The Best of Joe R. Lansdale - Joe R. Lansdale

Brilliant, but not for the easily, or even remotely easily, offended.  This man is dangerously good.


Great novella length stories:  Bubba Ho-Tep, Mad Dog Summer, The Big Blow.  Fantastic short stories like Not From Detroit, Fish Night, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road and The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance and White Mule Spotted Pig.   This is a great introduction to all styles and types of writing that make up Lansdale’s work.


Lansdale’s style is almost impossible to describe.  One part Mark Twain’s evil twin, one part Cormac McCarthy, one part Faulkner, one part….oh, screw it, he is Joe Lansdale and nobody writes like this guy.  He is a Texas icon and one of the few truly original talents out there and he clearly has no fear.  Nothing is sacred or too dark—he writes whatever he wants to write and pulls no punches and offers no apologies. 


Everyone will have their favorites.  I say that because there are so many different types of stories in this book.  You won’t get a better horror story than Incident On and Off a Mountain Road or At the Cadillac Ranch with Dead Folks.  But you will find yourself laughing out loud at the infamous Bubba Ho-Tep and at White Mule Spotted Pig, a mythical southern tale which read to me like a story that Mark Twain would have loved.  Then he follows those stories up with literary masterpieces like Mad Dog Summer and The Big Blow.  There are touching and beautiful stories like Not From Detroit where an old man refuses to allow death to take his wife and Fish Night, which reminded me of the best of Ray Bradbury, but darker.


Everyone will have their favorites, but also probably will have the story or two that marched in and took a big dump right in the middle of their comfort zone.  For me it happened at the end with Night They Missed the Horror Show---one of the meanest and most disturbing stories that I have ever read. 


Be forewarned, be prepared as best you can, but don’t miss this book.