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Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale(1951- )
Joe R. Lansdale writes suspense, crime thrillers, horror, and Westerns, and has edited several anthologies. He has received the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, and seven Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in East Texas with his wife, son, daughter, and German Shepherd. We’ll list those books we think are of most interest to fantasy readers. Find out about more of Joe Lansdale’s books at his website.

Act of Love: A serial-killer thriller

Act of Love by Joe R. Lansdale

Originally published in 1981, Joe R. Lansdale’s Act of Love is a serial-killer thriller. A year before Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon took us into the mind of a sadistic serial killer, Lansdale was doing it, giving us chapters in the point of view of a necrophiliac, sadistic, misogynist cannibal as he terrorizes the city of Houston, Texas.

Act of Love is set in the 1980s and follows the murders committed by the Houston Hacker. The “Hacker” was given his name by a local tabloid, and he is corresponding with them, taunting the police in the manner of Jack the Ripper. The story also follows Marshall Hanson, a black detective, and Joe Clark, his trainee partner, as they investigate the killings. Hanson has a house in a suburb of Houston, a teenaged daughter and a smart, lovely wife, Rachel.... Read More

Deadman’s Road: Gruesome violence and ribald humor

Deadman's Road by Joe R. Lansdale

Deadman’s Road is a collection of pulp stories about a gunslingin’ preacher who wanders the American Old West on a mission from God to seek out and destroy evil creatures. Reverend Jedidiah Mercer relentlessly faces down a town full of zombies, an angry ghoul, a pack of Conquistadores-turned-werewolves, a hell-spawn monstrosity haunting a secluded cabin, and a goblin horde that invades a mining town.

I’m generally not much of a fan of horror fiction. I’ve read fewer then a handful of horror books, but my limited experience is that good horror writers stand out as exceptional storytellers, so I look for the books they write outside the horror genre. Writers like Stephen King, Robert R. McCammon Read More

The Urban Fantasy Anthology: Not what I expected it to be

The Urban Fantasy Anthology edited by Peter S. Beagle & Joe R. Lansdale

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of most urban fantasy. I tend to find problems with almost every urban fantasy book I’ve tried to read. When I got this book in the mail, I kind of rolled my eyes and shot it to the top of my “to be read” pile so I could get it over with fast. I didn’t expect to actually enjoy this book. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d open this anthology and think, “hot damn, this is good stuff…” but I did. I cracked open this book, started reading, and shocked myself by enjoying it.

As with every anthology, not every story will be a hit. Where The Urban Fantasy Anthology seems to differ from many other anthologies was the fact that the stories all appealed to me differently due to their plots, not due to their quality, which is the case with many other anthologies. This book is fil... Read More

Shadows West: Three screenplays by the Lansdales

Shadows West by Joe R. and John L. Lansdale

Reading a screenplay is a different experience from a novel or short story. A screenplay strips the story down to dialogue and action, with some visuals. There is no interior monologue or author philosophizing, or at least, not much. It can be refreshing.

Joe R. Lansdale, who has written crime novels, mystery, dark fantasy and horror, provides three screenplays for the interested reader in Shadows West. Two of the trio were written with his brother John Lansdale, who used to write for Tales from the Crypt. All three are Westerns, all three feature the living dead and all three have the scatological analogies and sardonic humor Lansdale does well.

In Hell’s Bounty, a hardened bounty hunter dies and is recruited by Lucifer to stop a rebel demon from unleashing the Old Gods in a ... Read More

Coco Butternut: A brisk “Texas Weird” adventure by the master

Coco Butternut by Joe R. Lansdale

Coco Butternut, which came out in January 2017, is a short HAP AND LEONARD novella written by the inimitable Joe R. Lansdale. You may already have read some of these East-Texas, sort-of-detective stories, or seen episodes of the television show on Sundance. While Coco Butternut has no supernatural elements at all that I can spot, it is a fast-paced, enjoyable read with perfectly timed banter, strange and wonderful characters, and perfect, quirky descriptions of the landscape and countryside.

I don’t believe there is a sub-genre called “Texas Weird,” but if there were, Lansdale would own it. He owns it here with a story that kicks off in bizarre-mode from the first sentence. A man who runs a highly successful pet mortuary has approached... Read More

Driving to Geronimo’s Grave: A collection of Joe R. Lansdale’s favorites

Driving to Geronimo’s Grave by Joe R. Lansdale

See, here’s why I read Joe R. Lansdale; in Driving to Geronimo’s Grave (2018), there is a short story called “Wrestling with Jesus.” The story is about wrestling and male bonding. It’s violent. It’s gross and vulgar. The plot involves two men gambling over a woman. There are two women characters; one is weak and venial and the other is evil and manipulative. It has foul language. It’s funny. Generally, only “it’s funny” would even remotely attract me to a story like this, but “Wrestling with Jesus,” which follows the relationship of a lonely teenage boy and an octogenarian wrestler, is probably my favorite of this 2018 story collection.

