cover image The Events Concerning

The Events Concerning

Joe R. Lansdale. Subterranean, $45 (176p) ISBN 978-1-64524-100-3

In “The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance,” the entertaining first of two novellas in this welcome collection from Edgar winner Lansdale (Born for Trouble), work-shy Plebin Cook joins forces with Jasmine, his 17-year-old daughter, and Martha, the gruff bookstore owner he lives above, to spy on Waldo the Clown, whom they suspect may be a serial killer. Somewhat predictably, their foolhardy efforts to find evidence against the clown get them in trouble with the law. The oddball trio’s witty repartee and the lively finale make up for the routine plot. In the sequel, “The Events Concerning Two Stabbed Clowns in a Bloody Bathtub,” a gory and suspenseful vengeance tale, Plebin, Jasmine, and Martha, who have established a private detective agency, pursue blackmailers targeting wealthy accountant Lou Cassidy. Lou, a former client of theirs, wants to pay a $25,000 ransom for his kidnapped wife and keep her infidelity quiet, but the identity of the mystery man on a sex tape mailed to Lou marks the first in a series of twisty surprises. Lansdale has been better, but these casually violent and absurdly amusing adventures are inspired guilty pleasures. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Nov.)