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Devil Red by Joe R. Lansdale

Devil Red (2011)

by Joe R. Lansdale

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Hap and Leonard unite the great cultural and political American divide, with Hap the white straight bleeding heart liberal and Leonard the black, gay hang-'em-high conservative, bonded together forever by a sense of friendship that encompasses love, duty, honour, justice, brotherhood and all that good shit. I think a fairly heavy case can be made that they deserve to be a lot more iconic. One day they'll make a TV series out of the books as good as Justified if not better and the dream will come true halleluia.

Investigating a double murder unsolved by the police, our heroes find out more that they want to about vampire cults, are reluctantly drawn back to the Dixie Mafia and become the target of a world-class professional assassin. Along the way, Leonard has to deal with a break-up and Hap has to cope with a sudden rush of PTSD. Then there's all the usual violence, mayhem, scatalogical humour and general smart-arsery that makes these books such a liberating shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. So damn good the damn good has to wear a coat and tie. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Good! Not as good as the one before it, but plenty good! Hap and Leonard (" a worn-out honky and a handsome majestic queer ") are just great characters with even greater dialogue! And with Vanilla Ride along for the, uh, well, ride, this one is full of action, bullets, and blood! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Mar 27, 2014 |
Synopsis: While working for a private investigator, Hap and Leonard must find the Devil Red murderer amongst vampires and a re-appearance of Vanilla Ride.
Review: Through most of the book there is a tiresome line of introspection from Hap that comes across as a long-term whine. However, there are some great scenes, as well as well crafted dialog that carry the story. ( )
  DrLed | Jan 10, 2014 |
If Devil Red were my first exposure to the adventures of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, I might give it four stars. But having read every book in this long series, it is too easy to recognize that there are times here when Lansdale is just coasting on his superior imagination and ability to churn out snappy, often vulgar dialogue between Hap, Leonard, and the other characters in the novel. Many of these characters are series regulars, with a “special” appearance or two that I won’t mention since it could be a spoiler. The twist, if there really is one in this book, is that Hap is having doubts about his continuingly violent life avenging injustice, particularly after a narrow escape in the previous book in the series. These misgivings don’t prevent him from doing what he has to do at the end of this book, however. The climax is the best part of the book and earns it an extra half star. Enjoying this book require a great deal of suspension of disbelief as the plot races through a series of increasingly improbable twists. It is easy to believe that Lansdale, true to what I heard him say in a recent interview, doesn’t plot anything out ahead of time.

I got this book from the library rather than buying it myself. I remember when it was possible to get Lansdale in a cheap mass market paperback, and surely that is where this type of pulp fiction should find its best audience, rather than in a $24 Alfred A. Knopf hardcover (and later, of course, a still expensive trade paperback.) But I’m happy that Lansdale has found such success. He truly deserves it. But the variable quality of his output is beginning to remind me a little bit of John D. MacDonald, another writer of consummate skill who could have benefited from slowing down a little. ( )
1 vote datrappert | Nov 29, 2011 |
Devil Red read is the ninth installment of Joe R. Lansdale’s Hap & Leonard series and it’s another good one. Hap and Leonard are two good old boys from East Texas. Hap is a white heterosexual who shares a house, and a loving and committed relationship, with Brett. Leonard is a black homosexual whose partner recently decided that God wants him to become a heterosexual and he left Leonard. Hap and Leonard are best friends and love each other as brothers. In addition to hanging out together and occasionally causing mayhem, they also work together as unofficial, and unprofessional, crime solvers and protectors of the weak. They help those who are vulnerable and subject to abuse and brutality by unsavory criminals and thugs. Although their code of ethics includes compassion for those who need it, they are also judgmental and violent with those who deserve to be punished. They do not hesitate to hurt or kill those they believe need to be hurt or killed, and they encounter many such individuals in their line of work. In Devil Red they are working for a friend, an ex-cop who works as a private detective. They look into the long unsolved murder of a wealthy woman’s son and her son’s girlfriend, who were also involved with a vampire cult. Like all Hap and Leonard novels, there is plenty of violence and death in this tale. It’s a complex plot that expands to numerous unsolved murders in many states. Hap and Leonard experience danger, fear, and anguish. However, Lansdale also includes some very humorous sequences to relieve some of the tension. I really like the characters that Lansdale has created for this series and I always find his stories to be thrilling and satisfying. I found this story to be very interesting, and I believe it would be an enjoyable read for anyone who is not squeamish about violence. However, I recommend that readers who haven’t experienced previous Hap and Leonard novels might want to read Vanilla Ride before reading Devil Red, although it is certainly not necessary to do so. ( )
1 vote clark.hallman | Aug 28, 2011 |
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You are what you do. --Old Proverb
if I bet on Humanity / I'd never cash a ticket. --Charles Bukowski
This one's for Karen.
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We were parked at the curb in Leonard's car, sitting near a busted-out streetlight.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Hap Collins and Leonard Pine return in a red-hot, mayhem-fueled thriller to face a vampire cult, the Dixie Mafia, and the deadliest assassin they've ever encountered--Devil Red. When their friend Marvin asks Hap and Leonard to look into a cold-case double murder, they're more than happy to play private investigators: they like trouble, and they especially like getting paid to find it. It turns out that both of the victims were set to inherit serious money, and one of them ran with a vampire cult. The more closely Hap and Leonard look over the crime-scene photos, the more they see, including the image of a red devil's head painted on a tree. A little research turns up a slew of murders with that same fiendish signature. And if that's not enough, Leonard has taken to wearing a deerstalker cap . . . Will this be the case that finally sends Hap over the edge? Full up with Lansdale's trademark--whip-smart dialogue, relentless pacing, and unorthodox-to-say-the-least characters--Devil Red is one rambunctious thrill ride by one hell of a writer"--… (more)

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