From the publisher: The beloved, odd, PI-pair Hap Collins and Leonard Pine help a grandmother find her missing granddaughter. The story starts simply enough when Hap, a former ‘60s activist and self-proclaimed white-trash rebel, and Leonard, a tough, black, gay Vietnam vet and Republican with an addiction to Dr. Pepper, are working a freelance surveillance job in East Texas. The uneventful stakeout is coming to an end when the pair witness a man abusing his dog. Leonard takes matters into his own fists, and now the bruised dog abuser wants to press charges. One week later, a woman named Lilly Buckner drops by their new PI office with a proposition: find her missing granddaughter [who she hasn’t seen for five years], or she’ll turn in a video of Leonard beating the dog abuser. The pair agree to take on the cold case and soon discovery that the used-car dealership where her granddaughter worked is actually a front for a prostitution ring. The mystery of her disappearance only deepens from there. Filled with Lansdale’s trademark whip-smart dialogue, relentless pacing, and unorthodox characters, Honky Tonk Samurai is a rambunctious thrill ride by one hell of a writer.
The book opens thusly: “I don’t think we ask for trouble, me and Leonard. It just finds us. It often starts casually, and then something comes loose and starts to rattle, like an unscrewed bolt on a carnival ride. No big thing at first, just a loose, rattling bolt, then the bolt slips completely free and flies out of place, the carnival ride groans and screeches, and it sags and tumbles into a messy mass of jagged parts and twisted metal and wads of ble3eding human flesh. I’m starting this at the point in the carnival ride when the bolt has started to come loose.
That sets up the scene and the pace as well as anything could. What follows is a well-written and well-plotted novel as good as anything the reader will be expecting from this wonderful author, which is a tall order indeed. The book is filled with humor, and wonderful characters: Among others, a woman named Vanilla Ride; an “old gray-haired addict called Two-Toe George;” an accomplished scammer/p.i. named Tommy Jasons, a/k/a Jim Bob Luke, who “seemed like the biggest redneck that ever walked the earth until you spent time with him;” and a guy known only as “Weasel;” most of them highly accomplished in things illegal, many of whom are associated to some degree with the Dixie Mafia.
The writing is wonderfully funny, although readers should be warned that there is much salty language, and is distinctly non-p.c. Beyond that, it is a hugely enjoyable book. I must admit that when I got to the concluding pages, the overwhelming feeling was that the author’s next book, Rusty Puppy, would be published in February, and I am most anxious to read that one. As you should be as well!