Edge of Dark Water
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Edge of Dark Water

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,300 ratings  ·  270 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...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Mulholland Books (first published 2012)
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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...more
karen

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...more
Lou
I must alert you, do you smell something in the air?
No?
Good!
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...more
Melki
"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...more
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'.

T...more
Bandit
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
Josh
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
Maddy
PROTAGONIST: Sue Ellen Wilson
SETTING: Depression era East Texas
SERIES: Standalone
RATING: 5.0

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...more
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...more
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...more
☮Karen
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,...more
David Church
5 stars, great coming of age story. Joe Lansdale is like a modern day Mark Twain.
Gatorman
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.
Steve
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...more
Marvin
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...more
librarianh20
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
Jeanette
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...more
Deb
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.
Miriam
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.
Hallie
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 "...more
yexxo
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...more
Kelly Hager
Sue Ellen's home life is pretty awful. Her dad's abusive (he hits her and her mom; he also visits her room at night) and her mom's basically checked out, addicted to her "cureall," which I'm guessing is something like laudanum. One day, she's fishing with her best friend Terry and her dad and uncle when they find a body in the water. It's obviously murder; there's a sewing machine tied to her feet. Turns out the victim is a girl that Sue Ellen and Terry were friends with, May Lynn. Sue Ellen, Te...more
Peter
I first came across this book when I was perusing the Goodreads Choice Awards for 2012. It was listed as one of the top horror novels, but what I discovered in reading this novel was something quite different than I expected.

Having not previously read anything by Joe Lansdale, I was expecting a more traditional novel. The publisher describes the book as “Mark Twain meets classic Stephen King,” which led me to think of perhaps a supernatural occurrence along the Mississippi. What Lansdale deliver...more
Kelli
Story: B+
Narration: A-

Quick Review:

Edge of Dark Water is part coming of age story, part murder mystery, a lot Southern Gothic story, part river adventure, part… well, it’s a whole lot of things but most importantly - it’s a very good book. Joe R. Lansdale creates an extremely well-drawn sense of time and place with characters who immediately grabbed my attention. There’s a very “classic” feel to much of this story (think To Kill a Mockingbird or Huckleberry Finn) with well-placed doses of horror...more
Jodie22
I loved Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and this book seemed similar to them. I liked the idea that a girl was the lead character. I was immediately drawn into the story by the character's voice. Sue Ellen is a 16 year old girl with a limited education. Lansdale sometimes slipped out of that voice, but it only distracted me for a moment.

For a book that's about characters traveling along a river, the majority of the book takes place on land. Obviously, the characters couldn't be on the river constantly...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/03/...

Edge of Dark Water is my first Joe Lansdale novel. I know, I know! The man is something of a legend, and I’m a bit ashamed that I’m just now discovering the awesome. But you have to start somewhere, yes? Anyway, I saw a blurb for Edge that said something along the lines of “a mix of Mark Twain and classic Stephen King.” Yes, please! As it turns out, that statement was pretty accurate. The voice of Edge of Dark Water is 16...more
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
From my blog: http://serialdistractions.com

Anybody who’s read my blog for a decent length of time should know that I love me some Joe R. Lansdale. The East Texas author has such a unique voice and crafts such deliciously weird stories–if he put his name on the front of the phone book, I’d give it a serious read.

His latest, Edge of Dark Water is yet another triumph, a notch in his worn, tale-slinger’s belt.

This Depression-era story begins when the body of young woman, May Lynn, is found dead in t...more
Judi
"After all we have been through," Terry said, "something like that shouldn't astonish me."

A dark but beautiful coming-of-age-adventure-quest that takes place in East Texas during the depression years between three teenage friends -- Sue Ellen Wilson, Terry Thomas, Jinx Smith -- who decide to take the ashes of their beautiful, but dead friend May Lynn to Hollywood where they know she would have gone if she had not been found bloated in the Sabine River with a Singer sewing machine fastened to her...more
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Horror Aficionados : The Edge of Dark Water by Joe Lansdale/November 2012 32 133 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 Collins and Leonard Pine, #2) Savage Season (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, #1) The Two-Bear Mambo (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, #3) Bad Chili (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, #4)

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