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Cold in July

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,339 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
Richard Dane shoots and kills a gun-wielding burglar in his living room. It's clearly a case of self-defense, but the dead man’s father, Ben Russel, doesn't see it that way. Russel wants to extract Old Testament-style justice: an eye-for-an-eye, a son-for-a-son. Straightforward menace takes a 90-degree turn, though, when certain unexpected truths come to light, and soon Da ...more
ebook, 195 pages
Published July 28th 2011 by Gere Donovan Press (first published 1989)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Sep 26, 2014 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Well. This just fucking rules. Shootemups and badguys turned goodguys and goodguys turned badguys and snuff films and twistyplots and crooked feds and tough, mean dudes who look (in my head) like Danny Trejo, and all that stuff that makes crime fiction fun, but with more to it than bam-bam and dames and bam-bamming dames and dames getting bambammed. It's a smart little study of suburban malaise, nature/nurture, parental ineptitude and the dynamics of male relationships, tucked inside what appear ...more
This is a re-release of a book published in 1989 tied to the movie version coming out. It is the tale of an ordinary man whose life is shaken up by a crime that threatens his family who then becomes obsessed with resolving a mystery and proving himself in the sphere of violent action. It taps into feelings of purpose behind protecting home and hearth and forces you ask how far you would go to seek justice.

Richard runs a framing shop in rural East Texas. The first scene has him waking at night i
Apr 27, 2014 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Note: I first wrote this review in 2010 when I first started reviewing books at Goodreads. It was a brief review simply for the fact I read the novel in the late 90s and the details were not as vivid at the time. Now, thanks to the release of the film in 2014 and the rerelease of Cold in July> by Tachyon Publications, I was encouraged to read it again. The first part of this review are my first thoughts in 2010 followed by my new assessment.

This hard-nosed thriller by Joe R. Lansdale is easy
Bark's Book Nonsense
Nov 05, 2010 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, horror
COLD IN JULY starts out with a bang - literally - when everyman Richard Dane is forced to shoot an intruder intent on robbing and possibly murdering his family. Never having murdered someone, Richard is having a hard time of it. He's replaced the bloodstained couch and painted the wall but he still can't forget that awful night.

Overwhelmed with guilt, he attends the funeral of the small time crook and is spotted by the dead man's dangerous ex-con father. Dear old Dad is none too happy with his s
I liked this gritty novel, it’s a classic hardboiled crime fiction piece. I can understand that, because of the violence involved, Lansdale may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really like his dark writing style.
This novel deals with intense father-son relationships, Russel is an ex-con with a peculiar sense of justice, when he learns that his son Freddie has been killed while carrying out an home invasion he wants revenge, however (view spoiler)
Steve Vernon
Dec 18, 2009 Steve Vernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I met Joe at a New York horror convention. He gave me a copy of this and told me it was his personal favorite of all he's ever written. It's a helluva read from a helluva nice guy.
Aug 29, 2010 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid read. The strengths of this book are in the originality of the story and the willingness of Lansdale to constantly make sharp turns never letting the reader predict the direction the story will take.

The characterization is good, if not always fully developed, but the pace of the story and the surprises throughout make for a really enjoyable read.

A fun, quick read that deserves to be rediscovered.
Frank Errington
May 16, 2014 Frank Errington rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review copy

While it's true I haven't read all of Joe R. Lansdale's books, I've read enough to know I love his stuff. Whether he's being serious or off the wall, there's always a level of believably in his stories.

I guess you could call Cold In July a crime novel, but it certainly has elements of horror. Not monster horror. Real horror. The horror we read about in the newspaper or watch on the nightly news. The kind of horror that makes any sane person ask, "How could someone do something like th
May 02, 2014 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting short noir tale by Joe Lansdale written very early in his illustrative career about a family man who shoots a burglar in his home one night in self defense. The dead burglar is then mysteriously misidentified by East Texas cops and the just released, ex-con father of the misidentified dead burglar shows up in town seeking revenge on the guy who shot and killed his long abandoned son. Good concept, characters and dialogue but slow pacing dragged down the action and final showdown, in ...more
May 28, 2014 Kevintipple rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crime just doesn't happen in the small east Texas town of LaBorde. It certainly doesn't happen to respectable people like Richard Dane and his family. Until that July night, Richard's toughest job was dealing with his young toddler son and his penchant for always spilling his milk. Then, that one night, he killed a man and everything changed.

