Chet Williamson on his eponymous site praises Joe R. Lansdale’s forthcoming HAP AND LEONARD: BLOOD AND LEMONADE.

Everyone’s character is the result of their past, and with these stories we get a deep and textured look at what made the adult Hap Collins and Leonard Pine the men they are, and the reasons that the link between them is so strong. Most of these stories are new, though a few have been published before, but the way Joe makes them part of a “mosaic” novel will make them seem fresh and new to the veteran reader. (Hell, Lansdale stories can always stand rereading anyway.) Hap and Leonard explore their pasts, and we learn more about Hap’s parents, particularly his father (though his mother is the center of the sad and touching title story). Hap’s dad is the father that, for the most part, each of us wish that we’d had, and some of us (including myself) were lucky enough to.

The moral lessons and the codes of honor are strong here. They’re what created Hap’s character, and what bound him to Leonard in their youth. We see all those incidents, and we watch as they meet for the first time, fight their first enemies together, face mortality at the bottom of a dark river, and learn the lessons that formed their sense of morality.

When you come right down to it, this may be my favorite Hap and Leonard book ever, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve read and relished all the others, but this is something special. It’s a look into the hearts of two men who’ve become more than fictional characters. To all those who’ve read their exploits, Hap and Leonard  are more real than some of the should-be fictional villains who decide the fates of nations, and far more “moral” than all of them. If Hap and Leonard ever run for office, they’ve got my vote.

In short, grab this book and cherish it. There are thrills, laughter, and great truths in its page. How could we expect anything else from Joe Lansdale?

Photo: Karen Lansdale

HOW TO READ ME delivers How to read Hap and Leonard by Joe R. Lansdale?

There are a few stories that deals with Hap and Leonard when they were Young. All can now be found in the new Hap and Leonard anthology.

The Boy Who Became Invisible – It’s a story about Hap when he was a kid growing up on the banks of the Sabine River.

Not Our Kind – THE origin story or how Hap and Leonard first met. It took place in high school when they became friends.

Veil’s Visit – This story is a collaboration with Andrew Vachss. Leonard has a lot of problems with his next-door neighbors who run a crack house that he has burned down. This ends up in court with Veil, a lawyer created by Vachss.

THE HORROR ZINE’s February special guest writer is Joe R. Lansdale. As part of the celebration, the site reprints Lansdale’s “Fish Night.”

It was a bleached-bone afternoon with a cloudless sky and a monstrous sun. The air trembled like a mass of gelatinous ectoplasm. No wind blew.

Through the swelter came a worn, black Plymouth, coughing and belching white smoke from beneath its hood. It wheezed twice, backfired loudly, died by the side of the road.

The driver got out and went around to the hood. He was a man in the hard winter years of life, with dead, brown hair and a heavy belly riding his hips. His shirt was open to the navel, the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. The hair on his chest and arms was gray.

A younger man climbed out on the passenger side, went around front too.

Yellow sweat‑explosions stained the pits of his white shirt. An unfastened, striped tie was draped over his neck like a pet snake that had died in its sleep.

“Well?” the younger man asked.

The old man said nothing. He opened the hood. A calliope note of steam blew out from the radiator in a white puff, rose to the sky, turned clear.

“Damn,” the old man said, and he kicked the bumper of the Plymouth as if he were kicking a foe in the teeth. He got little satisfaction out of the action, just a nasty scuff on his brown wingtip and a jar to his ankle that hurt like hell.

For more info about HAP AND LEONARD: BLOOD AND LEMONADE, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Elizabeth Story

For more info on HAP AND LEONARD, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover by Elizabeth Story