When I say Cold in July is a plain story, I don’t mean it’s boring. It’s anything but. What I do mean is that there are no explosions, no conspiracies, no serial killers, no dystopia, no political underhandedness (actually, there’s a teeny-tiny bit), no mobs (except in passing), no drugs, no cell phones, and only some prehistoric computer talk. It’s basically a linear story, told by a master writer, with phrases such as: a woman “had a tongue sharp as a meat fork” and the tree was “dripping hot ink instead of shadow.”
Cold in July was published in 1989, and 25 years later it has been made into a movie, triggering this re-release of a great novel. Whatever brings this to the attention of a new generation of readers is okay by me.There are some terrific mini-scenes within the larger story. Look for Jack, the obnoxious mailman, and Rodriguez, the doctor without a degree. Lansdale’s story sneaks up on its readers in several places. This is a classic that hasn’t worn thin, and that, I think, is due to Lansdale’s ability to write sentences and scenes that are truly original.
And from the review by the Tomb Keeper:
If Mr. Lansdale does not become a household name after the major motion picture based upon the novel is released in 2014 starring Don Johnson, Sam Shepard and Michael C. Hall, there is no hope for humanity, do you hear me? No. Hope. This is one of my very favorite Lansdale novels (published back in 1989) and it is a doozy. Cold in July is horrifically violent, hilariously funny, scream-out-loud scary and unbelievably engrossing.
Jason Harris in a print interview questions Lansdale about the Cold in July movie and writing in general.
JH: The movie version of Cold in July comes out in May. Did you have any involvement with the filmmakers?
JRL: Yes, Jim Mickle, the director, and Nick Damici the writer, kept me in the loop and asked my opinions frequently. I was on the set for two weeks watching them film. It was a great experience, and as icing on the cake, I like the film. A lot.
JH: If you did have any involvement, what was your involvement and how did you feel about it?
JRL: Mainly just as an adviser. They respected me enough to make me a producer on the film. I did teach Sam Shepard a finger lock for one of the scenes.
JH: What do you think about the casting of Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson in the roles of characters you created?
JRL: It was like they were born for those parts. I didn’t think about them as the actors, but as soon as they said their names, I thought, oh hell yeah.
Read the rest of the review at Jason Harris Promotions.
The movie tie-in edition of Cold in July is NOW (or should be soon) available from all finer outlets.
Cold in July the movie, starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down), and Don Johnson (Miami Vice), hits theaters and VOD on May 23.
Book cover design by Elizabeth Story