cover image More Better Deals

More Better Deals

Joe R. Lansdale. Mulholland, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316-47991-2

Used car salesman Ed Edwards, the narrator of this highly enjoyable hardboiled tale set in 1960s Texas from Edgar winner Lansdale (Jane Goes North), has no qualms about perpetrating serious crimes in his pursuit of the American Dream. When sent to repossess a Cadillac purchased by Frank Craig, a rough, hard-drinking brute who is “big enough to hunt tigers with nothing but a bad attitude,” Ed falls for Frank’s gorgeous if conniving wife, Nancy. After acquiring the Cadillac for himself, Ed and Nancy begin an affair, and Ed soon sets his sights on attaining part-ownership of Nancy’s drive-in movie theater and pet cemetery. To achieve this, he devises a crude plan to beat her husband to death and stage his murder to look like an accident so that Nancy can claim Frank’s life insurance policy. Unsurprisingly, nothing goes as planned, and Ed’s hopes of a more prosperous future prove as shoddy and pretentious as the clunkers he sells. Populated with an admirable array of laughable miscreants, this droll, savage novel is vintage Lansdale. The author’s storytelling powers remain as strong as ever. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (July)