East Texas. This coming of age tale about the summer he and his sister Tom stumble upon the mutilated dead corpse of a black woman and get the entire town caught up in a whirlwind of uncertainty and racial conflict, is a winner of The Edgar and American Mystery Awards. The books blurb cites it as a thriller with echoes of William Faulkner and Harper Lee ...more
Kirk Smith
Mar 08, 2014 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it
Everything I have read by Joe R. Lansdale has been good. Really good storytelling that easily draws me in. I cared about every character including the families pet hound. The Bottoms was the best of the three I have read. Told from the point of view of a twelve year old boy helping his father, the town constable, to solve the mystery behind a string of brutal murders. Everything you might ever need to know about the piney woods of East Texas.
Jan 12, 2011 Bill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Joe R. Lansdale is predominantly known as a horror writer, but lookie here: The Bottoms won the Edgar Award (Mystery) for best novel.
Now, despite being a mystery, there weren't any big surprises for me, but where the novel truly shines is as the coming of age story of a 13 year-old boy in the early 1930s.

I was surprised at what a quick read this was. For some reason I was under the impression that this was a denser read, but in no way was I disappointed at that. I'm a big fan of less is more. L
Oct 08, 2013 Ctgt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Loved this book. I thought I had read Lansdale before but after looking at his list this is my first. Won't be my last. You know how sometimes an author or book just hits that sweet spot? Was it the setting, '30's back country of Texas? The intertwining of local legend/folklore about the Goat Man? The mystery surrounding the murders of local women? The style of his writing? All of it! Need to read more Lansdale!

The world slipped back to about as normal as it would ever be again, thoug
Jun 09, 2015 Estelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one! The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because it was a bit predictable and I had guessed early on who the killer was.
Still, a great southern dark mystery, beautifully written and with some very likeable and memorable characters.
This was my first novel by Lansdale, it won't be the last.
Diane Barnes
Jan 28, 2016 Diane Barnes rated it liked it
This was a good read, but I can't go higher than 3 stars with it. I knew who the killer was about halfway through, and also guessed the identity of the Goatman fairly early as well. It was well-written with realistic dialogue for the time (1933) and was a good depiction of the morals and opinions of people in the south for the time as well. But there were too many inconsistencies in the plot, and it seemed to me he was retelling "To Kill a Mockingbird" with an East Texas setting. I know Lansdale ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Jen rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014

Everything that the boy narrator experiences is then repeated & rehashed when he overhears his parents discussing it after lights-out. Why?! What's the point? I, the reader, am a grown-ass person. I understood it the first time. So: this novel coulda been half as long.

This book is like a person who says they're not racist, and because they have told you that they're not racist, it's okay for them to then use all the slurs, as in, "Other people discriminate against n-words, but not me, b
Carol Storm
May 20, 2011 Carol Storm rated it it was ok
Remember, Chilluns, It's Always A Sin To Rip Off A Mocking Bird!

All right, I loved BUBBA HOTEP. The movie, not the book. And I did enjoy a couple of Joe R. Lansdale stories that I read in the collection HIGH COTTON. But when he tries to turn all "lit'rary" and create a poignant coming of age novel . . . well, that hound dog don't hunt.

Everything here is something you've seen before . . . many, many times before. Sensitive boy narrator? Check. Strong but flawed father? Check. Peppery old lady wi
This was a fantastic read, it’s a thriller set in the countryside of Texas during the Depression of the 1930s. The MC is a young boy whose father is the local constable (cum barber) in charge of a serial killer investigation. The murderer is targeting the local women, initially from the nearby black community, but the killings do not seem to bother the white folks among which racial prejudice is ripe.

I had my suspicions about the identity of the serial killer, however the events leading to the
Crystal Craig
I'm not surprised how quickly I read through this Edgar Award winning novel, it was extremely hard to put down. The story takes place in Texas during the Great Depression. It's the coming of age story of Harry Crane, who one evening while out hunting with his sister, Tom and the hound dog, Tobey discover the body of a dark women. But, Harry and his sister aren't the only ones along the river. That night they see "The Goatman" for the first time, a monster they we're told was legend.

I really enj
Feb 11, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: southern, group-reads
This is my first read by authorJoe R. Lansdale and it won't be my last. It was a good, suspenseful mystery. I had some uneasiness throughout the book and had an idea of "who done it" but that didn't take away from the intensity of the novel. The racial tension and the details are at times, a little much, which add to some very uncomfortable moments. I loved the narration told in flashbacks and the supporting characters. A novel I enjoyed from beginning to end, that was very hard to put down. One ...more
Aug 13, 2015 emmilina rated it really liked it
Excellent, spooky story. Lansdale brings the "bottoms" to life, with his vivid descriptions; it was as if the land was another character in the story! Recommended highly. Reminded me a bit of To Kill a Mockingbird.
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it

