cover image Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard the Early Years

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard the Early Years

Joe R. Lansdale. Tachyon, $15.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-61696-323-1

Full of humor, gritty drama, and insightful observations, the five stories in this rewarding collection from Edgar winner Lansdale (The Elephant of Surprise) concentrate on the early years of his two mismatched East Texas private eyes: Hap Collins, a straight, white liberal; and Leonard Pine, a gay, black conservative. Lansdale packs a punch in the standout “Sparring Partner,” in which the pair, as high schoolers, are hired by a ruthless boxing manager to train a weakling college kid and a giant named Man Slayer. Hap and Leonard fend off a murderous racist in the thrillingly grisly “The Watering Shed,” and in the moving title tale, Hap strives to help a battered woman escape her abusive husband. A food theme runs from the smells of an adolescent Hap’s grandma’s kitchen to a teenage Leonard’s insistence on being served breakfast in a whites-only café. “Good Eats,” a selection of recipes with a disclaimer from Hap, rounds out the volume. This book adds rich background to Lansdale’s tough, morally decent characters, who first appeared in 1990’s Savage Season. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (May)