Rumble Tumble by Joe R. Lansdale
Where has this author been hiding from me? And why? It’s rare that I accidentally encounter an established writer who is completely unknown to me yet is fantastic. If Rumble Tumble is typical of Joe R. Lansdale’s standards then I will be reading a lot more of him from this point forth. He is excellent.
Rumble Tumble is but one in the Hap and Leonard series. Both Hap Collins, and his close buddy, Leonard Pine, are enticing in their own right, but together they are dynamite. The series is slightly reminiscence of John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers novels. But I should point out that Lansdale presents a much more adult version of a vaguely similar dynamic.
The language is racy and full on. In other words, it’s real. The same Sandford tongue-in-cheek dialogue is ramped up and built upon. There are some comments and observations in Rumble Tumble that made me laugh out loud (a rarity). It is, in many ways, completely un-p.c., but then so is the criminal and working class fraternity portrayed here.
Hap and Leonard are natives of East Texas, but this story moves at a frantic pace from East Texas to Oklahoma to West Texas to Mexico and back. Along the way, our two anti-heroes encounter a mean red-headed dwarf, a giant reformed hit-man turned preacher, the Oklahoma mob, and a gang of ruthless bikers. We also have some easy going First Nations people, a death-trap plane with a drunken pilot, and a horny and voluptuous love-interest in the comely shape of Brett Sawyer.
Brett’s daughter is in trouble and both Hap and Leonard have volunteered to rescue her. This premise gives us no end of amusement. The plot flies from incident to accident, and the witticisms are relentless. Yet the constant humorous banter is never overpowering and adds to what is a great story-line. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
If you want a great read and your sensibilities aren’t too delicate, then this is the book for you. Lansdale is now one of my favourites, and that’s based on only this one book. I expect to review many more.
I can imagine Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez directing the movie adaptation of this, with a bitchin’ soundtrack pumping throughout. Wesley Snipes and Sean Penn would take the leads, with a red-haired Charlize Theron in the role of Penn’s paramour, Brett (I should be a producer instead of writing book reviews, with a home in Beverly Hills and swimmin’ pools and movie stars). Read Rumble Tumble and tell me I’m wrong.
Sult scale rating: 8.5 out of 10. Highly recommended.