Monday, March 14, 2016

Honky Tonk Samurai -- Joe R. Lansdale

Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are back, and that's all the fans of Joe R. Lansdale's long-running series will need to know.  Why?  Because they know there'll be plenty of snappy patter, some occasionally graphic violence, some beautifully choreographed action scenes, plenty of East Texas interaction among the cast of great characters who show up regularly in the series, and the usual fine writing.  Everything's here, and it's all aces.

This time Hap and Leonard become legit.  Marvin Hanson, the private-eye for whom they occasionally do some jobs, is going back to legitimate law enforcement and wants to sell his agency.  Brett Sawyer, Hap's girlfriend, a nurse, decides that running a private-eye business would be preferable to emptying out bedpans and such, so she buys it and hires Hap and Leonard.  It's all official business now.

Their first case is one of those wandering daughter jobs, which turns out (to the surprise of no one who's ever read a crime novel) to be a lot more complicated than it appears to be.  It begins with Frank, who's also a lot more complicated than she appears be, who's the front for Frank's Unique Used Cars, a business that's a lot more complicated than it appears to be.  Did I mention that this was complicated?  But have no fear.  Hap and Leonard are just the guys to get to the bottom of things, even if they do have to call in a bit of help in the form of Jim Bob Luke, Booger, and Vanilla Ride.  Even the entire Dixie Mafia couldn't stand up to that bunch.

In the midst of all these goings-on, Hap gets tossed a life-changing curve ball.  Naturally I'm not going to tell you what it is.

I was going to say that when it comes to this kind of book, nobody does it better than Joe R. Lansdale, but that would be wrong.  It would be wrong because nobody else does this kind of book.  Nobody can.  Lansdale is his own genre, and it's all good.  Check it out.


Dale said...

That last paragraph says it all. There is no one else who can tell this kind of story like Joe can.

Unknown said...

True, for sure.

George said...

I can't wait to read HONKY TONK SAMURAI. I really like the HAP & LEONARD TV series on Sundance, too!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review, Bill. I will check this one out.

W. L. Ripley

Stephen B. said...

I got this in March; seemed slow going for 3 or 4 pages. Then the story really amped up.

Midway through the novel, it amped up even more. A great read, and I've got to say Joe actually outdid himself with this novel, but in the past few years he's penned some fine stuff.

In this order my favorite seem to be DEVIL RED / HONKY TONK SAMURAI. OR HONKY TONK SAMURAI, DEVIL RED and closely followed by MUCHO MOJO (my current favorites).