Synopsis: Ed Edwards is in the used car business, a business built on adjusted odometers, extra-fine print, and the belief that “buyers better beware.” Burdened by an aging, alcoholic mother constantly on his case to do something worthier of his lighter skin tone and dreaming of a brighter future for himself and his plucky little sister, Ed is ready to get out of the game.
When Dave, his lazy, grease-stained boss at the eponymous dealership Smiling Dave’s sends him to repossess a Cadillac, Ed finally gets the chance to escape his miserable life.
The Cadillac in question was purchased by Frank Craig and his beautiful wife Nancy, owners of a local drive-in and pet cemetery. Fed up with her deadbeat husband and with unfulfilled desires of her own, Nancy suggests to Ed- in the throes of their salacious affair- that they kill Frank and claim his insurance policy. It is a tantalizing offer: the girl, the car, and not one, but two businesses. Ed could finally say goodbye to Smiling Dave’s, and maybe even send his sister to college. But does he have what it takes to see the plan through? Continue reading “More Better Deals – Joe R. Lansdale”
Synopsis: It is the summer of 1958 in Dewmont, Texas, a town the great American postwar boom passed by. The kids listen idly to rockabilly on the radio and waste their weekends at the Dairy Queen. And an undetected menace simmers under the heat that clings to the skin like molasses… For thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchell, the end of innocence comes with his discovery of the mysterious long-ago demise of two very different young women. In his quest to unravel the truth about their tragic fates, Stanley finds a protector in Buster Lighthorse Smith, a black, retired Indian-reservation cop and a sage on the finer points of Sherlock Holmes, the blues, and life’s faded dreams. But not every buried thing stays dead. And on one terrifying night of rushing creek water and thundering rain, an arcane, murderous force will rise from the past to threaten the boy in a harrowing rite of passage… Vintage Lansdale, A Fine Dark Line brims with exquisite suspense, powerful characterizations, and the vibrant evocation of a lost time. Continue reading “A Fine Dark Line – Joe R. Lansdale”
Synopsis: May Lynn was once a pretty girl who dreamed of becoming a Hollywood star. Now she’s dead, her body dredged up from the Sabine River.
Sue Ellen, May Lynn’s strong-willed teenage friend, sets out to dig up May Lynn’s body, burn it to ash, and take those ashes to Hollywood to spread around. If May Lynn can’t become a star, then at least her ashes will end up in the land of her dreams.
Along with her friends Terry and Jinx and her alcoholic mother, Sue Ellen steals a raft and heads downriver to carry May Lynn’s remains to Hollywood.
Only problem is, Sue Ellen has some stolen money that her enemies will do anything to get back. And what looks like a prime opportunity to escape from a worthless life will instead lead to disastrous consequences. In the end, Sue Ellen will learn a harsh lesson on just how hard growing up can really be. Continue reading “Edge of Dark Water – Joe R. Lansdale”
Synopsis: Since a mysterious childhood illness, Harry Wilkes has experienced horrific visions. Gruesome scenes emerge to replay themselves before his eyes. Triggered by simple sounds, these visions occur anywhere a tragic event has happened. Now in college, Harry feels haunted and turns to alcohol to dull his visionary senses. One night, he sees a fellow drunk easily best three muggers. In this man, Harry finds not only a friend that will help him kick the booze, but also a sensei who will teach him to master his unusual gift. Soon Harry’s childhood crush, Kayla, comes and asks for help solving her father’s murder. Unsure of how it will affect him, Harry finds the strength to confront the dark secrets of the past, only to unveil the horrors of the present. Continue reading “Lost Echoes – Joe R. Lansdale”
Synopsis: In the middle of a cyclone, beautiful, red-haired Sunset Jones shoots her husband Pete dead when he tries to beat and rape her. To Camp Rapture’s general consternation, Sunset’s mother-in-law arranges for her to take over from Pete as town constable. As if that weren’t hard enough to swallow in depression era east Texas, Sunset actually takes the job seriously, and her investigation into a brutal double murder pulls her into a maelstrom of greed, corruption, and unspeakable malice. It is a case that will require a well of inner strength she never knew she had. Continue reading “Sunset and Sawdust – Joe R. Lansdale”
Oh, hello. I’m just here, making a list. As I do. It’s the end of the year, y’all. I’m sure you’ve seen many Best Of lists on your timeline recently, but there’s always room for more.