Marvin, the teen boy in the story, is a target for bullies in his new neighborhood, where his mother has moved... Read More

Magazine Monday: Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2013

Editor's note: We now know that K.J. Parker is author Tom Holt.

The Summer 2013 issue of Subterranean Magazine has a special K.J. Parker section, which is a treat for anyone who has read any of Parker’s work. This author (gender unknown) writes from the perspective of a military historian, and appears to have a special interest in ancient Greek and Roman warfare. All of his/her stories have the flavor of ancient days.

“The Sun and I” is the first of two Parker stories in this issue. It is a take on the statement attributed to L. Ron Hubbard: “If you want to get rich, you start a religion!”  Five friends, all from wealthy and e... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nightmare, June 2013

Issue 9 of Nightmare opens with “The House on Cobb Street” by Lynda E. Rucker. There is a long italicized quotation from a purported learned treatise about the house at the top of the story, reciting the history of so-called Cobb Street Horror, but noting that the witnesses have refused to speak to the author. Another italicized segment comes from the blog of Perry “Pear Tree” Parry, referring to a video of Felicia Barrow, speaking of Vivian Crane, who has disappeared. The entire story has the aura of a scholarly piece, even when, the reader’s curiosity piqued, the story proper finally begins with the ominous words, “Vivian wakes.” Vivian can hear the house around her as if it is a living entity, and she believes it is preparing itself, as a cat stalking its prey readies its muscles for the pounce. Vivian is a college professor, teaching Faulkner while living in a haunted house, one she knew was haunted from the moment she entere... Read More

Magazine Monday: Beware the Dark, Issue 1

Beware the Dark is a new horror and dark art magazine currently scheduled to be published three times per year. A new horror magazine is always good news, as there seems to be much more horror being written than there are outlets in which to publish it (which explains why Beware the Dark is presently closed to submissions). This magazine suggests, however, that the reason there are so few outlets is that there is little good horror being written. I’m hoping that further editions of the magazine improve on the first, which was disappointing.

Issue 1 begins with “Potential” by Ramsey Campbell. Scoring a story by Campbell to open a new magazine would normally be a triumph, except that this story, a reprint, is very minor Campbell indeed. First published in 1973, this tale of a be-in has not aged well. The protagonist, Charles, misses out on the plastic bells, but snags one of the last paper flowers t... Read More

Steampunk: Quick entertaining education on the subgenre du jour

Steampunk edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

Steampunk is an anthology of, well, steampunk stories, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. If you hurry, you can still get to this first anthology before the second one, Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, appears in mid November. Based on the quality of the stories in this collection, I heartily recommend checking it out, especially if you’ve been a bit bemused (or possibly amused) by all the people wearing odd Victorian costumes at SFF conventions nowadays, or if you have at best a vague idea of what steampunk exactly entails. If you’re one of those people who’s interested in, but not entirely sure about, the new hot subgenre du jour (like me, prior to reading Steampunk), this anthology is here to take you by the hand and give you a quick, entertaining education. And oh, it also contains some truly excel... Read More

The Living Dead: Zombies aren’t the point

The Living Dead edited by John Joseph Adams

I never knew there were so many ways to tell a zombie story. I pretty much thought that the George Romero version was it — dead people wandering around holding their arms out in front of them and calling out “braaaaaaains,” looking to munch on the living. I never did know why they had to hold their arms that way, but they all did — I thought.

John Joseph Adams has chosen his material wisely in The Living Dead, a collection of short stories about zombies by some of the biggest and best names in the horror business, as well as the newest and hottest. I resisted this book for a long time because I’ve never been fond of zombies, but upon diving in, I discovered that the zombies aren’t really the point; the point is to tell a good story. And these authors do that, with a vengeance.

My favorite story is “Almost the Last St... Read More

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology

The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Christopher Golden (ed.)

