Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011


The arrival of a new Joe Lansdale book is always cause for celebration in my house. The fact that it’s another in the Hap (Collins) and Leonard (Pine) series is a bonus. DEVIL RED is the name of the new book and is #8 in the series.

Joe is yet another gift that Texas has given to the rest of the world, right behind the Alamo and Kinky Friedman . Therefore, we have plenty of reasons to be grateful to the Lone Star State. Joe’s a national treasure. Or should be.

I met Joe (and a friend of his, Scott Cupp, who would become a friend of mine as well) in the summer of 1984 when we all attended the Western Writers Convention in Branson, Missouri. At that point, I’d honestly not heard of Joe, but in talking with him found him to be engaging, chock full of that famous Texas wit and loaded with his trademark straight-from-the-hip honesty.

Probably more than anyone else, it was Joe who influenced my taste in weird books. Thanks, Joe! My better half Karen thanks you, too, because if I have my head in an odd book, I’m generally not pestering her. Having said that, I think Joe would agree with me that we are both lucky enough to have lovely ladies named Karen to keep us grounded.

But I digress.

The plot in this newest book has our boys investigating a vampire cult and a particularly disturbing mutilation murder after finishing a “street justice” type of assignment on a guy who robbed and injured an old lady. To say more than that about it would be to do an injustice to the way the story unfolds.

A couple of primo Lansdale-isms from DEVIL RED:

Quieter than a politician’s brain.

We were so mean our mean wore a hat and tie.

If you’ve never read Joe Lansdale, or at least any of his Hap and Leonard books, you must immediately do yourself the favor of hunting them down and doing so. Any book you find will do, but please, don’t deny yourself DEVIL RED. You’d just be shorting yourself a good time. What else could you expect from someone who once wrote a book featuring a farting dinosaur (DRIVE-IN 2)?

Such are the pleasures of reading a Lansdale book. Joe’s one of the most interesting people writing books these days. And one of the nicest, too. G’wan – let him entertain you.