1930er Jahre in Ost-Texas. Harry Crane ist elf Jahre alt als eine schreckliche Entdeckung sein Leben verändert. Im Wald findet er den misshandelten Körper einer farbigen Frau.
Sein Vater ist der Gesetzeshüter des Dorfes und fühlt sich für den Mordfall verantwortlich obgleich der Tod den Rest der weißen Dorfgemeinschaft wenig interessiert.
Harry hängt sich an seine Fersen und ermittelt auf eigene Faust weiter. Dabei zeigt sich ihm der Horror mit vielen Gesichtern. Mal in Form des Ku-Klux Klans, mal
Feb 05, 2016 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of Southern Gothic
Recommended to Suzy by: The Trail group read
This is a coming of age story of almost 12-year-old Harry Crane, told in retrospect by his 80-something self, about the end of his innocence in 1933-34 Depression-era deep East Texas. It is also a murder mystery, a story of a family trying to make ends meet in the small town of Marvel Creek, a morality tale of how to be in the horrific world of the Jim Crow south and a portrait of a very specific place and time in history. Most of Lansdale's writing is described as Southern Gothic and I only had ...more
Lee Thompson
Apr 18, 2012 Lee Thompson rated it liked it
My buddy Shaun sent me this novel because I'd read some of Lansdale's short fiction and enjoyed it but hadn't read one of his novels. It's a fun story but predictable and could have been trimmed down a lot to eliminate repetition. Writing was smooth and the last half of the book great though I'd figured it out a third of the way in. Well worth reading.

3.5 stars
Mar 14, 2012 Leslee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prime-time-crime
This is a reread for me, though the last time I read this book was ten years ago when it first came out. After reading Dead in the West I thought I'd give Lansdale another try. He's an accomplished author though I haven't read a lot of his stuff.

The Bottoms takes place in Eastern Texas during the depression and is told from the point of view of a 12 year old boy whose father is the constable of a small community. The ravaged, mutilated bodies of colored women start appearing in the woods near t
Oct 21, 2009 Matthew rated it liked it
Shelves: texana, detectives
This is from Nacogdoches author Joe Lansdale. He's in the habit of cranking out mysteries, horror, and western stories. Sort of like a modern Robert E. Howard. His stories often have graphic sexual and scatalogical details, but he has a conscience.

Most of his stories are pretty lazy and far from original.

But this book grabbed me. The characters were vulnerable and funny. And the black characters were real, and not just examples in a sermon. And it also involves the goat man. Most people who gro
Apr 09, 2013 Ipsith rated it it was amazing
Set in Deep East Texas during the Great Depression, Joe Lansdale's The Bottoms is a wonderful coming-of-age tale about life in a simpler time. Lansdale's novel is also about a heinous serial killer who stalked the low lying lands around the Sabine River, and how the mystery surrounding the murderer's identity was solved.

Harry Crane, an elderly man in a nursing home, recalls, very visually, a time when concrete had not taken over most of the East Texas land he so loves. Harry narrates this story
Stephanie Griffin
May 03, 2008 Stephanie Griffin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like creepy suspense.
THE BOTTOMS, an Edgar-winning mystery, was originally written by Joe R. Lansdale in 2000. I was interested in reading it the n, but never quite got around to it. The book stayed on my 'to-read' list, and on my shelf, year after year. Now I've finally read it and I ask myself, "What took me so long??"
This is quite simply one of the best suspense stories I have ever read. The suspense was real, the characters compelling, and the story moved right along so that before I knew it, the pages had flown
Jul 19, 2015 stefano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, novels, mystery, usa
Io non so come fare senza Lansdale. Per dire, di Andrea De Carlo posso farne a meno, ma di Lansdale difficilmente potrei. Infatti di Andrea De Carlo ne faccio a meno, mentre adesso mi faccio una doccia, mi metto una maglietta pulita e vado in libreria a comprarmi un altro Lansdale. Anche se poi mi constringerò a centellinare, perché altrimenti finisco troppo presto i suoi libri e allora sì, mi toccherà prendere in mano Andrea De Carlo.
Scott Smith
May 07, 2015 Scott Smith rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2009 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This is Lansdale at his best. The Bottoms is a realistic look at rural life in the East Texas during the Great Depression. Narrated by a man at the end of his years about an incident that happened he was 11 years old, the story centers around a string of brutal murders of women. At first it is a black prostitute which the white citizens don't care about. Yet when one of the victim turns out to be white, racial tensions soar and the narrator's father, the constable, finds himself in a situation t ...more
May 10, 2015 William rated it liked it
This was a readable and fairly entertaining young adult novel. It feels a lot like an attempted update of, or perhaps just a riff on, or perhaps a ripoff of, To Kill A Mockingbird. It would be easy to find faults, like some short sections that don't really go anywhere or add to the story, heavy-handedness, etc., but why bother? It's probably not going to be remembered as a great masterpiece like To Kill A Mockingbird, but it's OK as just another book filling about the same role. Racists are bad, ...more
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Joe R. Lansdale is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and six Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas.
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“Only our memories allow that some people ever existed. That they mattered, or mattered too much.” 14 likes
“Deep down I think I may be just like everyone else. And do you know what, Harry?"
"No sir."
"That bothers me.”
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