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Devil Red by Joe R. Lansdale
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's review
Jul 13, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction-crime-detection

DEVIL RED. (2011). Joe R. Lansdale. ****.
This is the latest in the author’s “Hap & Leonard” series of thrillers. Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are two operatives working out of East Texas. An operative is a person that assists a detective or a lawyer in the pursuit of a case or investigation. They are unique as a team in detective/thriller fiction. Hap is a regular guy, deeply in love with Brett, a nurse at a local hospital. Brett has a druggie daughter and Hap has tried to help her out here, but he tries to keep his distance. Leonard is a black, gay man, who regards Hap as his best friend. Together, the two take on jobs where they can work as a team. In this installment, Marvin, a local investigator, hires them on as a team to look into the killing of a young man and his date while on a biking trail in the woods. The mother of the young man has given up on the police ever getting anywhere with the case and finding the killers. When Hap and Leonard take a close look at the crime scene photographs, then notice the drawing of a devil’s face on one of the trees nearby. Hap had been to the area of the murders in the recent past and hadn’t noticed this drawing. A newspaper friend of theirs hooks them up with the keeper of the paper’s morgue. He finds a series of killings done over a wide geographic area that also exhibit this drawing. Is it the signature of a serial killer? Turns out that it is indeed the signature of a killer, one that the two operatives lock horns with after tracking backwards through all of the cases. They are very surprised at what they find at the end, and are helped by one of the main characters of a previous novel, a deadly female assassin named Vanilla Ride. The ending of this novel will have you flipping pages quickly to see what happens next. It’s quite a ride. Recommended.
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