Thursday, October 06, 2016

Hap and Leonard by Joe R. Lansdale

(2016: story/novella anthology -- fourteenth book in the Hap and Leonard series)

Overall review:

Hap compiles seven stories, which have been previously published and take place at different times. One of the stories, Veil's Visit, by itself makes this collection worth owning, because prior to this, it was only available in an expensive collector's item book.  Inexpensive, practical (for most Hap and Leonard fans) and entertaining, Hap is worth your time and cash.

Followed by the story anthology Hap and Leonard Ride Again.

Story by story:

1.)  "Hyenas": See Hyenas review.

2.)  "Veil's Visit" (co-authored with Andrew Vachss): Leonard's new lawyer, a bad-ass named Veil, defends him in court -- the charge: arson, stemming from events in Mucho Mojo.

This story, full of Lansdale's trademark lively banter, was originally published as an expensive/out-of-print novella Veil's Visit: A Taste of Hap and Leonard (1999), the sixth book in the Hap and Leonard series. It is also the first story collection in the series.

3.)  "Death By Chili": Leonard solves a decades-old murder case without resorting to busting heads. This fun, super-short work sports a post-script recipe for "Lansdale Chili".

4.)  "Dead Aim": See Dead Aim review.

5.)  "The Boy Who Became Invisible": Originally published in the Hyenas novella, "Boy" is told from Hap's first-person point of view. In it, he looks back on an unfortunate childhood friend (Jesse) whose hard life leads to some brutal choices. The interaction between Hap and Jesse provide an effective heart-punch to this timely, you-can-guess-where-this-is-going short story.

6.)  "Not Our Kind":  In 1968, a young Hap and Leonard encounter racist, homophobic school bullies. They also glimpse a scene from their possible future.

7.)  "Bent Twig": Tillie, prostitute daughter of Leonard's girlfriend (Brett), becomes -- once again -- the reason why Hap and Leonard put themselves in danger, this time to rescue her from herself and her live-in pimp boyfriend. Of course, this is only the beginning of a much-larger-in-scope adventure for the do-right, brawling duo.

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