*** Vanilla Ride, Joe R Lansdale, 2009
Disclaimer: JLR is not for everyone.
I'm coming down the home stretch on the Hap and Leonard stories. Only one left after this and it just came out, so I don't have it, yet.
Vanilla Ride is more of the classic Lansdale H&L thrill ride, and is back to something more like a real structure than the last one. At least there's a definable goal, although it changes from rescuing Marvin's daughter to retrieving a mobster's son. And it sort of goes off the rails after that.
Most of what happens in a Hap and Leonard story isn't exactly plausible, but it's usually entertaining, especially if you like stories of people pounding and shooting each other interspersed with witty, if juvenile, banter. And evidently I do, although I didn't realize it before.
Here are a few gems in the collection:
P. 6. She had on a white shorty robe and her hair was bed fluffed and her legs were long enough to make a giraffe drown himself.
P. 9. Used to, you could leave your wallet on the porch swing and no one would bother it. These days, you left a cheese grater out, someone would steal the holes.
P. 54. One ear floated out from the side of his head as if signalling for a turn.
P. 46. I went home and showered the sweat off and read a little from a book by an author who didn't use quotation marks and was scared to death his work might be entertaining.
Don't know who he's talking about with that last one, but my money's on Cormac McCarthy. Some folks think it's Charlie Huston.
The cover confused me, as well as the title, until the last 50 pages cleared that up. If you liked the other H&L stories, you'll probably like this one, too.