cover image The Donut Legion

The Donut Legion

Joe R. Lansdale. Mulholland, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-316-54068-1

In this wildly funny if uneven crime yarn from Edgar winner Lansdale (Moon Lake), PI-turned-novelist Charlie Garner is confronted by an apparition of his ex-wife, Meg, at his home in east Texas, who warns him to “beware the great mound within the circle.” Unnerved by this ghostly visitation and still holding feelings for his former spouse, he stops by her apartment complex in nearby May Town, but discovers that she and her new husband have mysteriously disappeared. With the aid of his brawny older brother, Felix, who runs a private detective agency, Charlie explores Meg’s connection to the doughnut store where she worked and to UFO fanatics who worship a local site where it’s believed a flying saucer is buried. Shocking revelations and a spate of grisly deaths spur Charlie to get to the bottom of Meg’s disappearance, no matter how hazardous the quest. Though sluggish in places, sharp dialogue and outlandish characters, like the dastardly Cowboy and his flamboyantly dressed chimpanzee, Mr. Biggs, make this high-spirited conspiracy especially enjoyable. Lansdale reliably delivers the goods. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Mar.)