It is the summer of 1958 in Dewmont, Texas, a town the great American postwar boom passed by. The kids listen idly to rockabilly on the radio and waste their weekends at the Dairy Queen. And an undetected menace simmers under the heat that clings to the skin like molasses... For thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchell, the end of innocence comes with his discovery of the mysterious long-ago demise of two very different young women. In his quest to unravel the truth about their tragic fates, Stanley finds a protector in Buster Lighthorse Smith, a black, retired Indian-reservation cop and a sage on the finer points of Sherlock Holmes, the blues, and life's faded dreams. But not every buried thing stays dead. And on one terrifying night of rushing creek water and thundering rain, an arcane, murderous force will rise from the past to threaten the boy in a harrowing rite of passage... Vintage Lansdale, A Fine Dark Line brims with exquisite suspense, powerful characterizations, and the vibrant evocation of a lost time.
From Publishers Weekly
The atmosphere is as thick as an East Texas summer day in Edgar-winner Lansdale's (The Bottoms) engaging, multilayered regional mystery, which harks back to 1958. Thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchel, Jr., has enough on his hands just growing up in Dewmont, Tex., when he literally stumbles on a buried cache of love letters. Stanley pursues the identity of the two lovers with help from the projectionist at his family's drive-in, an aged black man who quotes Sherlock Holmes and doesn't mince words about the world's injustices. As the truth of a gruesome 20-year-old double murder comes to light in the sleepy town, so do the facts of life, death, men, women and race for young Stanley. Unfortunately, this wealth of experience sometimes strains credulity. For instance, Stanley, his sister, Callie, and friend Richard witness a secret burial, see a local phantom, are chased by a murderer and barely miss being hit by a train-all in one night. As the older and wiser Stanley says of the past, "More had happened to my family in one summer than had happened in my entire life." The "down-home" dialect is occasionally overdone, too, with more ripe sayings than Ross Perot on caffeine. But Lansdale clearly knows and loves his subject and enlivens his haunting coming-of-age tale with touches of folklore and humor.
Lansdale makes a rich stew of memory and mystery in the voice of Stanley Mitchel Jr., who is 13 in 1958 and is writing down, in midlife, what he recalls. His parents own the drive-in in Dewmont, Texas; his dad calls his mom "Gal"; his sister, Callie, is turn-your-head pretty and feisty besides. Stanley finds in the burnt ruins behind the drive-in a cache of love letters. Stanley--innocent enough at the beginning of the story to still believe in Santa Claus--is fascinated by the letters and soon learns that the fire marked the deaths of two young women, long ago. Those deaths ripple through the pages, as Stanley struggles with knowledge of good and evil: his friend Richard's abusive dad; the black cook's stalker boyfriend; the drive-in projectionist who faces twin demons of age and alcohol. Stanley's mother, father, and sister are vivid, glowing personages. Stanley doesn't unravel everything, but race and power, and what people do to each other in the name of desire and religion, coalesce to a mighty climax.
Jack Catcher's parents are dead—his mom died of sickness and his dad of a broken heart—and he has to get out of Oklahoma, where dust storms have killed everything green, hopeful, or alive. When former classmate Jane and her little brother Tony show up in his yard with plans to steal a dead neighbor's car and make a break for Texas, Jack doesn't need much convincing. But a run-in with one of the era's most notorious gangsters puts a crimp in Jane's plan, and soon the three kids are hitching the rails among hoboes, gangsters, and con men, racing to warn a carnival wrestler turned bank robber of the danger he faces and, in the process, find a new home for themselves. This road trip adventure from the legendary Joe R. Lansdale is a thrilling and colorful ride through Depression-era America.
About the Author
JOE R. LANSDALE is the author of more than a dozen novels for adults, including eight Hap and Leonard novels, as well asSunset and SawdustandLost Echoes.He has received a British Fantasy Award, an American Mystery Award, an Edgar Award, a Grinzane Cavour Prize, and seven Bram Stoker Awards. All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky is his first novel for young adults.
"Dad told me once, that if people don't care about where they live, the way they act, people they associate with, they get lost in the dark, can't find their way back cause there's no light left. I had taken a pretty good step into the shadows tonight."
It's payback time, in this short story by Joe R. Lansdale.
A zombie western by Joe R. Lansdale. Dead In The West is the story of Mud Creek, Texas, a town overshadowed by a terrible evil. An Indian medicine man, unjustly lynched by the people of Mud Creek, has put a curse on the town. As the sun sets, he will have his revenge. For when darkness falls, the dead will walk in Mud Creek and they will be hungry for human flesh. The only one that can save the town is Reverend Jebediah Mercer, a gun toting preacher man who came to Mud Creek to escape his past. He has lost his faith in the Lord and his only solace is the whisky bottle. Will he renew his faith in himself and God to defeat this evil or will the town be destroyed?
