When Leonard's Uncle Chester dies and leaves him a house, Hap and Leonard move in in order to fix it up and find a child's skeleton wrapped in a pornoWhen Leonard's Uncle Chester dies and leaves him a house, Hap and Leonard move in in order to fix it up and find a child's skeleton wrapped in a porno mag. Was Uncle Chester a child predator or was someone else the killer? And does it have anything to do with the crackhouse next door?
Here we are, the second book in Joe Lansdale's redneck noir adventures of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. While I had vague recollections of reading this sometime around the turn of the century, it was mostly a new book.
Leonard's Uncle Chester dies so the boys pack up and head to LaBorde to settle his affairs. While repairing his house, they stumble upon a child's skeleton and uncover a wasp's nest of religious-themed serial killing that has been going on for decades.
While the first book wasn't quite firing on all cylinders, this one roared down the track like one of those crazy tractors with four or five engines on it. Hap and Leonard's investigations come from the Spenser school of walking around, pissing people off, and eventually having the case come together in the midst of some bloodshed.
Some longtime supporting cast members were introduced in this volume, like Marvin Hanson and Florida. Marvin is also the star of Act of Love, a Lansdale that I still have yet to read but own at least two copies of. Like most of the early Hap and Leonard's, Hap and Leonard do a lot of philosophizing when they're not cracking wise or cracking skulls. This may account for the brevity of later volumes when Hap isn't such a bleeding heart. Also, this is the first time Leonard burns down a crackhouse, something that happens at least two more times in the series if I remember correctly.
The mystery is fairly intricate. I guessed part of it, both the first time and this time but forgot some of the wrinkles. I guess I'm lucky I remembered the details that I did considering it's probably been over a decade since I first read it. In fact, if the girlfriend I'd let borrow this book sometime years ago hadn't left a couple post-its in the book with notes on them, I probably would have been a little further afield than I was when all the shit went down.
Funny thing, I completely forgot about one character's death and was surprised when another one lived. Like I've said before, old books magically become new books once enough time passes.
Lansdale's really shows his chops in this one, writing like a backwoods Elmore Leonard. When the killers are revealed, their motives make a certain amount of sense, to me and Hap, at least. Leonard's not as kind was we are. The contrasting personalities of Hap and Leonard set them a cut above other buddy teams for my money.
Mucho Mojo is one of the best books of one of my favorite series. Five out of five stars. ...more
When laborer Hap Collins' ex-wife Trudy pops back into his life with a story about retrieving unrecovered money from a bank robbery, Hap's up for it.When laborer Hap Collins' ex-wife Trudy pops back into his life with a story about retrieving unrecovered money from a bank robbery, Hap's up for it. In tow is Hap's best friend, Leonard, a gay black man who happens to be the toughest son of a bitch on the planet. Will Hap and Leonard finally make the big score that saves them from a life of backbreaking labor or is Trudy leading them to their deaths?
2014 reread: Since nothing on my unread pile looks appealing at the moment and a Hap and Leonard TV series is in the works, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the Hap and Leonard books I read pre-Goodreads. One of the perks of getting older is that old books magically become new books after seven or eight years. I remembered the basic plot of this book but forgot most of the wrinkles.
Savage Season introduces Hap Collins and Leonard Pine to the world. Hap is an ex-hippy who spent a year and a half in prison for dodging the Vietnam draft and Leonard is a gay black Vietnam vet who is the toughest man on Earth. Together, they coast through life on crap wages and make a lot of smart ass remarks.
Since originally reading this, I've read a lot of other crime books. It seems to me that Hap and Leonard owe something to Robert Parker's Spenser and Hawk characters, transported to Lansdale's rural east Texas setting. No matter how you slice it, though, Hap and Leonard are one of the most entertaining duos in crime fiction.
The plot of this one is pretty straight forward. Some money from a bank robbery was stashed on boat and sunk in the Sabine River. Trudy, Hap's ex, with some other radicals in tow, want Hap's help in retrieving it. Funny quips and bloody double-crosses ensue and Hap and Leonard wind up in the hospital for the first of many times in the series.
It always surprises me how funny Joe Lansdale's books are without lessening the impact of the violence that often follows. There are some pretty brutal images in this one.
While Savage Season isn't the best book of the series, it's a great beginning. Even in their first appearance, Hap and Leonard are very much the losers I've come to love over the years and I'm excited to be experiencing their adventures once again. Four out of five stars....more
Hap's ex-girlfirend Florida disappears while investigating the murder of blues musician's son. Hap, Leonard, and Marvin Hanson go Grovetown, a racistHap's ex-girlfirend Florida disappears while investigating the murder of blues musician's son. Hap, Leonard, and Marvin Hanson go Grovetown, a racist hive of scum and villainy, to investigate. Will they find Florida and bring her back?
Reverend Jebediah Mercer, Lansdale's alcoholic gun-toting preacher, comes to town. Too bad a dying Indian medicine man put a curse on the town and it'Reverend Jebediah Mercer, Lansdale's alcoholic gun-toting preacher, comes to town. Too bad a dying Indian medicine man put a curse on the town and it's crawling with zombies...
If you're a zombie fan or a Joe R. Lansdale fan, this slim volume is more than worth the cash. It's got everything you love about zombie stories, set in a western town, and written by the Master of Mojo hisownself, Joe Lansdale....more
For my money, Joe R. Lansdale's short story collections are always worth a read. This one is no different. Instead of attempting to remember and revieFor my money, Joe R. Lansdale's short story collections are always worth a read. This one is no different. Instead of attempting to remember and review all of the stories, I'll just talk about my favorite one, Bestsellers Guaranteed.
