Master storyteller Joe R. Lansdale’s hilarious and poignant OF MICE AND MINESTRONE is fantastic

Seems like everyone loves Joe R. Lansdale’s OF MICE AND MINESTRONE – HAP AND LEONARD: THE EARLY YEARS.

For NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS, Sam Millar praises the collection.

OF MICE AND MINESTRONE is classic Lansdale at his legendary best. For his legions of fans, the much-anticipated stories will fill some of the gaps in their collections. For new readers, they will soon come to appreciate why Lansdale is regarded as one of America’s finest living writers. Compelling. Hilarious. Poignant. Readers have waited a long time for this collection to finally appear. It was well worth that wait. Roll on the next sequels and prequels.

Wes Lukowsky in BOOKLIST feels much the same.

He’s a master storyteller, and this short collection sets the stage for his most compelling characters.


Hap and Leonard are the stars, of course, and you can’t fault them for it. The chemistry between the two leads is intense enough to crackle in moments of stress, but comfortable enough that even in this early stage of their lives, they clearly know each other as well as best friends can. They’re just fun, are Hap and Leonard – starting bar fights, taking no crap from small town racists, sitting around having a big bowl of chili. They’re a comfort to all of us, a certainty in uncertain times, that good, or at least goo-ish, can triumph, and that one small corner of the world is the better off for having them in it. These are stories for people who’ve already absorbed the small-town charm of the series, already know that blend of comfortable friendship, refusal to back down to bullies, and the occasional kinetic arse-kicking. But you could dip in as a new reader too, and find them just as entertaining, these tales. Give them a whirl – they’ll make you smile, and take you to a different place, a different time, and show you some of what was terrible and beautiful about it.

(Also, there’s recipes for so much Texan home cooking on here, and it all, yes all, tastes delicious; a great resource on lockdown).

Overall, a fantastic collection, for old hands, and new readers of the series alike. Go out and give it a try, you won’t regret it. 

Photo by Karen Lansdale