Joe Landsdale once again combines his love of the wild west with zombies in Deadman's Road, another tale of his two-gun toting Reverend Jebidiah. The Reverend decides to help a deputy sheriff escort a prisoner along Deadman's Road, the supposed haunt of an undead fiend.
This novella was first published as a serial in three parts by Subterranean Press in March 2007 — taken from Joe R Lansdale's collection The Shadows, Kith and Kin which was published April 25 2007.
Subsequently included in The Living Dead — an anthology of 34 zombie stories by various authors — published by Night Shade Books in September 2008.
Twenty-one stories for mature audiences only!
This collection of Joe R. Lansdale stories represents the best of the “Lansdale” genre—a strange mixture of dark crime, even darker humor, and adventure tales. Though varied in setting and theme, all the stories are pure Lansdale—eerie, amusing, and occasionally horrific. In “The Pit,” modern gladiators square off against one another using Roman methods. An alternate-history tale called “Trains Not Taken” shows Buffalo Bill as an ambassador and Wild Bill Hickok as a clerk. Lansdale’s love of large lizards and humor are evident in the stories “Godzilla’s Twelve Step Program” and “Bob the Dinosaur Goes to Disneyland.”
The career of Joe R. Lansdale has spanned more than twenty-seven years, in which period he has written over two hundred short stories. This collection is the best of these. As Lansdale states in his Introduction, ". these stories are the ones I think best reflect my work." Some of these are obviously horrific ab initio: others, the realization will slowly, surely creep upon one. Others will visit alternate history, humor, or dark crime. Mixing the impossible, the improbable, and the never-before-thought-of, Lansdale uses his innate East Texas storytelling abilities to perfection. As an added bonus, each story starts with an introduction by Lansdale, describing the story-behind-the-story.
Hyenas marks the always-welcome return of Joe R. Lansdale’s most indelible fictional creations: Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. Once again, the embattled but resilient duo find themselves enmeshed in a web of danger, duplicity, and escalating mayhem. The result is a tightly compressed novella that is at once harrowing, hilarious, and utterly impossible to put down.
The story begins with a barroom brawl that is both brutal and oddly comic. The ensuing drama encompasses abduction, betrayal, robbery, and murder, ending with a lethal confrontation in an East Texas pasture. Along the way, readers are treated to moments of raucous, casually profane humor and to scenes of vivid, crisply described violence, all related in that unmistakable Lansdale voice. An essential addition to an already imposing body of work, Hyenas shows us both the author and his signature characters at their inimitable best. It doesn’t get better than this.
Hyenas also includes the bonus Hap Collins short story, “The Boy Who Became Invisible”.
From Publishers Weekly
In Lansdale's wry, casually violent novella about roughneck buddies Hap Collins (white and straight) and Leonard Pine (African-American and gay), the two knights-errant befriend a hapless fellow whose younger, weaker brother has fallen in with extremely bad company—he's just joined a gang of bank robbers whose leader is used to increasing his own share of the loot by killing the other gang members. As usual, the dialogue is deadpan tart and the action extreme but convincing. Readers will find themselves simultaneously grinning and flinching. The book also includes "The Boy Who Became Invisible," a story Hap tells about something he witnessed years before, perhaps explaining why he's inclined to stand up for people who aren't as good at defending themselves as he and Leonard grew up to be. Lansdale (Vanilla Ride) once again proves he's the East Texas master of redneck noir.
Abrash amalgam of terrifying suspense, raw humor, and intriguing mystery that unfolds in the vividly rendered shadowy lowlands of East Texas.
After a harrowing stint in the Iraq war, Cason Statler returns home to the small East Texas town of Camp Rapture, where he drinks too much, stalks his ex-wife, and takes a job at the local paper, only to uncover notes on a cold case murder. With nothing left to live for and his own brother connected to the victim, he makes it his mission to solve the crime. Soon he is drawn into a murderous web of blackmail and deceit. To make matters worse, his deranged buddy Booger comes to town to lend a helping hand.
Since a mysterious childhood illness, Harry Wilkes has experienced horrific visions. Gruesome scenes emerge to replay themselves before his eyes. Triggered by simple sounds, these visions occur anywhere a tragic event has happened. Now in college, Harry feels haunted and turns to alcohol to dull his visionary senses. One night, he sees a fellow drunk easily best three muggers. In this man, Harry finds not only a friend that will help him kick the booze, but also a sensei who will teach him to master his unusual gift. Soon Harry’s childhood crush, Kayla, comes and asks for help solving her father’s murder. Unsure of how it will affect him, Harry finds the strength to confront the dark secrets of the past, only to unveil the horrors of the present.
