cover image Dead Aim

Dead Aim

Joe R. Lansdale. Subterranean (, $25 (104p) ISBN 978-1-59606-525-3

Tart, smart, and dangerous, Lansdale’s favorite roughneck detectives, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, take on an apparently straightforward assignment—discourage a man from harassing his estranged wife—in this dark and twisty novella, the 10th entry in this highly satisfying series flavored with an East Texas twang (Devil Red, etc.). Hap and Leonard are too sadly experienced to trust what their client tells them. They learn they were right to be wary when the husband is murdered, and more bodies turn up. They could walk away from the whole case at that point, but they’re too stubborn and honorable to do that—so they work at figuring out why everyone is lying to them and what’s going on under several layers of deceit. Though the book boasts many distinctively warped characters, a few (like Hap) sometimes try to be better than they naturally are. The action builds up to a shootout that’s simultaneously exciting and funny. (Jan.)