November 3, 2011

Rumble Tumble ***

*** Rumble Tumble, Joe R. Lansdale, 1998

Disclaimer: Lansdale is not for everybody

Five books in and it's still a non-stop, insane, balls-to-the-wall thrill ride, combined with masterful writing.

Rumble Tumble features ruthless small-time mobsters, drunk Mexican bikers, working girls and a felonious midget. Hap and Leonard, joined by Hap's new girlfriend, hit two whorehouses, one in Oklahoma and one in Mexico, where they pack plenty of heat are aren't too bashful about using it.

This time around we don't get any high-drama meteorlogical cataclysms, but we have plenty high body count.

But the thing that brings me back to Lansdale is the great writing. Check these gems:

Next morning we were tooling down Highway 87 on our way into Lubbock, traveling some of the bleakest, ugliest terrain this side of the moon. It's the kind of landscape you think you'll fall off of. Every time we passed a scrubby tree - more of a bush really - I wanted to jump out of the car, hold on to the tree for dear life, lest I be sucked away into some sort of Lovecraftian cosmic vacuum.

A shaft of sunlight fell through and hit the dirt floor and gave the cigarette butts there a sort of royal glow, as if they were floating in God's own butter.

They seemed different stars from East Texas stars. They were brighter and closer. They looked sharp enough to cut your hand.

His belly heaved like a great turtle sleeping.

Man, this was something. An East Texas bouncer, a black queer, a ex-sweet potato queen, a six-foot-four overweight retired hit man and former reverend, and a redheaded midget with an attitude. The only thing we needed to top our wagon off were a couple of used-car salesmen, a monkey and an organ grinder.

I wonder how long it takes Lansdale to churn one of these out. I bet they're a blast to write.

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