Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard Novel, by Joe R. Lansdale- Review

The hubby has been on a book bender for a few months, which has been notable mostly because he's been wildly out-buying me in the book department.  A fairly unbelievable fact, to be sure, but I swear there's been a mind boggling amount of books being bought, and they haven't been for me!

Part of this has been due to his recent discovery of several authors in his fave genre, horror and thriller.  One of whom has been Joe R. Lansdale.  So when his latest book purchase arrived last week he insisted I give Savage Season a read (since the newest book in the series is due out shortly), I think in the hopes of getting me hooked so he'd have an even better excuse to buy more of them.

Since I wasn't the one to buy the book or express any interest in it, I really had no idea what to expect or what it was about.  The only thing I knew was it was about two friends who have a whole series of books about their exploits.  So for some reason I immediately thought of one of my favorite shows to hit the chopping block in the past year, Terriers.  Let me just set the record straight (on the off chance you were one of the other 4 people watching it), it's nothing like Terriers.  It's more like grown up Huck Finn, with a bit of Pulp Fiction right at the end.

Hap has an ex who is about as healthy for him as a heroine addiction, and she's back.  Much to his good friend Leonard's disgust, Hap is ready to jump on board Trudy's half baked plan to find a long ago abandoned boat that supposedly has a million dollars hidden away on it.  Throw in lots of 60's hippies ideals, criminals who are less washed up then they look and Hap and Leonard's amusing friendship and you pretty much have the plot of this story.

Savage Season seemed to be largely just a set up for future books about Hap and Leonard, yet at the same time it fell short of the mark of getting me adequately involved in the lives and relationship of the two friends to think, hey! I need more of these books.  Their friendship had some fun quirks, but it took a big back seat to Hap's relationship with Trudy.  Trudy is 100% unlikable, and it made all the scenes where Hap talks about how sexy she is and goes into a fair amount of detail about exactly what he wants to do with, and to her a bit nauseating.  It makes you really wonder about Hap after awhile, why is he so attached to this bitchy, woman who treats him worse than a cockroach?

Leonard I really enjoyed, but unfortunately he's a very secondary character for large sections of this book.

The most off putting part though was the extended and very graphically detailed violence at the end.  Normally this wouldn't bother me as much as it did, but at a certain point it was so hard to read I was skimming it to save myself the cringing discomfort.  Of course I was the person in the First Aid class who had to hold a hand to her eye during the part where you talk about how to deal with eye injuries where the thing is still sticking out (ugh, I want to cover my eye just thinking about it!).  So I might just be a gigantic cringer compared to most people, though I did really feel the last 20 pages or so took violence to all new heights in fiction.

I am curious where Joe R. Lansdale is going with this series, so I would definitely be willing to give one more of the books a chance.  If for no other reason then I love the idea of Hap and Leonard and I think it could be really enjoyable done the right way.  Who knows, maybe Savage Season is just a growing pains book, there are 9 more of them published now, so there's got to be something likable about them.  Though it's entirely possible they're just not my thing.  I'll give it one more shot before I decide which.

Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard novel, by Joe R. Lansdale
Published by Vintage, 1990
Joe R. Lansdales website
Buy Savage Season on Amazon

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