FORMAT/INFO: The New Dead is 400 pages long divided over nineteen short stories. Also includes a Foreword by the editor Christopher Golden, and biographies on all of the anthology’s contributors. February 16, 2010 marks the North American Trade Paperback publication of The New Dead via St. Martin’s Griffin. Cover art provided by Per Haagensen. The UK version will be published on February 18, 2010 via Piatkus Books under the altered title: Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead. Subterranean Press is also producing... Read More

Warriors: Diverse, entertaining, rewarding

Warriors edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

FORMAT/INFO: Warriors is 736 pages long divided over twenty short stories and an Introduction by George R.R. Martin. Each short story is preceded by biographical information about the author and a short description of their contribution to the anthology. March 16, 2010 marks the North American Hardcover publication of Warriors via Tor.


“The King of Norway” by Cecelia Holland. I’ve never read anything by Cecelia Holland before, but the author is described as “one of the world’s most highly acclaimed and respected historical novelists.” Not surprising... Read More

Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2

Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2 edited by William Schafer

EDITOR INFORMATION: William K. Schafer is the head editor at Subterranean Press, which was founded in 1995. Schafer’s bibliography includes Embrace the Mutation: Fiction Inspired by the Art of J.K. Potter and the first Tales of Dark Fantasy anthology.

ABOUT SUBTERRANEAN: TALES OF DARK FANTASY 2: Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy — published in 2008 to widespread critical and popular acclaim — provided a unique showcase for some of our finest practitioners of dark, disturbing fiction. This much anticipated second volume more than meets the standards set by its predecessor, offering a diverse assortment of stories guaranteed to delight, unsettle, and enthrall. Volume two proper is a full 20,000 wo... Read More

Supernatural Noir: A Datlow anthology

Supernatural Noir edited by Ellen Datlow

Ellen Datlow suggests in her introduction to Supernatural Noir that noir fiction and supernatural fiction, with its roots in the gothic, have a lot in common. The main character in each tends to be a hard-living guy, usually down to his last flask of scotch, haunted by a sexy dame whose middle name is trouble. So it seemed natural to her to combine the two genres for an original anthology.

Despite my general rule that any anthology edited by Ellen Datlow is one I want to read, I resisted this one for a long time. Detectives looking for ghosts? Eh. Not my thing. But when Supernatural Noir was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award, and... Read More

Dark Duets: A horror anthology

Dark Duets edited by Christopher Golden

Christopher Golden explains in his introduction to Dark Duets that writing is a solitary occupation right up until that moment an alchemical reaction takes place and a bolt of inspiration simultaneously strikes two writers who are friends. Golden has found that the results of collaboration are often fascinating and sometimes magical, as when Stephen King and Peter Straub teamed up to write The Talisman. Writing is an intimate, very personal process, Golden says, and finding someone to share it with is difficult but exciting. Golden therefore undertook to create a book full of such difficult, mag... Read More

Old Venus: An over-long, narrowly-themed anthology

Old Venus by Gardner Dozois & George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois’s themed anthologies are some of the most popular on the market these days. Soliciting the genre’s best-known mainstream writers, selecting highly familiar themes, and letting the length run to 500+ pages, RoguesWarriorsDangerous WomenSongs of the Dying EarthOld Mars, and others are among the bestselling a... Read More

Why You Should Read… Joe R. Lansdale

This week we turn to science fiction debut author with Gollancz Gavin Smith, who released his novel Veteran earlier this year in the UK. He has decided to bring us all the reasons we should be reading Joe R. Lansdale.

Somewhere in East Texas, not far from Nagadoches, is a crossroads like the kind that Robert Johnson went down to. There you’ll find the God of the Razor sitting down and having a beer with Johnah Hex at his best. There’ll be others there as well, cowboys, gunmen, bounty hunters, ne’er do well slacker accidental crime fighters, zombies and a Mummy hunting elderly Elvis. From the crossroads you can see... Read More

More books by Joe R. Lansdale

Drive-In — (1988-1989) Publisher: Imagine a jam-packed drive-in on a Saturday night. You’re kicking back in your car with the popcorn and enjoying a good old-fashioned scary monster movie when, suddenly, the drive-in itself becomes the movie, with all its attendant thrills. And dangers. A hard-hitting combination of vivid imagery, camaraderie and terror, The Drive-In is a double feature Lansdale fans will not want to leave.

Joe R. Lansdale 1. The Drive-In: A “B” Movie with Blood and Popcorn, Made in Texas 2. The Drive-In 2: Not Just One of Them Sequels 3. The Drive-In: The Bus Tour Joe R. Lansdale 1. The Drive-In: A “B” Movie with Blood and Popcorn, Made in Texas 2. The Drive-In 2: Not Just One of Them Sequels 3. The Drive-In: The Bus Tour Joe R. Lansdale 1. The Drive-In: A “B” Movie with Blood and Popcorn, Made in Texas 2. The Drive-In 2: Not Just One of Them Sequels 3. The Drive-In: The Bus Tour

Hap & Leonard — (1990- ) Publisher: 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.

