Monday, September 05, 2016

Joe R. Lansdale binge

I've been reading lots of Joe Lansdale lately, since I wrote an article on him and his works for the magazine of the Finnish Whodunit Society. Here's a lowdown and some mini-reviews:

The Thicket: amazing Western novel that approaches horror literature without using any topics of the horror genre.

Paradise Sky: great epic Western with a very sympathetic African-American lead, some very violent scenes throughout.

Cold in July: great film, but even a better book, one of Lansdale's best. Lansdale himself dubbed this as his Gold Medal paperback. Lots of twists and turns, but I thought each and every one of them was logical.

The Bottoms: great mix of Mark Twain and more gory horror, though I saw quite early who the killer was. (It's never any reason for me to read a crime novel, to keep guessing who the killer is.) Great characters, people you wanted to know about and care for them.

Sunset and Sawdust: maybe a bit too reminiscent of The Bottoms, but still a very good crime novel, with a plausible and likable female lead and his two not-so-likable helpers. Lansdale does the epoque very well without emphasizing it too much. I like that.

Leather Maiden: possibly Lansdale's most conventional crime novel, but thoughtful and gripping nevertheless.

The Nightrunners: some terrific scenes and great characters, but there seemed to be a subtext of warning about teenage criminals, which felt odd.

I'd read almost all of the Hap and Leonard books earlier, so I read now only Mucho Mojo (great) and Vanilla Ride (a bit too straight-forward, but entertaining nevertheless). I didn't have time to read Devil Red nor Honky Tonk Samurai (nor the novellas that were published interim), a short mention based on what I could find had to suffice.

Lansdale doesn't have a Finnish publisher now. He hasn't had one since 2003. That's a crime. Someone should do something about it, what with the Hap and Leonard show on HBO and the graphic novel series coming out.

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