Dead Aim marks the always welcome return of Joe R. Lansdale’s most enduring fictional creations: Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. The result is a spare, beautifully crafted novella in which Lansdale’s unique voice and inimitable narrative gifts are on full—and generous—display.
The story begins simply enough when the two agree to provide protection for a woman harassed by her violent, soon-to-be-ex husband. But, as readers of this series will already know, events in the lives of Hap and Leonard rarely stay simple for long. When a protracted stakeout ends in a lethal shooting and a pair of moldering corpses turn up in an otherwise deserted trailer, the nature of this “routine” assignment changes dramatically. The ensuing investigation unearths a complex web of lies, duplicity, and hidden agendas that leads from an upscale Texas law firm to the world of organized crime, culminating in the kind of explosive, anything-can-happen confrontation that only Joe Lansdale could create. Violent, profane, and often raucously funny, Dead Aim is a tautly written, hugely entertaining thriller and a triumph of the storyteller’s art.
Another shortish read in January and a bit of a surprise insofar as my inner OCD was temporarily suppressed and I read this one out of series order. I wanted something short and sharp and pretty much guaranteed to entertain and Lansdale can generally be relied upon for that.
Dead Aim has our intrepid duo of Hap and Leonard - one black, one white, one gay and one straight - hired to protect Sharon Devon - her 10ft tall ex-bear of an angry husband, Henry has been threatening her. Needless to say all is not as its seems and before long Henry is dead and one of our boys is fancied for the crime.
Lawyers, gambling, life insurance, debts, marital breakdown, a wild step-child, Dixie Mafia, stakeouts, a dead ex-husband, a deader ex-boyfriend, unrequited love (maybe), a lot of smoke-blowing deceit with half-truths and untruths and a fat pile of money at stake.
Great banter between our two friends - three if you count in Hap's live-in girlfriend Brett. A dash of social commentary - countering the gay effeminate stereotype, plenty of laughs, plenty of action and a mean finale.
4 from 5 and a kick up my own ass to get back to some of the novels in the series. I don't think I've read one since I started the blog in 2012! Tooooo long.
Joe R. Lansdale has his website here.
Read in January, 2017
Published - 2013
Page count - 104
Source - owned copy
Format - Kindle