Joe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 1. Savage Season 2. Mucho Mojo 3. The Two-Bear Mambo 4. Bad ChiliJoe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 1. Savage Season 2. Mucho Mojo 3. The Two-Bear Mambo 4. Bad ChiliJoe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 1. Savage Season 2. Mucho Mojo 3. The Two-Bear Mambo 4. Bad ChiliJoe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 1. Savage Season 2. Mucho Mojo 3. The Two-Bear Mambo 4. Bad ChiliJoe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 5. Rumble Tumble 6. Captains Outrageous 7. Vanilla Ride 8. Devil Red 9. Hyenas fantasy and science fiction book reviewsJoe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 5. Rumble Tumble 6. Captains Outrageous 7. Vanilla Ride 8. Devil Red 9. Hyenas Joe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 5. Rumble Tumble 6. Captains Outrageous 7. Vanilla Ride 8. Devil Red 9. Hyenas Joe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 5. Rumble Tumble 6. Captains Outrageous 7. Vanilla Ride 8. Devil Red 9. Hyenas Joe R. Lansdale Hap & Leonard 5. Rumble Tumble 6. Captains Outrageous 7. Vanilla Ride 8. Devil Red 9. Hyenas fantasy and science fiction book reviewsHap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade Kindle Edition by Joe R. Lansdale  (AuthorJackrabbit Smile (Hap and Leonard) Kindle Edition by Joe R. Lansdale  (Author)


Ned the Seal — (2001-2010) Publisher: A tribute to such works as Richard Brautigan’s Hawkline Monster, and Philip Jose Farmer’s wackier novels, like The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, Zeppelin’s West is a wild parody of Westerns, Alternate Universe novels, classic science fiction and horror, comic books, pulps, and dime novels. A Lansdalean holiday into weirdness and camp, this is a special confection from one of today’s most original, multi-award winning writers. The Wild West Show travels by Zeppelin to perform before a Shogun, soon to be emperor of Japan, only to discover the Frankenstein monster is being whittled down slowly and ground into aphrodisiacs by the would-be ruler. Buffalo Bill, who, due to a recent accident, exists only as a battery powered head in a jar of liquid manufactured from the best that modern science and pig urine has to offer, along with Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, and a cast of historical as well as literary characters, rescue the monster, only to be shot down over the Pacific, where they are saved from sharks by Captain Nemo and his intellectual seal, Ned. And then things get weird.

Joe R. Lansdale Ned the Seal 1. Zeppelins West 2. Flaming London 3. Flaming ZeppelinsJoe R. Lansdale Ned the Seal 1. Zeppelins West 2. Flaming London 3. Flaming ZeppelinsJoe R. Lansdale Ned the Seal 1. Zeppelins West 2. Flaming London 3. Flaming Zeppelins

The Best of Joe R. LansdaleThe Best of Joe R. Lansdale — (2010) Publisher: By turns absurd, hilarious, and terrifying, this outrageous collection features the best writings of the high priest of Texan weirdness. Horny steam-shovels, odd-ball detectives, malicious rocks, spectral prehistoric fish, and vampire hunters permeate these vividly detailed stories. Featuring cult-classic award-winning tales such as ‘The Night They Missed the Horror Show,’ ‘Mad Dog Summer,’ and ‘Dog,’ along with non-fiction forays into drive-in theaters and low budget films, this dynamic retrospective represents the broad spectrum of Lansdale’s career. ‘Bubba Hotep’ — the tale of Elvis, John F. Kennedy, and a soul-sucking mummy, which was made into an award-winning film — is included along with the acclaimed novella, ‘On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks,’ and never before collected works. Original, compelling, and downright odd, this unforgettable compilation is essential reading for fans of horror, mystery, and southern gothic.

Joe R. Lansdale Crucified DreamsCrucified Dreams — (2011) Publisher: Crossing noir with the supernatural, this luridly visceral anthology attacks polite society and plunges into the unthinkable horrors lurking in its underbelly. Searching for some beauty in a time of increasing poverty and neglect, the desperate are all the more menacing, and in a brief moment, ordinary people turn into something far less human. Offering stylish yet savage tales of private dicks, serial killers, lurking demons, and femme fatales, these surreal and often bloody tales provide glimpses into sinister worlds that mirror our own. Boasting an intriguing assortment of stories from celebrated authors such as Harlan Ellison, David Morrell, and the infamous editor himself, each gritty and sensational undertaking proves that being human is a far cry from being civilized.