cover image Moon Lake: An East Texas Gothic

Moon Lake: An East Texas Gothic

Joe Lansdale. Mulholland, $28 (228p) ISBN 978-0-316-54064-3

This thought-provoking crime novel from Edgar winner Lansdale (More Better Deals) opens in 1968 in the East Texas town of Long Lincoln, where Daniel Russell, a 13-year-old white boy, survives drowning after his father intentionally drives them into Moon Lake. Orphaned, Daniel is left in the care of a local African American family, the Candles, before spending the remainder of his teenage years with his mercurial aunt in another town. Ten years later, Daniel gets a call from Long Lincoln’s sheriff: his father’s car has been found with a suspicious pile of bones in the trunk. Daniel returns to claim the remains and inadvertently gets entangled in the murky history of Moon Lake, Long Lincoln’s elders, and the economic plight of the racially divided town. He teams up with Ronnie Candles, now a police officer, to investigate the discovery of even more bodies while rekindling their teenage affair from a decade before. As usual with this author, the Texas dialect is pitch-perfect, though some explanatory dialogue can be a bit didactic. Lansdale effectively dramatizes racial and economic conflict in this searing gothic tale. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (June)