I’m forever the Fantasy Chick™ but this was the year that I felt like I got back to reading a bit more broadly & diversely again.
I read many phenomenal books this year, folks. SO MANY! I rated a whopping 36 books 5 stars. FIVE FUCKING STARS! I know what I like, what can I say?!
Narrowing the glorious Best Of list down wasn’t an easy decision. I did simplify it by removing authors that had books appear multiple times by choosing my absolute favorite. Once again, because I have a slight rebellious streak, I counted the badass Seanan McGuire (also writing as Mira Grant) as two different entities. I DO WHAT I WANT!! For the astute meat suits among you, yes.. there are 26 books in the pile (the wee one between High School & Holy Sister without writing on the spine is Jedi Summer!) It wouldn’t be a Holly list if I didn’t include a sneaky bonus pick!
Without further ado, my top 2(6) books read in 2019! ::air punch:: Continue reading “Top 25 of 2019!”
Synopsis: Bill’s got his problems. He’s not overly bright, has no visible means of support, and lives with his dead mom whose social security checks might stop coming if anyone else finds out. What’s a good son to do in a situation like this? Stick up the firecracker stand across the street with two buddies, naturally. But only Bill makes it out of the bungled holdup alive, beaten down by exhaustion, exposure, and thousands of mosquito bites from the neck up. Rescued from certain doom by a cut-rate traveling freak show, Bill exploits his hideous new looks to evade police and blend in with his new comrades. And he probably won’t stand out too much among the dogmen, bearded women, hermaphrodites, and the mysterious frozen man whose mute, sinister aura seems to tie them all together. Continue reading “Freezer Burn – Joe R. Lansdale”
Synopsis: Deadwood meets Cthulhu in this wild and profane Western romp featuring zombies, werewolves, evil spirits, and one pissed-off gun-slinging preacher.
The Wild West has never seen the likes of Reverend Jebediah Mercer, a hard man wielding a burning Bible in the battle between God and the Devil, in an endless struggle he’s not sure he cares who wins. Laced with fast-paced action, nonstop humor, and spine-tingling horror, Deadman’s Road is your ride to hell, in which a vengeful shaman curses the town by conjuring a seemingly unstoppable army of the undead; an ill-advised shortcut leads to a bees’ nest of terror; a man stands condemned, not for murdering his wife but for raising the Lovecraftian horror that killed her; a woman is attacked by werewolves and left for dead in a ghost town; and a mining camp faces off with a horde of cannibalistic fiends. Continue reading “Deadman’s Road – Joe R. Lansdale”
Synopsis: In this rollicking, rollercoaster ride of a novel, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine take a break from their day jobs to search for Florida Grange, Leonard’s drop-dead gorgeous lawyer and Hap’s former lover, who has vanished in the Klan-infested East Texas town of Grovetown. Before she disappeared, Florida was digging up some dirt behind the mysterious jailhouse death of a legendary bluesman’s son, who was in possession of some priceless merchandise. To Hap and Leonard, something don’t smell right. With murder on their minds, Hap and Leonard set out to investigate as only they now how . . . chaotically. Continue reading “The Two-Bear Mambo – Joe R. Lansdale”
Synopsis: Leonard is still nursing the injuries he sustained in the duo’s last wild undertaking when he learns that his Uncle Chester has passed. Hap is of course going to be there for his best friend, and when the two are cleaning up Uncle Chester’s dilapidated house, they uncover a dark little secret beneath the house’s rotting floor boards—a small skeleton buried in a trunk. Hap wants to call the police. Leonard, being a black man in east Texas, persuades him this is not a good idea, and together they set out to clear Chester’s name on their own. The only things standing in their way is a houseful of felons, a vicious killer, and possibly themselves. Continue reading “Mucho Mojo – Joe R. Lansdale”