Reviews for Joe R. Lansdale’s forthcoming HAP AND LEONARD: BLOOD AND LEMONADE keep rolling in.
GINGER NUTS OF HORROR gushes.
At times this is a hard book to read, due to its cultural setting, Lansdale has captured the sociopolitical zeitgeist of the era perfectly. A period where racism was rampant and times were excruciating for Black people and those who didn’t fit in with the general feeling towards them. Be warned the use of the N-word is utilised many times in this book, but it is never used for shock value, it drives the story to such an extent it almost feels as though your soul is taking a beating as you read it. BLOOD AND LEMONADE is an emotionally compelling tale which puts the reader through an emotional whirlwind in a way that only a great writer such as Lansdale can do.
From the moving “Parable of the Stick” which takes a look bullying in school and to the shocking story of how an outcast at school can be forced to take things too far, to the deeply moving story of when Hap and his mother help a lost black kid. These stories are written with a keen eye and an empathic heart, that can only come from a writer who grew up in the Texas of these stories.
But don’t worry BLOOD AND LEMONADE takes the lead from the book’s title and balances the blood with lots of lemonade, for every dark story there is one that shows that there were light and friendship and lots of good people around. You will smile and chuckle in between the moments of unrelenting darkness.
BLOOD AND LEMONADE is a great collection of stories, and unlike so many other prequels out here actually adds to the mythology of the stories that came before it. The Hap and Leonard we knew before reading this are given an extra depth and sense of humanity with this book, BLOOD AND LEMONADE is a honorable entry in the mythology of the most righteous pair of heroes the genre has ever seen.
Photo: Karen Lansdale
HORROR DRIVE-IN praises the book.
We’ve come to expect outrageous humor, situations, and violence in Hap and Leonard stories, and there is some of that stuff in HAP AND LEONARD: BLOOD AND LEMONADE. But this collection is a more somber bunch of stories. Some feature crime and bloodshed. Some are funny. Some are wistful. Some are sad and thoughtful. Joe, slippery bastard that he is, even slips a ghost story into the mix.
BLOOD AND LEMONADE shows another side of Hap and Leonard. While, yes, there are introspective moments in each of the books up to now, these stories are often quiet. They give the reader pause; time for contemplation.
Joe calls Blood and Lemonade a mosaic novel. I always called this sort of thing a story cycle. Both terms amount to the same thing. There are connecting sequences with Hap and Leonard woolgathering about past events. Each story is a slice of life from when they were young, before the events of SAVAGE SEASON. Some are not even Hap and Leonard stories, but simply Hap stories. That isn’t surprising as Hap’s perspective has always been the driving force of the series.
Tachyon also published the previously mentioned Hap and Leonard short story collection. Unlike that one, which contains a lot of reprints, BLOOD AND LEMONADE features mostly new works, and works that will be new to most readers. Both are essential to any fan, but as I noted before, HAP AND LEONARD: BLOOD AND LEMONADE, is something truly special. You are going to love it. Regardless of whether, like me, you are a (savage) seasoned Hap and Leonard veteran, or are new to the characters. Trust me.
Mickle, director of COLD IN JULY and executive producer of SundanceTV’s HAP AND LEONARD, had this to say:
BLOOD AND LEMONADE is the best of Lansdale
and the best of Hap and Leonard. As urgent as it is timeless. As fun
as it is thoughtful. It haunts you while it kicks your ass. Joe never
lets you down, just shows you over and over why he’s the best.
Michael K. Williams and James Purefoy as the titular characters.
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