Bestsellers Guaranteed is the story of an aspiring writer who just can't catch a break. One day, he sees an ad in the paper for an agency called Bestsellers Guaranteed. In return for guaranteed slots on the bestsellers chart (whether he writes the book himself or the agency has someone write it for him), he'll be required to kill someone...
In the foreword to the story, Lansdale said the story came out of his frustration with trying to make a living writing. It shows. Hell, I wonder all the time how some books show up on the bestseller's list. Once the writer finds out he's going to have to kill someone, you feel his sense of dread.
This is my second favorite Lansdale collection, right after High Cotton. If you can only buy one, get that one. If you can get two, you have to jump on this one....more
Here's a Dangerous Dan review I did for BlackPigeon:
Sometimes, like when you're waiting for a corpse to finish bleeding out in your bathtub so you canHere's a Dangerous Dan review I did for BlackPigeon:
Sometimes, like when you're waiting for a corpse to finish bleeding out in your bathtub so you can dismember it without making such a mess, you need some quick entertainment. Look no further.
Conan and the Songs of the Dead collects a miniseries published by Dark Horse a year or so ago. Songs of the Dead stars the barbarian we all know and love. The illustrator is the esteemed Tim Truman, artist of modules from the golden age of gaming, as well as comics like Scout and the good issues of Grimjack. I could easily go off on a Grimjack tangent but I'll save that for another time. The author of this piece is Joe R. Lansdale, write of such literary gems as the Hap and Leonard series as well as Bubba Hotep. Lansdale and Truman collaborated on several Jonah Hex miniseries for DC a few years ago so Dangerous Dan got really excited when he heard they were tackling the one and only Conan.
The story is as follows: Conan and his comic relief sidekick Alvazar, are charged with retrieving an artifact that looks like a jeweled minotaur penis and bring it to a sorcerer. The sorcerer plans to use the artifact to open a doorway into another dimension and release a great evil. Songs of the Dead is full of dark humor, decapitations, and monsters, like a Conan story should be. ...more
For me, a Joe Lansdale novel is like a visit from that foul-mouthed uncle your parents wish you wouldn't talk to when he comes to family gatherings. TFor me, a Joe Lansdale novel is like a visit from that foul-mouthed uncle your parents wish you wouldn't talk to when he comes to family gatherings. The stories he tells are outside your normal sphere and often make you uncomfortable.
Leather Maiden is about an Iraq war veteran who returns to his home town and starts a job writing for the local paper. He finds out about an unsolved missing person case that happened while he was gone and writes a story about it. Not long after, a mysterious envelope shows up, containing a dvd with his brother and the missing girl engaged in adult situations. Things spiral from there.
Leather Maiden is vintage Joe Lansdale: black humor, gore, interesting characters, and an intriguing story. What else do you need from a mystery novel?
Aside from the selling point of being a Joe Lansdale novel and all that entails, this story has another big thing going for it: I had no idea where things were going until they were 7/8s of the way there. I love that in a book....more
It's been close to a decade since Joe Lansdale gave us another Hap and Leonard tale. Was it worth the wait? HELL YES! I gave it five stars, didn't I?
HIt's been close to a decade since Joe Lansdale gave us another Hap and Leonard tale. Was it worth the wait? HELL YES! I gave it five stars, didn't I?
Hap and Leonard get talked into doing a favor for their friend Marvin. Marvin's granddaughter has been hanging with drug dealers and Hap and Leonard go to bring her back. Things go south for Hap and Leonard, as they always do, and soon the drug dealers are looking for payback. One shootout later and our boys are in the clink. The FBI offers them freedom in exchange for finding the son of a member of the Dixie Maffia and the three hundred thousand dollars he stole. That's when things really get bad...
Mrs. Lansdale's little boy hasn't lost a step. Hap and Leonard's banter is as fresh and dark as ever. The violence is stark and comes in heaping handfuls. While most of the antagonists seem to be there to take bullet holes, Vanilla Ride, the hitwoman the book is named after, is quite a character, a killer with a moral code. I wouldn't be surprised if Old Joe writes a solo adventure for her in the future. The crooked cops from No Enterprise should top anyone's scumbag list. Leonard Pine once again proves what a bad mother he is.
To sum up, if you're a fan of Hap and Leonard, snap this one up. It's the best one since the third or fourth book.
Sanctified and Chicken-Fried is a collection of Joe R. Lansdale short stories. The cover says The Portable Lansdale. I guess that's true since this isSanctified and Chicken-Fried is a collection of Joe R. Lansdale short stories. The cover says The Portable Lansdale. I guess that's true since this is a best-of collection.
The stories are a combination of old favorites, like Bubba Hotep and Mr. Weedeater, new stories like the Dust Devils, and excerpts from two of Lansdale's novels, the Magic Wagon and A Fine Dark Line. The short stories are great. Rather than review them all, I'll tell you about Mr. Weedeater.
Mr. Weedeater has been my favorite Lansdale short story for about a decade now. Job Harold, redneck and all round loser, sees a blind man trimming the yard of the church next door with a weedeater. He tries to help the blind man but the blind man is on the obnoxious side. Eventually, Job's conscience gets the better of him and he helps the blind man, then lets him relax in his living room. Job's family likes the blind man entirely too much for Job's liking. However, when Job drives the blind man home, his house has burned down and his wife suggests the blind man stay with them. Hilarity ensues.
While I enjoyed the hell out of this collection, I couldn't give it five stars for two reasons. First, only one of the stories was brand spankin' new. Second, I would have much rather had two more stories instead of the novel excerpts. If the collection had included Bestsellers, Guaranteed and the one about the people fighting over the locket containing the Virgin mary's Pubic hair, I would have given it five stars automatically.
If you don't have any Lansdale short story collections, this one is the perfect place to start. Otherwise, read the contents before you buy, although the stories within are good no matter how many times you've read them....more