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Edge of Dark Water

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,665 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Mark Twain meets classic Stephen King--a bold new direction for widely acclaimed Edgar Award winner Joe R. Lansdale.

May Lynn was once a pretty girl who dreamed of becoming a Hollywood star. Now she's dead, her body dredged up from the Sabine River.

Sue Ellen, May Lynn's strong-willed teenage friend, sets out to dig up May Lynn's body, burn it to ash, and take those ashes to
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Mulholland Books (first published 2012)
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Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
3.5 stars

Sue Ellen and her friends are helping her daddy fish (poison the fish with green walnuts because her daddy is lazy) and they end up finding the body of one of Sue Ellen's friends in the Sabine River. She has been tied to an old sewing machine so that she doesn't come back up, Sue Ellen's daddy and her uncle both want to just throw the body back in the river but the kids won't let them.
The story is set back in the Depression so finding a body was not the big deal it has become today. He
Dan Schwent
A teenage girl with Hollywood aspirations's body is pulled out of the Sabine River. Her friends Sue Ellen, Jinx, Terry set out to spread her ashes in Hollywood. Unfortunately, some money the deceased girl's brother stole winds up in their possession and numerous ill-tempered people are on their trail. And a murderer named Skunk has been hired to get the money back at any cost. Will Sue Ellen and her friends survive their river odyssey?

Joe Lansdale weaves a coming of age tale set in east Texas. I

this book was just okay.

it's a little east texas huck finn-ette story about a bunch of misfits who take to a raft after their friend is found at the bottom of the river with her hands wrapped in wire and attached to a sewing machine. turns out, she has a map to some buried cash, so they decide to take the money and her ashes to scatter her in hollywood, which is where she would have been headed had she not been, you know, murdered.

so all the misfit toys escape their demons and go on a river tri
I must alert you, do you smell something in the air?
As that would have been a sign that the myth of the Skunk Man is real, his presence is known by a skunk like smell. A legend or a myth, be he what you please, he is a character that Lansdale has created in this story of fiction. He certainly adds a thrill to the tale. Skunk man presents death, a bogeyman like character that one shall tell tales of and our main characters in this story hope to be not true.

Sue Ellen a young woman, sixtee
"Mama, if you had a friend got drowned, and you found her body, and she always wanted to go to Hollywood to be a movie star, would it be wrong to dig her up after she was buried, burn her to ashes, take them down to Gladewater in a jar, catch a bus, and take her out to Hollywood?"

Yeah...strange as that sounds, the above paragraph is, in a nutshell, the plot of this book.

Poor May Lynn! An East Texas girl with only one dress to wear, she had big dreams of being a star, but she ended up dead in the
Steve Lowe
Great characterization, good plot, took me a bit to really get into it, but once they got moving down the river I was hooked (see what I did there?)

Bonus points for a scene that literally made me jump. This is no hyperbole, and I honestly can't remember the last time I was scared bad enough to flinch while reading a book (14 years old reading the tunnel scene in THE STAND maybe?), but there's a scene toward the end, one paragraph in particular, that made me catch the vapors. It was so bitchin'.

I'm really becoming a fan of Lansdale. Starting to think that his Drive In books were just a one off, since all other books I've read by his were excellent. This one reminded me of The Bottoms. Same lyrical quality. Always the same location, and, while I may never develop appreciation for East Texas or see its charms, it certainly makes for a good story setting. This one takes place somewhere in the 1930's and there is something incredibly powerful and honest about the way Lansdale describes the ...more
An atmospheric period piece which unearths the diluted humanity of a time where equal stature regardless of gender, race, and sexual preference was unheard of rendering one class above all with the rest left to fight for scraps. The trials and tribulations of the underclass documented within ‘Edge of Dark Water’ are confronting, raw, and powerful. For Sue Ellen, living amongst the perpetual weary dream-like trance of her parental figures who either ignore or pay her too much unwanted attention, ...more
Not the best Lansdale has to offer but still good.

