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A Fine Dark Line

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,698 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
It is the summer of 1958 in Dewmont, Texas, a town the great American postwar boom passed by. The kids listen idly to 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 molasses... For thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchell, the end of innocence comes with his discovery of the myster ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Mysterious Press (first published 2002)
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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
4th out of 40 books — 44 voters
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryThe Time It Never Rained by Elmer KeltonThe Road by Cormac McCarthyMolly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? by Molly IvinsThe Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry
Texas Authors
49th out of 340 books — 143 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,999)
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I read The Bottoms by Lansdale and fell in love with his writing. That book was a coming of age tale also.


This one is set in Dewmont, Texas during the late 1950's.
Thirteen year old Stanley Mitchell is pretty naive. He reads comic books and hangs out with his dog Nub. His dad gets a wild hair and buys the local drive in movie theater and the family moves into the house that comes with it.


Stanley and Nub are poking around in the woods near the theater and he digs up a box containing lost love
...more
Steve
Oct 21, 2011 Steve rated it liked it
Lansdale is a great writer. He's so good that he can write in his sleep -- which may be the problem with A Fine Dark Line. Lansdale's ability in dealing with issues of race, sexuality, good and evil, is remarkable. You never feel like you're being preached to, which is probably a testimony to Lansdale's good common sense. However, in A Fine Dark Line, the ghosts invoked come from other novels. Anyone who has read To Kill a Mockingbird or Tom Sawyer, knows he or she has read earlier and greater e ...more
☮Karen
May 13, 2014 ☮Karen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I very much enjoy Lansdale's writing, and once again this story and the venues it takes place in all remind me of To Kill a Mockingbird. It's not a rip off of it by any means, just a lot of similarities. A very engrossing coming of age story. Loved it.
Maria Grazia
Lansdale è probabilmente il più geniale rimasticatore della letteratura americana, persin più geniale del Re, che pure in questo senso non scherza.
E infatti La sottile linea scura non è altro che una rimasticatura de Il buio oltre la siepe, più un bel po' di altre cosette, compreso Via col Vento.
Eppure, nonostante l'orecchio addestrato riesca a riconoscere le fonti, quello che ne viene fuori è un romanzo originale e bellissimo, con i personaggi che emergono vivi e veri, la paura che fa sudare e
...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
Dec 09, 2010 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, horror
This Lansdale novel, unlike the other Lansdale novels I’ve read, is told from the point of view of a thirteen year old boy named Stanley. It’s not filled with the off-the-rails cursing and crazy gore that I expect when reading a work from this guy but it still kept my attention. Set in a small town in Texas in 1958, it makes sense that Stanley’s “voice” is still quite innocent. I don’t think you could get away with that sort of innocence today, what with the internet and MTV and their marathon s ...more
Michael
Aug 26, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
EIN FEINER DUNKLER RISS die Geschichte des Sommers 1958, als der Ich-Erzähler Stan mit 13 Jahren im osttexanischen Kaff Dewmont endgültig Abschied von seiner Kindheit nehmen muss.
Durch Zufall wird er auf einen knapp 20 Jahre zurückliegenden Doppelmord aufmerksam. Die Sommerferien sind lang und und Stan beginnt, unterstützt vom farbigen ehemaligen Polizisten Buster, sich mit den scheinbar zusammenhängenden Todesfällen zu beschäftigen.

Stan hat ein bisschen was von einem Spätzünder, erst vor eine
...more
Teresa
Feb 24, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it
What is that you say?

A Joe R Lansdale little southern gothic tale/mystery, set in the 50s at a Drive In.

