Friday, May 16, 2014

Cold In July - by Joe R. Lansdale - Read it before you see the movie

5 of 5 Stars    Review copy

While it's true I haven't read all of Joe R. Lansdale's books, I've read enough to know I love his stuff.  Whether he's being serious or off the wall, there's always a level of believably in his stories.

I guess you could call Cold In July a crime novel, but it certainly has elements of horror.  Not monster horror.  Real horror.  The horror we read about in the newspaper or watch on the nightly news.  The kind of horror that makes any sane person ask, "How could someone do something like that?"

It all starts with a noise in the night.  An intruder.  As a reader I am drawn into the story immediately.  It seems pretty straight forward, but...what if?  That's something Joe R. Lansdale is very good at, taking a story in unexpected directions.  I found myself asking what if that happened to me, what would I do, and the answers made me uncomfortable.

Cold In July  has some memorable characters, Richard Dane and his wife Ann, ex-con Ben Russel and especially P.I. Jim Bob Luke.  Each with their own distinct identities and personalities drawn to perfection from the author's mind.  Plus, I believe Lansdale is one of the best at writing a conversation.  Here's an example between Dane and Jim Bob Luke...

"You're a lucky man, Dane.  Got a family.  Someone to care about you.  I got what I do and the red Bitch--and it's got a dent in it."
"You got pigs."
"Yeah, but every now and then I eat them, so it's hard to form any kind of relationship.  I don't think they trust me."

In the Afterword, Joe R. Lansdale says, "No novel has ever come to me more full-blown than Cold In July." The end result is a perfect story, well-told, start to finish.  I enjoyed every word.

Cold In July is being re-released by Tachyon Publications in tandem with the new film being released in theaters on May 23rd. 2014.  The film stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as Richard Dane, Sam Shepard as Ben Russel and Don Johnson as Jim Bob Luke.  Having read the book, I definitely want to see the movie, but by all means read the book first.

Strongly recommended.

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