"Edge of Dark Water" is the story of three friends who embark on a journey down the Sabine River in east Texas. Their reason for going is ostensibly to take the ashes of their dead friend, May Lynn, to Hollywood because she always aspired to be an actress and make it big in Hollywood. The underlying reason for their trip is to escape the confines of their lives, and each of the three suffers in different ways. Sue Ellen is the narrator of the sto
PROTAGONIST: Sue Ellen Wilson
SETTING: Depression era East Texas
SERIES: Standalone

Have you ever finished reading a book and found yourself having to fall back in your chair and take a deep breath while you marvel at its wonderfulness? That’s what happened to me when I read EDGE OF DARK WATER; moreover, I felt that somehow it had become part of my very being. I was amazed to find myself loving EDGE so much. It’s been a few years since I’ve had that experience; I feared that I had become
William Thomas
There is no truer American experience than the Southern American experience. And for all of those who have captured it with a clarity, depth and brilliance- Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Mark Twain, Flannery O'Connor- thank you, for that. Joe R Lansdale, this book doesn't put you on that list no matter how many nods and winks to those authors you make.

I had to really restrain myself from giving this fewer stars. I kept reminding myself that it wasn't his fault that almost every reviewer was misquot
Start with a beautiful teen girl found murdered and thrown in the river with a Singer sewing machine tied to her, add in her three young friends coming of age in depressed E. Texas who all run off to take the dead girl’s ashes to Hollywood, a mother addicted to laudanum, a scary legendary slimeball who chops off the hands of people he is paid to hunt down, plus an awesome outspoken narrator in the form of Sue Ellen Wilson, and it’s sheer entertainment. Some of the gory parts were pretty graphic, ...more
Sam Sattler
Joe Lansdale’s new novel, Edge of Dark Water, can be characterized as Huckleberry Finn on steroids (an easily imagined image for today’s sports fans), but a more apt categorization of the book is one author Joe Hill uses for it: hillbilly noir. I love that term and the image it creates.

Set in rural East Texas, an area Joe Lansdale calls home, this depression-era novel recounts the very personal quest that16-year-old Sue Ellen, her alcoholic mother, and Sue Ellen’s two closet friends embark upon,
Joe Lansdale seems to be in a rut lately. Fortunately it is a good rut. His last two books, not counting the brief Hap and Leonard novellas, featured children on the run. All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky is considered YA and so is, I believe, Edge of Dark Water. But it's pretty rough and unusual YA if it is that.

He also seems to be channeling Mark Twain. This novel has a lot of similarities to Huckleberry Finn right down to the raft and various racial issues. The novel takes place in East Texas
Ben Jackson
Ok, seriously. This book just isn't fair to other writers.

Edge of Dark Water is the one that got away. The girl in college who smelled like honeyed cloves just out of the shower, and just as good just before the shower. The girl to whom every other girl that follows will be compared, and come up lacking.

Joe Landsdale will steal your damn heart with this book, and ruin it for other writers for a while.

Oh sure, you'll try and read another book, but just as you begin to gently caress its tender pa
David Church
5 stars, great coming of age story. Joe Lansdale is like a modern day Mark Twain.
Another terrific effort from Lansdale that had me captivated from the very beginning. This coming-of-age story was very well-written with perfect narration from the central character. It was funny, sad, suspenseful and thrilling with interesting characters and a mysterious villian known as Skunk. If you are a Lansdale fan, you should love this one. Highly recommended.
Trent Zelazny
Really solid. Lansdale is one of my all-time favorites, and he is at the top of his game with this one. Story-wise, it's a slight departure, but if you enjoy Lansdale, this is supreme champion mojo storytelling. I highly recommend it.
This is another "biting your nails" tale of East Texas during the years of the Dust Bowl by Joe R. Lansdale. In this one 3 teen-agers are escaping on a raft down the Sabine River. The final 2/3rds of the book is tense. Extremely tense! It would make a great movie.

As in his other stand-alones there is a 5 star bad man/thing in this one too. One had the Goatman, this has the Skunk. They are supposed myth tales of the rural populace which are boogie man like scare stories, and yet are in reality a
This is the second of two books I read by Lansdale, published less than a year apart, and I would not have guessed they were written by the same person because the styles are so different. Both books were great page-turners, but the plot of this one works better.