Love it? Yes, I do!
Rayna
Mar 22, 2015 Rayna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I've said it before and I'll say it again, "I think I just finished the best book I have ever read!" "A Fine Dark Line," by Joe Lansdale is a tale of mystery set in Texas during the 1950s. Now I could spend this review writing about the overall crimes committed to create the plot of this magical story, or I could linger on what I consider to be Lansdale's strongest talent, character development.
I'm a thirty something female who has spent her entire life on the Great Plains. I live in an area o
...more
Ginny_1807
Coinvolgente nonostante l’impressione di ‘déjà vu’ o, meglio, la fondata sensazione di ritrovarsi su un terreno già percorso da altri illustri scrittori. In particolare, tornano in mente temi ed atmosfere più incisivamente visitati da Stephen King in “Stand by me” e da Harper Lee nell’indimenticabile “Il buio oltre la siepe”.
La ‘sottile linea scura’ rappresenta per il protagonista tredicenne il passaggio alla consapevolezza: del sesso, del dolore, del male, dell’odio razziale, della morte… inso
...more
Alessia ProfumoLibri
Era da tanto che Lansdale mi incuriosiva, era da tanto che volevo provare a leggere i suoi libri, così mi sono fatta consigliare da un'amica e mai scelta fu più giusta.
Mi sono innamorata dello stile di questo autore e del modo tutto suo in cui riesce ad accompagnare il lettore dentro alla storia.
La sottile linea scura è un libro così completo e intenso che è difficile parlarne.
Ho amato l'ambientazione americana di fine anni '50 e il modo in cui Lansdale la fa vivere intensamente e a tutto tondo,
...more
Matteo
Nov 29, 2014 Matteo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-readings
E' da 5 minuti che ho iniziato a pensare al modo migliore per scrivere questa recensione e come iniziarla..e dalla scelta di parole si deduce che non le ho trovate!
Devo ammettere che Lansdale con questo libro mi ha obbligato a rivedere la scaletta di libri da leggere che mi ero preparato; dopo aver letto "La lunga strada della vendetta" in quanto fan di Batman, e "Cielo di sabbia" (il primo molto bello, il secondo niente di eccezionale ma piacevole) ho acquistato "La sottile linea scura".
5 ste
...more
Astrid Virili
Aug 17, 2013 Astrid Virili rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Qualcuno potrà anche dire che questa storia l'ha già sentita: la storia di un ragazzino che cresce e scopre di non essere più un bambino, la storia di una piccola città di provincia nel profondo sud degli Stati Uniti, la storia delle tensioni razziali tra bianchi e neri, la storia di una morte misteriosa lungo i binari del treno. Quelle storie le ho lette anche io, per esempio "Il buio oltre la siepe" oppure "Stand by me - ricordo di un'estate". Eppure la voce di Lansdale affascina in maniera ir ...more
Giangian
Nov 14, 2010 Giangian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un classico romanzo di formazione, rinforzato dalla scrittura, straordinaria, di Lansdale di cui avevo letto, finora, soltanto la serie di Hap&Leo.
Meno esplosivo ripetto a quei libri, questo libro è ambientato nell'America degli anni '50, che non è esattamente quella di Happy days.
Tensioni razziali, violenze famigliari, fanatismo religioso, disagio sociale fanno da sfondo all'estate di un ragazzino che, pagina dopo pagina, acquista consapevolezza sul mondo degli adulti (con i suoi lati posit
...more
The Just-About-Average Ms M
Wowza. I thought this was a little gem of a book, a wonderful slice of life, coming of age, maturing at a price tale. I’d read two other Lansdale books, both featuring adolescent boys, and, like Stephen King, he writes both lyrically and realistically of kids hovering on the cusp between childhood and adulthood.

The story is told in the first-person narrative of Stanley Mitchel, Jr., a thirteen-year-old boy young enough to buy comics for a dime when they’re new and a nickel with their covers remo
...more
Gregor Xane
Dec 26, 2010 Gregor Xane rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Quick and entertaining. Although, I was somewhat disappointed that the mystery wasn't solved through investigation, considering a lot of time was spent investigating (and great risks were taken to get the materials needed for the investigation). As always, with Lansdale, I found myself laughing out loud a few good times throughout the text.
Karl
Apr 22, 2015 Karl marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is copy 171 of Six Hundred signed numbered copies.

Dustjacket by John Picacio.
yexxo
Feb 20, 2014 yexxo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: krimi, abenteuer
Sommer 1958, ein kleiner Ort in Texas. Stanley, gerade 13 Jahre alt, muss erfahren dass der Weihnachtsmann nicht existiert - und es somit wohl auch keinen Osterhasen gibt. So etwas nennt man wohl eine behütete Kindheit ;-) Doch damit ist es in diesem Sommer vorbei. Denn als er beim Spielen ein kleines Kästchen mit Briefen und Tagebucheintragungen findet und Nachforschungen darüber anstellt, kommt er auf die Spur eines Doppelmordes, der noch immer nicht aufgeklärt ist. Gemeinsam mit seiner Schwes ...more
Pamela
Mar 20, 2012 Pamela rated it really liked it
Where has East Texas writer Lansdale been hiding? The man is brilliant! (Yeah, ok...I loved the movie version of Bubba-Ho-Tep but it never dawned on me to find the writer.)

This little book has it all. The mystery works, and I mean really works. The characters are so real and 3-dimensional, you'd recognize them walking down the street. The plot moves at exactly the right pace--not too fast, and defintely not too slow. And, although it has enough plot to be considered plot-driven, the character ar
...more
charta
Jul 25, 2012 charta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Romanzo di formazione di un preadolescente, ambientato in una tranquilla cittadina del Texas.
Sotto una placida sonnolenza covano ed agiscono menti malate, stupide o perfide. Altre perdono la loro innocenza ma non la voglia di vivere.
Segreti inconfessati e corruzione, l'apparente semplicità di vite ordinatamente delineate e di gerarchie sociali intoccate sono lo scenario in cui si muove una famiglia sana e, soprattutto, serena. Con adulti in grado di fare da sponda anche nelle peggiori situazioni
...more
Pamela Pickering
4.25 stars! A nice suprise! I really enjoyed this novel of Lansdale's (much more than The Bottoms. I found it to be a very entertaining and nostalgic coming of age/mystery story told in the folksy style of a 13 year old in the 1950s. The 1950s seem to be a great time of which to write due to it's innocence and it's conflicting darkness (in this case, racism, child abuse, spouse abuse) and this one has it all...it sounds dark, but it made me laugh on several occassions. I was sold on this story e ...more
Jody
Sep 12, 2012 Jody rated it it was amazing
I was just a little kid in 1958, and remember the world as a bigger and less demanding place than it is now. Bigger because I was small and vulnerable and knew nothing about it, and less demanding because I was a kid. Being a child, however, does not guarantee one a carefree childhood full of happy memories. But I do think America was in many ways a simpler place in the fifties, if perilous for some. And this is the beauty of A Fine Dark Line, Joe R. Lansdale's engaging story about thirteen-year ...more
Nate
Jul 14, 2015 Nate rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I loved this book. The writing was always engaging, the character development was excellent, and the time period was represented in detail. The only thing keeping this from five stars is that the writing was sometimes too much telling in lieu of showing, and I felt the main character conflict could have been stronger. However, this book is written in more of a memoir style, and the main conflict is really the narrator coming to terms with the state of the world, which is plenty intense.

