The Bottoms
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The Bottoms

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  2,739 ratings  ·  352 reviews
A thriller with echoes of William Faulkner and Harper Lee, The Bottoms is classic American storytelling in its truest, darkest, and more affecting form.

Its 1933 in East Texas and the Depression lingers in the air like a slow moving storm. When a young Harry Collins and his little sister stumble across the body of a black woman who has been savagely mutilated and left to di...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2000)
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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...more
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...more

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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Stephanie Griffin
May 03, 2008 Stephanie Griffin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition 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...more
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...more
Lee Thompson
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
Joanne Parkington
This is my second JRL book and having started out with the first in the Hap & Leonard series i wasn't expecting too much ... but this book blew me away. There's a review of Mucho Mojo that say's " you don't so much read this book, rather it play's in your ear's" and that's how this guy writes .... it's easy to forget you are reading and not watching a film. The setting's beautiful yet scary, the story is innocent yet dark & foreboding, the character's are flawed and realistic, fighting a...more
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
Carol Storm
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...more
This author is prolific, and I've read more than a few, but this one is my favorite so far. I considered giving it a 5 star. The only category that it lacks slightly, just a fraction, is in the plot twist quotient. Because I guessed the culprit at about 75% completed on the Kindle read.

How refreshing to dive so deeply into East Texas with no alternating narrators or seemingly unconnected locations or story lines that never meet/mix until the midst of the book! I'm rather sick of all the gimmicks...more
Tim Asbury
This novel was my first Lansdale and I really enjoyed it. The characters were well developed and the story moved along at a nice clip. As far as the mystery aspect of the story it was a little predictable but not in anyway taking away from the story. I will be reading more books by Lansdale.
I picked up this novel on a whim at the airport bookstore last week and was surprised at my reaction to it: I devoured it. This phenomenal (and disturbing) story takes place in rural East Texas during the Depression. Harry Collins is wasting away in a retirement home and he tells us a story from his childhood....a series of local murders that occurred when he was twelve. East Texas being what it was in the early 30's - a hotbed of racism and Klan activity - and the victims and possible suspects...more
Der ca. 80-jährige Ich-Erzähler Harry, der als Fossil im Altenheim lebt und das Verschwinden der Natur beobachten muss, erinnert sich an die Jahre 1933/34 zurück, als er mit seiner Familie in Osttexas lebte und eine Reihe brutaler Frauenmorde die Gemeinde erschütterte und seinen Weg ins Erwachsenenleben beschleunigte. Da er und seine kleine Schwester die erste verstümmelte und missbrauchte Leiche im Fluss finden, ist Harry von Beginn an involviert in das Geschehen, zumal sein Vater Constable ist...more
If you did a mash-up of "Boy's Life" and "To Kill A Mockingbird", you'd have this wonderful book by Lansdale. It might be 5% off from those two classic novels, but it is definitely in their league.

I've read the one and two star reviews of "The Bottoms" ~most were disappointed in the so-called 'mystery' included in the novel, and I agree. It's not a great whodunit. I wish the book wasn't touted as a mystery, because "The Bottoms" is far, far better than a mystery.

What Lansdale has done in this re...more
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...more
Cameron Wiggins
This is my first dip into Joe Lansdale and boy was I impressed. This is a real first rate book. It is a narration and a great story told and boy do I love those. The story is told from the point of view of a man in a nursing home who lived and grew up through these experiences.
The book takes place in 1933-1934 during the depression in East Texas. Furthermore, whites and blacks do not generally intermingle much at all and the Ku Klux Klan is fairly strong in this part of the country still. Sure,...more
The story is told as a man is nearing the end of his life, reminiscing about the most momentous event in his childhood.

In East Texas, during the depression, twelve-year-old Harry Crane and his nine-year-old sister, Tom, find the body of a black woman deep in the woods by their farm.

