cover image Act of Love

Act of Love

Joe R. Lansdale. Subterranean (, $40 (256p) ISBN 978-1-59606-417-1

Thirty-two years after its original release, Lansdale’s pivotal first novel still retains its shocking horror and clarity. Houston police detective Marvin Hanson, nicknamed Gorilla because he’s “black as the pit and ugly as an ape,” has been assigned a gruesome new case—the grisly slayings of young women. Reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, the killer, dubbed “The Houston Hacker,” is a twisted and demented soul, with each killing more barbaric than the last. While he enjoys taunting police and journalists, the Hacker has targeted Hanson and his family, and Hanson will stop at nothing to catch this depraved murderer. A new and clever short story, “A Bone Dead Sadness,” in which a much older Hanson investigates a long-ago disappearance, is a jarring contrast to the stark brutality of the novel. Both showcase Lansdale’s clean, crisp writing and deft characterization, as well as descriptions vivid enough to give the most jaded reader nightmares. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Apr.)