Thursday, 10 September 2020
JOE R. LANSDALE - MORE BETTER DEALS (2020)
From the Edgar Award-winning author of the Hap and Leonard series, a hard-boiled novel set in 1960s Texas in which a no-nonsense car salesman faces a tempting decision, a dangerous deal, and an alluring affair.
Ed Edwards is in the used car business, a business built on adjusted odometers, extra-fine print, and the belief that "buyers better beware." Burdened by an aging, alcoholic mother constantly on his case to do something worthier of his lighter skin tone and dreaming of a brighter future for himself and his plucky little sister, Ed is ready to get out of the game.
When Dave, his lazy, grease-stained boss at the eponymous dealership Smiling Dave's sends him to repossess a Cadillac, Ed finally gets the chance to escape his miserable life.
The Cadillac in question was purchased by Frank Craig and his beautiful wife Nancy, owners of a local drive-in and pet cemetery. Fed up with her deadbeat husband and with unfulfilled desires of her own, Nancy suggests to Ed -- in the throes of their salacious affair -- that they kill Frank and claim his insurance policy. It is a tantalizing offer: the girl, the car, and not one, but two businesses. Ed could finally say goodbye to Smiling Dave's, and maybe even send his sister to college. But does he have what it takes to see the plan through?
Told with Joe Lansdale's trademark grit, wit, and dark humor, More Better Deals is a gripping tale of the strange characters and odd dealings that define 1960s East Texas.
Great fun was had reading this latest one from Joe R. Lansdale - More Better Deals. I've read Lansdale on and off for the best part of 30 years, starting back when I was still into horror fiction. I think the Drive In 1 and 2 were my earliest reads. Since then I've enjoyed a couple of his Hap and Leonard books and other bits and bobs of his crime and mystery fiction output. Lansdale's one of those authors (there's more than a few) whose books I seem to buy and then stockpile as opposed to getting stuck right into. Maybe 2020 I'll have a brain fart and try and work my way through some of the stash, rather than just talking about working my way through them. If they prove to be half as entertaining as this one, it will be time well rewarded.
More Better Deals - 60s East Texas setting, and a used car salesman crosses paths with a sort of femme fatale, soon followed by sex, crime, more sex and death all of which has serious repurcussions for our main characters - Ed the car salesman and Nancy the dissatisfied wife.
Breezy pace, great time frame, a back drop of a car showroom, a pet cemetery and a fair ground, booze, sex, marital grief, discontent, race, family conflict, dreams and some low level scheming and downright crookedness. All served up with a liberal dollop of spicy humour.
Fantastic writing, great characters, an interesting story with a few twists which keep you guessing as to the final outcome - an ending which satisfied and put the final tick in the box
5 from 5
Lansdale's The Thicket, Dead Aim, Briar Patch Boogie, Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back, The Steel Valentine, Bullets and Fire, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road - a varied output of novels, novellas and short stories have all been enjoyed to a greater or lesser extent since I started blogging about books.
Read - August, 2020
Published - 2020
Page count - 232
Source - Net Galley review copy
Format - ePUB read on laptop