Their father, Jacob, is the town constable. He sees that the woman has been murdered and brings her body to the doctor in the next town because he is afraid that the young doctor in his town will lose some of his pati...more
For some reason I'm in a series of rural redneck mysteries. I think I came across this while looking for Tom Franklin's latest (and ended up with an earlier one), and read Winter's Bone because of the movie reviews. So this one has as much graphic violence as Franklin, adding a sexual component. It certainly concentrates on racial aspects, and gives you what you'd expect in the rural south in the 1930's, including the Klan. Otherwise, it thematically borrows too heavily from To Kill a Mockingbir...more
ABC Group
The was my first exposure to Lansdale's writing. Apparently horror is his thing, but The Bottoms is more like a coming of age story mixed with a bit of murder and good Southern moral codes woven into one very tight story. Lansdale is a great writer. Every single character in this book was very memorable and the author has that uncanny ability to tie everything off in the end regarding the lives of each one these folks.

The Bottoms takes place in East Texas during the Depression. There's a steady...more
I loved this book! This is one of those stories that I didn't want to end. The story is narrated by Harry Collins, who is in a nursing home, reflecting back upon his youth, the years 1933-34, during The Great Depression. He and his family lived in East Texas, where he and his little sister Tom ran wild and played in The Bottoms, an area close to their home, alongside the Sabine River. There was a legendary creature called The Goat Man, and Harry and Tom were always looking for him, hoping to cat...more
This is my favorite book by a long time favorite writer. Feels like classic American literature at times, evoking Harper Lee and John Steinbeck. But then it twists, and exposes the dark human currents running through the Eat Texas town in an unsettlingly modern manner.

I mentioned writers The Bottoms reminds me of, but the language is actually very distinctly Joe R. Lansdale. Which means totally original, especially when you experience the cumulative effect of reading the entire novel. Magic rea...more
Benoit Lelievre
It's a particular feeling to find a writer you really love and as you're reading his book, you know you will want so more by the time you're done. I had read only short stories by Joe R. Lansdale before THE BOTTOMS and they were all very different from each others. This novel (Edgar Award winner is different from everything else I've read from him too). Lansdale's a chameleon, but his pen really bings things together. I'm usually not fond of child narrators, but young Harry's innocence here is a...more
David Farrar
If I had to nominate the Great American Novel I'd short list The Great Gatsby, both Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer and Death of a Salesman, (I know it's a play but it should be read as well as seen). If you absorb these you'll learn a lot about American culture.

Now I'd add to that list The Bottoms by Lansdale, or almost any book by Walter Mosley, (I've just finished Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned). These are stories that deal with race and American society from coming of age to facing death and...more
A wonderful read. While the mystery elements of the story are pretty familiar, it is the coming-of-age/family story that sets this book apart.

I've only read three other Lansdale books. While this captured a lot of sense of humor and style, the themes are far more bold and complex. I like the "drive-in" books, but I would really like to find more books like this where he challenges himself and the reader.

Great characterization and fluid storytelling. Much more of a straight novel with mystery el...more
At the beginning, it was trying hard to be TKM, but the more of it I read, the more I grew to like and root for the characters. The ending definitely doesn't leave you wanting more--it is crazy and I couldn't put it down (as you can see, I read it all today, in one sitting). Certainly not literature, but more certainly well-written junk food narrative! Enjoyed myself while reading it...and might have nightmares about the Goat Man, even though I know the truth...I recommend it for anyone who like...more
Someone is killing women up and down a river along the South. Only, this is not the 21st century, and today's conventional strategies for catching the serial killer were not available to small-town constables in the 1930's. Why the gruesome violence and does the mysterious man with the goat's head have anything to do with the murders?

I picked up this book thinking I was getting a taste of horror. Well, it's not really horror unless you find explicit descriptions of autopsies horrific. It's more...more
"To Kill a Mockingbird" for adults. I'd like to go back in time and make this movie with the kid from Sling Blade.

Also, if Joe Lansdale's house got broken into, I'd find the people who did it and chop their heads off. That is how much I love Lansdale. After the honor of meeting him at the 2005 WHC in NYC and getting to talk to him for about a half hour, my love for him has multiplied thousandfold.

You got a problem with him, you got a problem with me.
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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...
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) Edge of Dark Water

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