September 22, 2011

Savage Season ***

*** Savage Season, Joe R. Lansdsale, 1990 Disclaimer

We're back on Lansdale, forging through the Hap and Leonard series. I read Mucho Mojo, the second in the series, on recommendation from Zane. As I said before, Lansdale is a brilliant writer. Vivid images, trenchant metaphors, visceral writing, penetrating characters, outrageous circumstances, sardonic humor.

But he also has a penchant for graphic violence, moderately explicit sex, and, the deal killer for me, a tendency to focus on the worst aspects of human nature, to roll around in the depravity of man like a hound dog in a cow pie. While I enjoyed the writing brilliance of his short-form work in Sanctified and Chicken Fried, I didn't like spending that much time in such a dark place. Although I must say that the last story, "White Mule, Spotted Pig" was transcendent.

So, I decided to avoid the other work for now and start at the beginning of the Hap and Leonard series and read them all, and then see what I thought. Like the other novels in the series, Savage Season has more sex per gallon than I prefer in a book. It has a closing showdown scene that goes on for about 30 or 40 amazing pages, with some seriously graphic violence. But it doesn't have the lingering malaise of moral despair.

Savage Season isn't a whodunit, it's a treasure hunt turned horrifyingly bad. It's also Lansdale in all his perverse glory. Give it a shot if it's the kind of thing you go for.

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