Not that he had a choice. Not when his family, Ann and their four year old son Jordan, were at stake. Not when somebody had broken into their house located
Apr 05, 2011 DJMikeG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, short East Texas Noir novel by the great Lansdale. This is one fast, mean, thought provoking book. Lansdale reveals his talent for creating a twisting, turning plot that takes you by surprise many times and where nothing is quite what it seems. What makes his writing really stand out, however, is his humor, his elegant descriptions and his laser sharp eye for detail. An excellent little novel by an excellent writer. Highly recommended.
Ben Loory
pretty amazing (and disturbing) opening chapter about a guy confronting a burglar in his house... after that, the story gets a little rickety (and unbelievable), but the characters are vibrant and there's a LOT of energy and you really never know where it's going. lansdale's writing is full of startling little quirks. just wish the characters didn't talk quite so much.
Edythe Hamilton
Feb 25, 2014 Edythe Hamilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amy wakes her husband, Dane, in the middle of the night because she heard something. Dane goes downstairs to find an intruder standing in the living room. Shots ring out and the intruder is dead. Dane is still in shock the day of the funeral for the intruder, Freddy Russel. He goes to the funeral against police advice. There he finds the father of the slain criminal, Ben Russel (Russel).
Russel threatens Dane and his family because of the killing. Dane goes to the police and they really can’t do
Jun 16, 2008 Godzilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2008
Great characters, a story which hooks you in from page 1. A dark tale of families and violence , which seems inherrent in these days, yet shot through with humour and colour.
Some swell Lansdale here. While this book is about murdered burglars & police conspiracies, it's also about parenting & wondering if you're doing it right while figuring you probably aren't. "And there were thousands of little things he did that made me climb the wall, and it was the same for Ann. She and I went through each day joyful for him and mad as hell at him, trying to figure if we were overly demanding of a four-year-old, or if he was a real-life Dennis the Menace." See, that ri ...more
Aug 23, 2008 Ken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of you unfamiliar with Joe, just pick one up and you'll be an instant fan.
Jun 18, 2014 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
COLD IN JULY is one of those books that fools the reader into a false sence of security before sweeping the rug out from underneath. Initially resembling a run of the mill crime novel, COLD IN JULY treats the reader with three distinct acts/stanzas, all a natural progression from one another. Beginning with a home robbery, then turning private eye, to ending a violent vigilante, COLD IN JULY provides three distinct reader experiences each as good as the other.

Woken by the sound of an intruder, h
Dec 17, 2013 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go till the last word – and Joe Lansdale write with an honesty, humor, and depth that is unique, fun, and generates suspense like waiting for Santa to come
when you were a kid.

What happens when a burglar breaks into your house in the middle of the night and you grab a pistol you hardly know how to use – you see him and he sees you – fires a shot, and when you fire back, you kill him.

And then his dad, just released from a 20 year armed robbery
May 16, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw a trailer for the movie and read positive reviews so I added to my DVD queue. I then found out it was based on a book so I got the book to read first before seeing the movie (which I have still yet to see). I love to read a book and then watch the movie based on it to see the difference and how it has been adapted.

This was a great read. A book about fathers and sons and their relationships. It was a good thriller/drama with three interesting characters who are different from one another in
Nov 04, 2015 Piker7977 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
When frame store owner Richard Dane shoots an armed intruder, he finds himself going down a strange path when someone close to the dead man comes looking for revenge. The series of events that Dane experiences are terrifying and sometimes bizarre. This tale of an average joe encountering an element that he never knew existed is highly entertaining.

