High Cotton: Selected Stories of Joe R. Lansdale

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9780965590129: High Cotton: Selected Stories of Joe R. Lansdale

This collection of Joe R. Lansdale stories represents the best of the Lansdale” genre a strange mixture of dark crime, even darker humor, and adventure tales. Though varied in setting and theme, all the stories are pure Lansdale eerie, amusing, and occasionally horrific. In The Pit,” modern gladiators square off against one another using Roman methods. An alternate-history tale called Trains Not Taken” shows Buffalo Bill as an ambassador and Wild Bill Hickok as a clerk. Lansdale’s love of large lizards and humor are evident in the stories Godzilla’s Twelve Step Program” and Bob the Dinosaur Goes to Disneyland.”

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Review:

Like Stephen King, Joe R. Lansdale is a powerful and versatile author. He writes frequently funny, often disturbing suspense, horror, dark fantasy, science fiction, and Western fiction. And like King, he has a strong sense of place: he successfully invokes the spirit of the West and demonstrates a wonderful and distinctly Texan gift for a phrase. But don't be fooled--the resemblances are superficial. Joe R. Lansdale writes like nobody but his own self. And, unjustly, he's not yet a bestselling author.

The genre-jumping collection High Cotton is subtitled Selected Stories of Joe R. Lansdale, but could more rightly be called The Best of Joe R. Lansdale. If you haven't read Lansdale, this is the place to start. If you like Lansdale, you already know you want this collection, even if you already own By Bizarre Hands, which contains 7 of these 21 stories. If, however, you are of a delicate constitution or a sensitive nature, you might want to steer clear. Lansdale can be blunt, or gross, or grim, sometimes all at once.

Most of the stories in High Cotton are excellent, and some are already classics. "Night They Missed the Horror Show," a tale of bored young hell-raisers who discover dreadful new depths of trouble, is one of the great horror stories of the 20th century. The alternate-history Western "Letter from the South, Two Moons West of Nacogdoches" packs a lot of big (and shocking) changes into four pages. In the crime story "The Steel Valentine," a fading athlete finds himself the captive of his lover's merciless, criminal husband. In "The Phone Woman," a man discovers his horrifying true nature in a violent act. And in the screwball "Mister Weed-Eater," a man's life is turned upside-down and inside-out by his innocent attempt to help a blind groundskeeper.

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over 20 books, including the Hap Collins and Leonard Pine mystery series. He has won the American Mystery Award, the Booklist Editor's Award, five Bram Stoker Awards, the British Fantasy Award, and the International Crime Writers Award. --Cynthia Ward

About the Author:

Joe R. Lansdale has received the American Mystery Award, five Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers of America, the International Crime Writer’s award, and a New York Times Notable Book award. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas.

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