One of the things that Josh Mauthe at UMNEY’S ALLEY always loved about Hap and Leonard was the way Lansdale avoided giving the duo an origin story. Understandably, he was a little worried about Joe R. Lansdale’s OF MICE AND MINESTRONE – HAP AND LEONARD: THE EARLY YEARS. As revealed in this 5 star review, his fears were unfounded.
But I shouldn’t have worried, because Lansdale gives us a volume that’s on par with any other entry in the series, with at least one story that ranks among the best the series has ever been.
Now, after the stories end, you’ll see more of the book to come – a collection of recipes of the food mentioned in the stories. You might think, oh, interesting, but inessential. But there you’re wrong, because the recipes are written in the voice of our characters, peppering the recipes with commentary, insights, jokes, and even epilogues to some of the stories. I can’t think of another set of recipes that made me laugh this much, or that brought me this much joy, and I’m so glad I didn’t skip them.
Should you start with OF MICE AND MINESTRONE if you’re new to Hap and Leonard? I’d say probably not; these stories are good, and you’d enjoy them, but they’re richer for knowing these two men and their lives. But they’re every bit as good as basically every other Hap and Leonard writing Lansdale has ever done – and that’s no small thing at all, given how consistently great this series is.
In their podcast, KAZI 88.7 FM Book Review recommends the new collection.
Via Instagram, Jacob Weisman posts an image of Lansdale.
RUE MORGUE shared this exclusive clip from the acclaimed documentary about Lansdale, ALL HAIL THE POPCORN KING.