Lansdale does a splendid job of creating suspense and tension right before climatic scenes in this book. Since the story is told through a first perso
Jürgen Zeller
Aug 23, 2015 Jürgen Zeller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was wäre meine kleine literarische Welt ohne den Schriftsteller Joe R. Lansdale? Ganz gewiss ein gutes Stück ärmer. Ich hab immer ein ungelesenes Buch von ihm auf Reserve ... für Momente in denen man sonst nichts Anständiges zu lesen hat. Da nun die frisch aufgelegte "Drive-In Trilogie" in den nächsten Tagen bei mir Einzug hält, habe ich mir dieses Buch zur Lektüre gegönnt. Die rasante Erzählung habe ich in zwei Tagen gelesen und ich bin von der düsteren Stimmung bis hin zum kleinen glimmenden F ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Alecia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is a rare case where I saw the movie before I read this book. It all came flooding back to me as I read it, as it quite an unusual plot.The movie was made quite a few years after the book was written.

The main character kills a burglar who has has broken into his house while he, his wife and his som were sleeping. While this appears to be a cut and dried case (no charges are brought against him, as it is a clear case of self-defense), the plot becomes quite twisty. I didn't quite buy the en
Shirley Wetzel
Apr 21, 2016 Shirley Wetzel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Dane is an ordinary man who is forced to shoot a burglar to protect his family. That supposedly cut and dried action turns his life. Lots of chills, thrills, action and angst, unexpected twists and turns, but at heart this is a story of fathers and sons.

This book has been made into a film on Sundance, starring Michael C. Hall as the protagonist, Richard Dane, Sam Shepherd as an avenging father, and Don Johnson as the foul-mouth, irreverent, macho, and hilarious guy who brings them togeth
Jan 12, 2016 Nenatie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Die Rezi findet ihr auch auf meinem Blog

Willkommen in der Finsternis... Richard Dane ist ein anständiger Bürger und Familienvater. Doch eines Nachts ändert sich sein Leben von Grund auf. Richard stellt einen Einbrecher und erschießt ihn. Für die Polizei ist der Fall klar: Notwehr. Doch als der Vater des Erschossenen beschließt, Rache für seinen Sohn zu nehmen, wird eine Kette von blutigen Ereignissen in Gang gesetzt. Um seine Familie zu schützen, greift Richard zu extremen Mitteln ...
Mar 25, 2015 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review:

This was my first read by Joe R. Lansdale and I loved his voice.

Lansdale wove a story of complex characters into a uniquely twisted, pulse pounding story that flowed quickly. I felt that his voice was a cross between author Jim Thompson and Quentin Tarantino and could make for a rockin' "cult" classic. This was a really dark and sad story that Lansdale masterfully kept lightened up in his character development. and interactions.
William Boyle
Dec 13, 2014 William Boyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read some other Lansdale and really liked it. But, if I'm being honest, this one wasn't on my radar until I saw the movie a few weeks ago. I loved the movie. I loved the book even more. A masterclass in pacing and unpredictability. It's a lot of things - a crime novel, a horror novel, funny as hell - but maybe, above all, it's a meditation on fatherhood and fear. Wow. Just wow.
Jun 03, 2016 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Starts as a story of revenge and then takes a drastic, much darker turn! Excellent novel. Lansdale can pretty much do no wrong.
Jenn Myers
This one starts out with our main character killing a burglar in self defence. The burglar's father, a convict who's just been released from jail, comes after the main character with plans to kill the main character's son in revenge. The plot quickly tangles in a Lansdale fashion, and our antagonist and protagonist eventually join forces to figure out what the heck is really going on. The characters are believable, fun, and really give the impression of being fully developed individuals. It's an ...more
Nov 27, 2012 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I love Joe R. Lansdale's work. I have read a few novels and his short story 'Incident on and off the Mountain Road' which was fabulous. I gave this book 3 stars and would probably give 3.5 if I could but don't think that I did not like the book. It is good. All of his stuff is good but I liked the other books such as 'Edge of Dark Water' and 'The Bottoms' more than this one. Just my own preference and like I said all of Lansdale is good. Ordinary people find themselves in un-ordinary circumstanc ...more
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Note-perfect thriller, building a sense of going somewhere truly and uniquely terrible, without giving any real indication of where it is until you get there. Lansdale makes it look simple: there really isn't a sense that this has been plotted or constructed, as one things happens and then another with crazy but remorseless logic, yet it all purrs like a well-oiled engine. It's character-driven, inasmuch as the characters are definitely driven to keep going to the end and do what they feel needs ...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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