Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mucho Mojo by Joe R. Lansdale

(hb; 1994: second book in the Hap and Leonard series)

From the inside flap:

"Under the blister of a Texas sun, you distract your mind or watch it die. For Hap Collins, slaving in the rose fields of July, the diversion is fantasies of iced tea and willing women. For Leonard Pine's Uncle Chester, the mental deterioration is too fatally advanced. Dying in the slums of LaBorde, he  no longer despises with the same passion his gay nephew Leonard. He ignores the crack house next door. And he forgets about what he'd buried under the floorboards of his house.

"He does remember to erect a forbidding 'bottle tree': a ragged post festooned with glass, designed to ward off black magic.

"When Leonard and his old friend Hap clean out Uncle Chester's house, they dig up a small skeleton, wrapped in pornographic magazines -- along with a grotesque link between an unsolved series of child murders and Leonard's late relative and guardian. Thinking white, Hap wants to call the police. But Leonard, intimate with the unwritten codes in his black part of town, persuades his partner to help clear Chester's name, sans outside reinforcement. Together, they unearth the deepest, ugliest truth of all."


Mucho builds on the Texas-based, neo-pulp-saturated world of Leonard Pine and Hap Collins (first introduced in Savage Season), resulting in another all-around entertaining and burn-through read in the Hap and Leonard series. As with Savage, Hap and Leonard's longtime friendship provides the banter-punctuated core around which the action revolves, the action this time perhaps more personal than that of the first book (Leonard's Uncle Chester may not have been as noble in his gruff worldview as he seemed).

This is another great read, an impressive, character-organic expansion in this series -- and, like its source novel, worth owning.

Followed by The Two-Bear Mambo.

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