Wednesday, April 12, 2017

COLD IN JULY by Joe R. Lansdale

It's pretty well-known by this point that Joe Lansdale is probably the most versatile author out there, able to successfully jump at whim between so many genres and make it all seem so fresh.  Cold in July is a straight -up crime thriller, with a completely different feel and tone from other books I've read by him, including his recent westerns or the comedic adventures of Hap and Leonard.

The novel is initially about the clash between family man Richard Dane, who kills a man trying to burglarize his house, and that man's criminal father, recently released from prison and seeking old-school revenge. But once they realize that they've both been played for fools, they form a shaky alliance to seek out a different sort of vengeance.

Another talent that Lansdale has is the melding of different genres, which he pulls off in this book like the pro he is. This crime thriller is more of a classic western story with a dogged pursuit of revenge, themes of honor, justice, and the effects of violence, and there's even a great climactic showdown; very similar to Unforgiven and The Searchers. The only thing missing are the period elements and the horses!

At the heart, the most important thing that Lansdale is interested in here is the exploration of fatherhood, the fear of paternal failure and leaving behind a legacy that you might regret.


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