From Publishers Weekly
In this superior East Texas crime thriller from Stoker-winner Lansdale (Sunset and Sawdust), Harry Wilkes discovers after a severe childhood ear infection that he has a peculiar "hindsight." Harry can not only see dead people but see and hear violent events as they occurred in the recent or distant past. "It's like I hear and see ghosts in sounds," he tells his father. By the time he's a college student, Harry's psychic abilities have driven him to booze. After meeting alcoholic Tad Peters, a retired martial arts expert, Harry becomes Tad's surrogate son and student. The two forge a pact to sober up together. Their resolve is tested when Harry agrees to help Kayla Jones, an old childhood crush now a cop, solve her father's murder, which her boss, the local police chief, has dismissed as a suicide. Lansdale's down-home prose erupts with explosive twists and razor sharp insights into how "echoes from the original sounds" can never be silenced until action is taken to defeat the fear that created them.
The prolific Lansdale returns, after sojourns in pulp, sf, and horror, to work his peculiar mojo on the supernatural crime thriller. Harry Wilkes has inherited his family's curse of experiencing "dark sounds," full-sensory recordings of traumatic events that can be unleashed by, for example, the banging of a toilet lid upon which a guy once blew his brains out. Booze helps hold the "ghosts in the noise" at bay, but his life as a drunken recluse isn't going well. He gets things under control with the help of an eccentric sensei named Tad, but when a boyhood girlfriend named Kayla comes home to find her father's killer, Harold grits his teeth and journeys into the dark once more. Lansdale's prose finds the perfect pitch between the laid-back cadences of front-porch storytelling and the thriller's demand for growing urgency. He is a bit unreconstructed when it comes to gender relations--or at least the vocabulary to describe them--but he's got both the charisma and the balls to pull it off. Funny and scary, with a barn-burner ending.
He has been called "hilarious… refreshing… a terrifically gifted storyteller with a sharp country-boy wit" (Washington Post Book World), and praised for his "folklorist's eye for telling detail and [his] front-porch raconteur's sense of pace" (New York Times Book Review). Now, Joe R. Landsdale gives us a fast-moving, electrifying new novel: a murder mystery set in a steamy backwater of Depression-era East Texas.
It begins with an explosion: Sunset Jones kills her husband with a bullet to the brain. Never mind that he was raping her. Pete Jones was constable of the small sawmill town of Camp Rapture (" Camp Rupture " to the local blacks), where no woman, least of all Pete's, refuses her husband what he wants.
So most everyone is surprised and angry when, thanks to the unexpected understanding of her mother-in-law-three-quarter owner of the mill-Sunset is named the new constable. And they're even more surprised when she dares to take the job seriously: beginning an investigation into the murder of a woman and an unborn baby whose oil-drenched bodies are discovered buried on land belonging to the only black landowner in town. Yet no one is more surprised than Sunset herself when the murders lead her-through a labyrinth of greed, corruption, and unspeakable malice-not only to the shocking conclusion of the case, but to a well of inner strength she never knew she had.
Landsdale brings the thick backwoods and swamps of East Texas vividly to life, and he paints a powerfully evocative picture of a time when Jim Crow and the Klan ruled virtually unopposed, when the oil boom was rolling into and over Texas, when any woman who didn't know herplace was considered a threat and a target. In Sunset, he gives us a woman who defies all expectations, wrestling a different place for herself with spirit and spit, cunning and courage. And in Sunset and Sawdust he gives us a wildly energetic novel-galvanizing from first to last.
By turns absurd, hilarious, and terrifying, this outrageous collection features the best writings of the high priest of Texan weirdness. Odd-ball detectives, malicious rocks, spectral prehistoric fish, and vampire hunters permeate these vividly detailed stories. Featuring cult-classic award-winning tales such as “Night They Missed the Horror Show” and “Mad Dog Summer,” along with nonfiction forays into drive-in theaters and low budget films, this dynamic retrospective represents the broad spectrum of Lansdale’s career. “Bubba Hotep”—the tale of Elvis, John F. Kennedy, and a soul-sucking mummy, which was made into an award-winning film — is included along with the acclaimed novella, “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks,” and never before collected works. Original, compelling, and downright odd, this unforgettable compilation is essential reading for fans of horror, mystery, and southern gothic.