The Big Book of Hap and Leonard

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 May 2018

Member Reviews

The Big Book of Hap and Leonard by Joe R. Lansdale-This book is a distillation of several earlier releases of novelettes and short stories featuring our home-spun heroes, Hap and Leonard.  A significant addition is the novellas "Hyenas" and "Dead Aim", The rest are short ruminations and accounts of living in East Texas, and the goings on of these two unlikely partners.  Always amusing and occasionally exciting, these stories rely mostly on the aptly drawn characterizations of the participants and the never-ending fertile imagination of Joe R. Lansdale.  If you've never read Hap and Leonard, this is a great place to start.
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“The Big Book of Hap and Leonard” is a special e-book collection that includes short stories and the text of a graphic novel by Joe Lansdale as well as comments, reminiscences, and an Interview of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. Fans might find the extra material almost more interesting than the stories. 
Of course, the stars of the book are Hap and Leonard. In West Texas, Hap Collins, a white good old boy, Vietnam War draft-dodger, and Leonard Pine, a black, gay, Republican Vietnam veteran seem a mismatched pair. Terrible things are happening, with even worse things to come, but it is still very funny. As always, they are rude, crude, and politically incorrect.
I received a copy of “The Big Book of Hap and Leonard” from Joe Lansdale, Tachyon Publications, Particle Books, and NetGalley. I recommend it for all Hap and Leonard fans. As you read, you might hate yourself for laughing, you might wish you had not laughed, but you are going to laugh. As Lansdale says, “This is more fun than rolling down a hill with a bunch of armadillos.”
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As usual I enjoyed the stories of Hap & Leonard, mostly because to me they are like some old friends that I love to meet again. 

Come al solito le storie di Hap e Leonard mi sono piaciute e mi hanno divertito perché ormai, per me é come reincontrare dei vecchi amici.

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THE BIG BOOK OF HAP AND LEONARD by Joe R.Lansdale is pretty much what the title suggests, an assortment of short (and not so short) stories involving them and other regular characters from the novels.

Dedicated to author Lansdale’s longtime friend, the late Bill Crider, this book opens with forwards by editor Richard Klaw, Michael Koryta, and Bill Crider who was there at the beginning of Hap and Leonard. I found the window into Joe R. Lansdale and Bill Crider’s friendship especially a treasure, and his description of Hap and Leonard very insightful from a great author who will be sorely missed.

Stories and chapters include:

Hyenas (an excellent mid-length novel in and of itself)

Veil’s Visit (somewhat of a departure of the usual Hap and Leonard story including a new character with a mysterious background who would fit well in future novels)

Death by Chili (a short story originally a promo for the novel Bad Chili)

Dead Aim (more or less a typical Hap and Leonard tale that finds them deep into something going off into all directions after being taken on as a simple straight forward case on face value.)

A Bone-Dead Sadness (enjoyable short story described by the author as a “closed room” story involving Marvin Hanson, the former officer turned detective who hires Hap and Leonard for cases.)

The Boy Who Became Invisible (chilling tale of high school bullying and violence that fits with current events, and serves as a reminder that all of us have at one time or another made choices we’re not proud of.)

Not Our Kind (young Hap and Leonard deal with racism present in a way that shapes their future.)

The Oak and the Pond (short story that everyone can identity with about loss of treasured surroundings from our childhood.)

Bent Twig ( Hap’s once again sent to retrieve Brett’s wayward daughter Tillie from harm’s way.)

Joe. R. Lansdale Interviews Hap Collins and Leonard Pine
An Interview with Joe R. Lansdale, His Own Self
The Care and Feeding and Raising Up of Hap and Leonard.

*all three of the final chapters are a goldmine for what they contain of the author’s thoughts and remembrance of the development of Hap and Leonard, and how much of himself and others from his past live and breathe through the characters of the books in this series.

I’d recommend this book to both new and old fans of the series, and while I’d recommend starting at the beginning with “Savage Season”, this would be a fine collection to start with to include a wide assortment of tales that really give an overview into what makes Hap and Leonard work as a series.

5 stars.
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