Savage Season – Joe R. Lansdale

Synopsis: A rip-roaring, high-octane, Texas-sized thriller, featuring two friends, one vixen, a crew of washed-up radicals, loads of money, and bloody mayhem.

Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are best friends, yet they couldn’t be more different. Hap is an east Texas white-boy with a weakness for Texas women. Leonard is a gay, black Vietnam vet. Together, they steer up more commotion than a fire storm. But that’s just the way they like it. So when an ex-flame of Hap’s returns promising a huge score. Hap lets Leonard in on the scam, and that’s when things get interesting. Chockfull of action and laughs, Savage Season is the masterpiece of dark suspense that introduced Hap and Leonard to the thriller scene. It hasn’t been the same since.

“As I ran, pain crawled inside me looking for a place to live. I felt as if my very soul were easing out of me, falling into the water, washing away.

But when I looked down, I saw what was oozing out of me into the water was not my soul.

It was blood.”

I finally met Hap & Leonard. It took awhile, but our introduction was a pleasurable one. I’ll certainly look forward to our subsequent get-togethers! Even though it was recently canceled, I’m excited to get going on the television series as well, especially because of Michael K. Williams aka OMAR LITTLE! I’m already envisioning him while I read because he just seems so fucking perfect for the character.

Joe R. Lansdale is one of those writers that I find hard to define. He’s a jack of all trades in the writing world, for sure. He can spin a phrase in such a way that it punches you in the face with brutality, yet you find yourself laughing shortly after. He’s just this fucking brilliant, insanely talented writer! It’s no wonder he is such a prolific author. This is my sixth novel of his (I think? If my math is right.. which..) & he never disappoints!

Savage Season is set in East Texas in the 80’s & follows the misadventures of Hap Collins & Leonard Pine, two best friends. Hap is a self-confessed white trash rebel & former activist who deliberately got drafted only to refuse to serve in the war, which led to him serving time in jail instead. Leonard is the opposite to Hap in almost every way. He’s gay, black & a Vietnam veteran. He’s got a wicked temper & loves his dogs more than most people (same Leonard, same.) But their relationship just.. works. Their discussions about books & music & their banter is just crackling with familiarity & a genuine closeness.

Shit starts to go down when Trudy, Hap’s ex, returns to town. She promises a get rich quick scheme to the duo & of course, nothing ever goes quite as planned in those scenarios.

“Yeah, things are better for blacks and women and gays, but it was the blacks and women and gays that did it, not fuck-ups like this bunch. Whites and straights came along to give help, all right, after the blacks said ‘enough’ and got their heads busted, and it’s the same for the gays and the women. The whites and straights, they control things, and they could have changed it anytime.”

Lansdale doesn’t shy away from confronting important issues in his writing. Racism, sexism, homophobia, environmentalism. He’s a huge proponent of civil rights (it’s clear that Hap shares more than a few similarities to Lansdale) & that seems to be at the heart of his many books, without ever coming across as overly preachy. He is, quite simply, one of the greatest storytellers of our time.

Savage Season is an action-packed dark thriller that is laced with many laughs. It’s also a truly endearing examination of friendship.




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