Not only is Lansdale moving quickly up the ranks of my favorite authors list, but the dynamic ass-kicking, ebony and ivory duo of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are becoming two of my favorite fictional characters.
This installment was darker than the series opener, and had the normal fisticuffs and backtalking that I loved in the first book. The crime that occurs was much darker, more interesting and much less palatable, but Lansdale is great at writing stories like this. Reminded me a little of THE BOTTOMS, with the crimes against children and the sexual deviance angle. The funny thing is, I knew the instant the guilty characters were introduced that they were involved and for some books, that would kill it for me. But Lansdale is such a great writer that he keeps you guessing. Just because you know the who, doesn't mean you know the where, what, why or how and they are still very complusive reads and thought-provoking and that's what I love about his books.
And its hard not to love his descriptive passages like this:
"The black cloud of fate came with rain, of course. Two days later, early afternoon, I was sitting on my front porch taking in the cool wind and the view. One moment there was just the same red, empty road that runs by Leonard's place, and beyond it, great pines and oaks and twists of vines, and above it all, clouds as white and smooth as God's own whiskers, and the next moment, the wind abruptly changed direction, blew harder from the north, turned damp and sticky, and the clouds began to roll and churn and go gray at the edges. Out of the north rolled darker clouds yet, and they filled the sky and gave up their rain and the pines became purple with shadow and the road turned from red to blood-clot brown, then darker. The rain slammed down hard, and the wind thrashed it onto the porch in steel-colored needles that stung my face and filled my nostrils with the aroma of wet earth."
Or the lovingly said, but racially and sexually charged, banter like this:
"Aren't you embarrassed undressing in front of a queer? Leonard said. "All you know, I might be sizing up your butthole."
"Just call me a tease."
I really like how Lansdale uses Hap and Leonard to bridge the racial and cultural gaps between the two friends and even the social commentary that the two clearly state without coming to blows, well, most of the time anyway.
"Shit, Hap, I don't give a damn what happened to him in his childhood. I mean, he got fucked by his next-door neighbor who was a scout leader, I'm sorry for the kid he was, but for the man he is, I don't give a shit. He made his own choice."
This is an EXCELLENT series and I'm so thankful to my friend Marvin for leading me to it! Thanks friend! :)