cover image The Good, the Bad & the Indifferent

The Good, the Bad & the Indifferent

Joe R. Lansdale. Subterranean Press, $40 (350pp) ISBN 978-0-9649890-2-3

""If you're looking for primo Lansdale,"" Norman Partridge warns in his afterword to these 34 understandably uncollected stories from the celebrated mystery writer (Bad Chili; Forecasts, July 7) and fantasist, ""you've come to the wrong place."" Even Lansdale admits that ""The Valley of the Swastikas""--an updating of ""The Man Who Would Be King"" featuring biker-heroes--""is embarrassing at times."" Here and elsewhere, the writing runs from portentous cliche (""Evil, like energy, can transfer from one place or host to another. It seldom dies"") to strained (""demoniac"" eyes) to just plain odd (lamplight makes ""the gold flecks in her eyes soft and pleasing to the touch""). Lansdale's gabby introduction, which lists influences from The Iliad to Stephen King, pulps, comics and horror movies, is obviously honest (""I was in the mood to do something very short and overly cute""). (Nov.)