Wednesday, January 28, 2015

SAVAGE SEASON by Joe R. Lansdale


*Book 1 of the Hap and Leonard series*

I really loved The Thicket last year when I chose it to quench my thirst for a good Western read. I was impressed by how engaging the writing was. I decided this year to jump into more books by author Joe Lansdale, and I thought a good start would be his popular Texas crime series featuring his characters Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. This first novel in the series lived up to my lofty expectations!

Hap & Leonard are best buddies, are minding their own business and shooting some skeet in Hap's backyard, when a cute blond heartbreaker walks back into Hap's life, offering more of that sweet love that he remembers fondly. But like any experienced femme fatale knows, most human men would agree to any post-coital request no matter how stupid. So in bed, he agrees to help her and her new man find a treasure trove of cash lost after a bank heist years ago. 
 "I didn't want to be anywhere near Trudy right then. I had a hunch she would have harsh words to say about me and Leonard, and I wasn't up to it. I didn't want her to get me near a bed either. She could really talk in bed, and if she talked long enough and moved certain parts of her body just right, I might agree to have Leonard shot at sunset."
Lansdale is one of those writers that makes it seem so easy. He manages to find that balance between economic storytelling and lyrical, expressive prose; a balance that my favorite writers possess. It makes for a captivating read that's entertaining and still leaves an impression. In just this one book, Hap and Leonard become two of the most enjoyable protagonists I've come across in a crime series. They seem like two guys I'd like to be friends with and so I would be willing to go on any adventure with them in the future. In this way, they're right up there with Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins and Dennis Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro as some of my favorite crime heroes. Likeable, everyday people caught up in dark, extraordinary situations, where they have to step up and be heroes. Hap and Leonard are so different on the surface but are perfect compliments for each other, making for hilarious banter between them that makes the proceedings that much more enjoyable. Can't wait to see what craziness they get into next.
"Yea, that money could make up for a lot of missed ambitions, but without it we were nothing more than a batch of losers, standing cold and silly, empty-handed on the muddy bank of an unnamed creek."

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