From Lit Reactor:
But where this novel departs from genre-expectations, where it delves deeper than it’s impressive Realism-meets-Road House-circa ’89 fight-scenes, tailings, and gunfights, is where the subtext reverses and reveals the story is less about that one-for-one vengeance ratio. This story is really about the undefined ratio of a father’s responsibility.
And the texture here is the main character Dane’s past relationship, or lack of one, to his own father, compared to the new relationship he’s forging with a grizzled old mercenary. So, yes, from a plot stand-point, this everyman character has to keep a gun he’s afraid to use, and has to insecurely adhere to a code that takes him away from his wife and son, and has to pursue vigilante justice for a crime he’s no longer involved in. But from a profoundly meaningful stand-point, any questions we have about his motivation are the book’s true investigation: What does it mean to have honor in a world without it? And what does it mean when one has to admit that “honor”, and one’s sense of it, could be corrupt to begin with? And what does it mean when heroes are cocky, yes, and good fighters, yes, but all that’s a distraction, meant only to hide the truth that they’re battered and alone?
You’re sure to finish this book fast, but you’re also sure to think on it slowly.
From Wag the Fox:
What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone breaking into your home? It’s a question that has kicked off a lot of murder mysteries, both in books and on screen, but I can’t recall any story starting at this point and veering so wildly the way Joe Lansdale’s Cold in July does.
I’ve read that this is one of Joe Lansdale’s personal favorites among his own works, one that he’s most proud of, and while the prose is so lean it’d make a butcher blush with envy, there are moment when it feels like the bones have been picked clean. Lansdale doesn’t mess around though, he keeps the story moving, he keeps each character wholly in the moment and working like cogs in a well-oiled machine.
There’s a film adaptation out this summer, even hitting Cannes, but I gotta wonder if it can capture all of the visceral suspense contained in this book’s pages. Heck, if it can translate half the magic of this thriller to the screen, then I’ll be happy. And if not, there’s still a damned good book to be read.
For more info on Cold in July, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story