Joe R. Lansdale’s MICE AND MINESTRONE is one the best crime fiction books of 2020 so far

For MYSTERY PEOPLE, Scott Montgomery includes Joe R. Lansdale’s OF MICE AND MINESTRONE – HAP AND LEONARD: THE EARLY YEARS among his Top Ten (Eleven, Actually) Crime Fiction Books of 2020 So Far.

The author delivers a half dozen short stories that look at the formative years of his characters, Hap and Leonard. The stories run the gamut from fun genre romps, bittersweet nostalgia, and poignant character studies, showing some sides you haven’t seen from them.

David Bell at CRIME READS mentions Hap and Leonard in Complicated, Dangerous, Toxic, and Sometimes Beautiful: Male Friendships in Crime Fiction.

We all know the prolific Joe Lansdale can write anything and write it well. Crime, historical, western, horror. But is it possible his Hap and Leonard series is his most inspired creation? Only Lansdale could conjure the chaos that ensues when a Texas good old boy (Hap) and a gay, black Vietnam vet (Leonard) join forces and become best friends. The books are violent, suspenseful, and (hardest of all to pull off) laugh-out-loud funny. And they’re all anchored by this unlikeliest of friendships.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY was the first to share the trailer for The Pale Door, executive-produced by Lansdale. It premieres in theaters, on demand, and digital August 21.

In horror-Western The Pale Door, the Dalton gang finds shelter in a seemingly uninhabited ghost town after a train robbery goes south. Seeking help for their wounded leader, they are surprised to stumble upon a welcoming brothel in the town’s square. But the beautiful women who greet them are actually a coven of witches with very sinister plans for the unsuspecting outlaws.

The Pale Door is directed by Aaron B. Koontz (Camera ObscuraScare Package) who co-wrote the script with Cameron Burns (Camera Obscura) and Keith Lansdale (the Creepshow TV show). The movie stars Devin Druid (13 Reasons Why), Zachary Knighton (Happy Endings), Noah Segan (Knives Out), Stan Shaw (Monster Squad), Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills), Bill Sage (We Are What We Are) and Melora Walters (Magnolia).  The Pale Door is presented and executive produced by novelist Joe R. Lansdale.

James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams as Hap and Leonard

PASTE includes the Hap and Leonard TV series among The 28 Best Crime Shows on Netflix, Ranked.

There are so many things that Hap and Leonard does that are wonderfully unique in this TV landscape. Based on Joe R. Lansdale’s books, the series is an authentic story about the south, capturing the tone and cadence of its location with aplomb. It’s also a blue collar story that isn’t just about being poor in East Texas, but that desperation informs everything that happens in this wacky yet soulful series. The two men at the heart of the show are best friends and total opposites—one is a straight white hippy, the other is black, gay, conservative—and they support each other, joke and fight like brothers. These things are all taken as being typical in Hap and Leonard, which thoughtfully followed-up a wild first season with an incredibly emotional second, and a heartbreaking third. With laconic East Texas style, the 80s-set series deals with a new villain each season (as Hap and Leonard accidentally stumble into their path) with humor and heart, never ignoring the racial politics of the region. It’s a show that illustrates how people with even the most disparate viewpoints can find common or at least cordial ground, and the consequences of what happens when they don’t. The woefully overlooked series is stocked with an amazing cast, and two actors who know how to convincingly (and never cartoonishly) pull off a Texas drawl. —Allison Keene

Continue on to page 2 for more Lansdale.