Despite my love of Lansdale, before I’d picked this book up a few weeks ago I hadn’t read any of his Hap and Leonard series (which is now a TV show that’s pretty good! Some parts of it are a little on the goofy side, but most of those are actually from the book itself, so I can’t fault the TV show for that. And the performances are really good. I didn’t love it, but it’s definitely worth a watch). They’re his most popular books and they make up a huge chunk of his bibliography (which is…just wow. The dude is seriously prolific. Like a couple books a year prolific. And yeah, some of them are novellas, but still. His poor fingers. And social life) which is probably why I’ve been avoiding them. I know how much I love his stuff, and I know myself and my tendency to need to consume series in one big gulp, and I just haven’t had the time to commit to a huge, fifteen to twenty novel series. But I saw this one sitting on the shelf at my local used bookstore (Pulpfiction in Vancouver! You should go there!) and just decided to go for it.
Aaaaaaaaaand now I’ve got like the next six books in the series queued up to order for when I get back home. It was a lightning quick, engaging read, with likeable characters (I’m partial to Leonard myself, but mostly because you don’t get to see too many gay dudes who are tough guys without being caricatures. I’m a gay man, but not a tough guy, so it doesn’t reflect any experience of my life or anything like that. It’s just nice to see more than the one type of gay person portrayed in media. Especially for it’s time, it’s way a head of the game. A similar pop culture example that springs to mind is Omar from the wire, played by the always awesome Michael K Williams, the same guy they’ve got playing Leonard in the show) and Lansdale’s characteristic sharp wit and twisty writing.
If you’ve got the time and the money to fall into a huge book series, penned by an author that can write them almost faster than you can read them, without it getting in the way of your life (or if you just don’t care), you should check this one out. It’s great.