When young Harry Collins finds the mutilated body of a black woman bound to a tree with barbed wire, he and his younger sister suspect the legendary Goat Man, who is said to lurk under the swinging bridge crossing Texas's Sabine River. The creature holds the key to a string of brutal murders--and a chilling truth. A "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year".
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Joe Lansdale, author of several horror novels, Westerns, and some outrageous thrillers, is something of a cult writer. The Bottoms, which may be the breakout book that moves Lansdale beyond the genre category, is a resonant and moving novel. Though there is a mystery at its core, it is at heart a coming-of-age story, with a more literary bent than Lansdale usually demonstrates.
Harry, an elderly man, tells the story of a series of events that occurred in his 11th year, when the mutilated, murdered bodies of Negro prostitutes began turning up in the county where his father was the local constable. Harry and Tom, his younger sister, find the first one. Only their father, Jacob Crane, seems to care about finding justice for the victims, who are dismissed out of hand as unimportant by the local branch of the Ku Klux Klan, which warns Jacob off any further investigations. Harry and Tom think they know who's responsible: the Goat Man, a creature who's said to lurk beneath the swinging bridge that crosses the Sabine River, where the first body was found. In fact, the Goat Man has something to do with the murders, and the secret of who he is and what he really did is the key to the unsolved slayings. But that takes second place to the artfully explicated character of Jacob and Harry's changing relationship with him in the course of the loss of his boyish innocence. This is a masterfully told story and a very good read. --Jane AdamsAbout the Author:
Where does Mojo storytelling come from? How does a fella learn tospin over-the-top yarns of any sort: horror, suspense, humor, science fiction, Western, what have you? First you got to see the world, like champion Mojo storyteller Joe R. Lansdale, who has lived everywhere from Gladewater, Texas to Mount Enterprise, Texas to Nacogdoches, Texas! "Texas is so wrapped up in myth and legend, it's hard to know what the state and its people are really about," says Lansdale. "Real Texans, raised on these myths and legends, sometimes become legends themselves. The bottom line is, Texas and its people are pretty much what most people mean when they use the broader term 'America.' No state better represents the independent spirit, the can-do attitude of America, better than Texas." The second ingredient to good Mojo storytelling is learning how to take a punch. Or a kick. Or a poke in the eye. And then learning how to avoid them. Lansdale is a student of the martial arts for more than thirty years. He's a two-time inductee into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame, one such honor bestowed upon him for his founding of Shen Chuan, Martial Science. He holds belts in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, Combat Hapkido, American Combat Kempo, and Aikido, amongst others; in fact, his standard day is six hours at the typewriter, three hours at Lansdale's Self Defense Systems, the martial-arts studio which he owns and at which he teaches. With more than twenty books to his credit-and 200 short stories-Joe R. Lansdale is the champion Mojo storyteller. He's been called "the Stephen King of Texas" by Texas Monthly; "an immense talent" by Booklist; "a born storyteller" by Robert Bloch; and The New York Times Book Review declares he has "a folklorist's eye for telling detail and a front-porch raconteur's sense of pace." He's won umpty-ump awards, including five Bram Stoker horror awards, a British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Horror Critics Award, the "Shot in the Dark". International Crime Writer's award, the Booklist Editor's Award, the Critic's Choice Award, and a New York Times Notable Book award. He's got the most decorated mantle in all of Nacogdoches! Lansdale lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his wife, Karen-an occasional writer and editor-and their son and daughter, Keith and Kasey.
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