It's easy to make comparisons with Huckleberry Finn: a white teen narrator fleeing with a black friend in the south (East Texas, and a different river), an abusive drunk for a father, and the law after them. But the narrator here is 16-y
Eric Guignard
REVIEWED: The Edge of Dark Water
WRITTEN BY: Joe R. Lansdale
PUBLISHED: March, 2012

One of the best new novels that I've read in a long time. It's described as being half "Huckleberry Finn" and half "Deliverance," which is about as accurate a comparison as I could come up with. Lansdale's descriptive prose and imagery is absolutely breathtaking and the dialogue alone is pitch-perfect: Quick, funny, and poignant. It's a coming-of-age novel set in the dark badlands of east Texas in which three teena
Sergio Frosini
D'accordo, non è il capolavoro di Lansdale come stupidamente recita la fascetta (e taccio per carità di patria lo stupido titolo italiano). E chi lo ha mai preteso?
Ho anche letto in rete recensioni di lettori deluse, con la puzza sotto il naso, gente che rinfacciava "ah, quella cosa del tonico l'ha copiata da Caldwell" o cose così: voglio dire, se due autori parlano degli stessi luoghi, nello stesso periodo, mi pare facile che ci siano particolari in comune; come dire che su uno parla di ubriach
Twerking To Beethoven
Never judge a book by its cover, and the cover to Joe R. Lansdale's "Edge of Dark Water" is amateurish, to say the least: horrible fonts, average forgettable picture, bad colours, etc.

The story and the way it's told, though, are top notch. "Edge of Dark Water" is a real page-turner. Hands down, one of the best first-person novels I've ever read. Also, you won't ever guess who killed May Lynn. When you eventually find out, you'll be like "WTF? Seriously?"... only in a good way, that is.

There's a river, there's a raft, there's a pithy African-American character and a scrappy young-un in overalls, there's an amputation and a psychotic killer (with a cut-out tongue! His momma tried to drown him!)- it's the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn gone very, very dark. Lansdale is all about the Southern Gothic, and he does a good job with it. In particular, he's good with an evocative phrase that makes the moment come alive for the reader. This is not a book for the faint of heart, though-- ...more
This was my first Lansdale book and I would not hesitate to read another. I thought it was good adventure story filled with both comical and descriptive sayings that provided southern flavor. Some scenes were very graphic and made me shudder but certainly nothing that would turn me away from another book by this author.
Part Mark Twain, part Harper Lee, part Stand By Me. Really, just, classic Lansdale. So, so good. It's a Southern coming-of-age story on a Texas river. A definite must-read.
11811 (Eleven)
Excellent mystery. Every bit as good as The Bottoms.
Corto Maltese
I have yet to run across a book of Lansdale that I don't love. Every author would have gotten five stars for this, but there are other books by Lansdale, that I love even more like Sunset and Sawdustor The Bottoms. (That's what you get for "spoiling" me with quality, Joe;-)
But this doesn't mean I don't recommend the hell out of this book. Because I do. It's absolutely great.
Joe R. Lansdale's Southern Gothic "Edge of Dark Water" takes the reader down a river on a journey with a cast of unforgettable characters. Narrator Sue Ellen is a clear-eyed teenager who'd much rather go fishing and shoot squirrels than keep a garden and shell peas. Her father is a nasty braggart and lazy drunk who poisons fish with sacks of green walnuts and then scoops them up by the armload.

The novel opens with Sue Ellen and her friend, Terry Thomas, whom most everyone has written off as a "
Osttexas, in der Zeit der 'Great Depression' (also 1929/30), als es den Menschen so richtig übel ging.
Als Sue Ellen, die 16jährige Ich-Erzählerin, ihren Vater und Onkel zusammen mit ihren FreundInnen Jinx und Terry zum Angeln begleitet, finden sie die Leiche der gleichaltrigen May Lynn, verschnürt und mit einer Nähmaschine beschwert. Doch niemand ist an einer Aufklärung, wie sie zu Tode kam, interessiert und so wird sie kurzerhand verscharrt. Doch ihre Freunde wollen sich damit nicht abfinden, g
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Horror Aficionados : The Edge of Dark Water by Joe Lansdale/November 2012 32 134 Dec 01, 2012 05:04AM  
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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.
More about Joe R. Lansdale...
The Bottoms Mucho Mojo (Hap and Leonard, #2) Savage Season (Hap and Leonard, #1) The Two-Bear Mambo (Hap and Leonard, #3) Bad Chili (Hap and Leonard, #4)

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“It was the kind of talk that made me want to break off a limb and take to whacking her and that bunch of hypocrites across the back of the head.” 8 likes
“Era semplicemente il fiume. Improvvisamente mi colpì il pensiero che era proprio come la vita, quel fiume. Tu ci navighi semplicemente sopra e, se arriva una pioggia forte, un'inondazione o qualcosa del genere e una parte viene spazzata via, col tempo tutto torna al suo posto. Be', magari con qualcosa di diverso, ma in sostanza resta lo stesso. Il fiume non cambia, ma la gente su quel fiume sì.” 2 likes
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