When I saw this was available on Netgalley, I clicked it at once! I thought there was no way I could go wrong with a collection of Joe R. Lansdale’s novellas and I’m happy to say that I was right!
BLACK HAT JACK concerns a man of the American west and his traveling companion, Nat Love. Being that I’ve already read and ADORED Paradise Sky, I had a feeling I would love this tale, and I did.
FISHING FOR DINOSAURS. This narrative blew me away! Mr. Lansdale has the imagination and the chops to write just about anything, and I knew that going in. However, this story has such outstanding world building, I don’t even know how to describe it. Fishing for dinosaurs is the perfect title for this perfectly presented insane world.
PRISONER 489. Set on an island where the executed convicts from the island next door get buried. A tension-filled story is woven through the eyes of the gravediggers when they realize that what they buried didn’t STAY buried.
THE APE-MAN’S BROTHER was a pulpy sort of tale wherein King Kong’s brother, (of Australopithecus origin), tells a story of his own. This is another example of a wonderfully built world where zeppelins fly about and ape-men have film careers.
The only story original to this collection is: SIXTY-EIGHT BARRELS ON TREASURE LAKE. A young, recently orphaned man named Rabbit joins, (somewhat unwillingly), with a band of highly suspect robbers, to help them relocate gold they stole several years previous. Once again, this is a beautifully imagined world, rich in color, description and on-the-money human observation. This is where Joe R. Lansdale really shines-never once do you question the motivations of characters because they’re so real, you can relate to them. You might BE them, in some other world, time or place.
The introductions to these stories were fun to read. Poppy Z. Brite, Richard Chizmar, David J. Schow, Robin Hobb and Norman Partridge each had something to say about the tales and about Joe Lansdale himself. All of which served to prove that even other writers admire and enjoy Lansdale’s wide and varied works.
I’ve never, ever been disappointed in a story from Mr. Lansdale. He writes stories that cannot be pigeon-holed into certain genres or styles, because he’s a genre hisownself. They don’t call him the Champion Mojo Storyteller for nothing!
*Thanks to NetGalley, Subterranean Press and the author for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*