Kelly Hager's Reviews > Edge of Dark Water

Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale
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Mar 19, 12

Read from March 18 to 19, 2012

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, Terry and another friend, Jinx, decide to cremate May Lynn and take her ashes to Hollywood, because that's where May Lynn wanted to go.

Sounds like a road trip novel, right?

No. Because what ALSO is going on is that May Lynn's brother---who is also dead---robbed banks and left behind some money. Sue Ellen, Terry and Jinx find it and decide to use it to fund their trip. Unfortunately, May Lynn's dad knows about it, and he tells Sue Ellen's dad and uncle, plus the town's corrupt sheriff. So now the uncle and sheriff are chasing them, and that's honestly not even the worst of it. (Sue Ellen's mom warns them and she is now on the run with them.)

Joe Hill---who wrote Heart Shaped Box, which I loved---says this is a combination of Huckleberry Finn and Deliverance. I haven't seen Deliverance, but the comparison I would make is Huck Finn meets No Country For Old Men. Either way, it's a scary place to find yourself.

This book is seriously intense. It starts off very slow (not boring; that's not what I mean) but slowly ratchets up the tension. There were at least three places where I didn't breathe for several pages, and I had to take a small break after one confrontation. I'm happy that Joe R. Lansdale has written a lot of other books. I definitely want to read more of his.

Highly recommended.
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