I'm turni
...more
Leah Polcar
Sep 03, 2014 Leah Polcar rated it really liked it
I need to thank both Kemper and Dan for reviewing books by Landsdale and piquing my interest. I loved the story and the characters in this book. I am only knocking it down a star since I, a non-mystery fan, solved the "mystery" by the half-way mark. Nonetheless, still a fun, intelligent, and engaging read which makes me look forward to reading more Landsdale. In fact, the first Hap and Leonard, again brought to my attention first by Kemper, is next up.
Allen
Apr 13, 2008 Allen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: dreamers and true believers.
Once again Joe R. Lansdale blows me away with the strength and breadth of his capabilities. The man can write the purely absurd like Flaming London, short stories that will curdle your blood with their violence, and stories like the Bottoms and this book, A Fine Dark Line. I don't really know how to describe the feelings that are brought up by this book. While I was reading it I kept thinking of the great works of Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Dandelion Wine, and their ability to ev ...more
Marvin
Dec 02, 2010 Marvin rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
A Fine Fark Line is the novel that is most like Lansdale's other classic, The Bottoms. There is a lot of similarities: It s a coming-of-age story wrapped around a mystery. It takes place in East Texas but in the 50s, not in the 30s as with The Bottoms. There is also many of Lansdale's favorite topics including race relations and family violence. Which one you like best will probably hinge on which one you read first. Yet A Fine Dark Line is a riveting literary thriller no matter how you slice it ...more
Clark Hallman
May 13, 2015 Clark Hallman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime
A Fine Dark Line by Joe R. Lansdale – Lansdale is a terrific story teller who develops wonderfully unique, fascinating, and realistic characters with lots of human baggage to reveal. This amazing story takes place in the late 1950s and focuses on a thirteen-year-old boy, Stanley, who lives in a house with a drive-in-movie-screen on one of its exterior walls. Stan lives with his parents and his older sister and helps his father with the drive-in theater. However, Stan becomes fascinated with the ...more
Amelien
Apr 09, 2014 Amelien rated it it was amazing
Kleiner Held ganz GROß

Bisher hatte ich noch nichts von Lansdale gelesen und ich muss sagen, ich bin wirklich richtig begeistert und beeindruckt, über diesen spannenden, ehrlichen, fesselnden und berührenden Krimi.
Dieses wird sicher nicht mein letztes Buch von Lansdale sein.
Er schafft es ohne große Schnörkel, den Leser in den Bann zu ziehen. Die Charaktere wirken authentisch und es wird nicht nur an der Oberfläche gekratzt. Der tiefste menschliche Makel wird hier bildhaft geschildert.
Ein mutiger,
...more
Chadwick Saxelid
Nov 23, 2014 Chadwick Saxelid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The year is 1958, the place is Dewmont, Texas, and it is summer. Thirteen year old Stanley Mitchell's life changes forever when he trips over and discovers a box buried in the ground near the ruins of a once stately home. Inside the box is a collection of anonymous love letters. Curious to find out who wrote the letters and why they had been hidden, Stanley, thinking he might be able to return them to their rightful owner, begins a clumsy investigation into the history of the ruins. What he unco ...more
Julie
Dec 09, 2015 Julie rated it liked it
Stanley , the main character in this book, is a 13 year old boy, who moves to Dewmont, Texas the summer he turns 13 . His dad buys the drive-in movie theater,so the family all pitch in to work on it and get it up and running .
It's a summer of mysteries solved after many years , of a boy learning about growing up in more ways than one, and what it means to treat everyone in the proper manner ,no matter what their background .
He has a great set of parents who are very supportive and protective of
...more
Jacquelynn Fritz
Mar 09, 2012 Jacquelynn Fritz rated it really liked it
This is a cuming of age and mystery set in Dewmont, Texas, in 1958. The Mitchell family has bought the drive-in and moved to Dewmont, where Stanley, the son, finds a box with old letters and pages of a journal. Stanley learns Margaret is who wrote the letters and finds that she was murdered. On the same night that Margaret is murdered, Jewel Ellen is murdered by being tied to her bed, during a house fire. Stanley. his sister Callie, Buster, the projectionist, and his friend Chester, help Stanley ...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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