Born For Trouble: The Further Adventures of Hap and Leonard
by Joe R. Lansdale
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 21 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 16 Mar 2022
In Edgar Award winner Joe R. Lansdale’s newest Hap and Leonard story collection, the boys are back, with more righteous ass-kickings, highly improbable adventures, and disastrous fishing trips. These never before collected tales showcase the popular not-so dynamic duo as a little bit older, but not a whole lot wiser—Hap and Leonard were truly born for trouble.
“You could call Born for Trouble a collection of stories. But that’s like calling Paradise Lost a poem. Born for Trouble is a road map through 20th-century crime fiction.”
—S.A. Cosby author of Razorblade Tears
When you meet him, Hap Collins seems just like a good ol’ boy. But even in his misspent youth, his best pal was Leonard Pine: black, gay, and the ultimate outsider. Together, they have mostly found their way as partners in crime-solving—and at least as often, as hired muscle.
As Hap wrestles with his new identity as a father, and Leonard finds love in a long-term relationship, the boys continue their crime-solving shenanigans. They uncover the sordid secret of a missing bookmobile, compete in a warped version of the Most Dangerous Game, regroup after Hap’s visit to the psychologist goes terribly awry, and much more.
So sit yourself back and settle in—Born for Trouble is East Texas mayhem as only the master mojo storyteller Lansdale could possibly tell.
About the Hap and Leonard TV series
The classic Hap Collins and Leonard Pine mystery series began in in 1990 with Savage Season. Hap and Leonard made their screen debuts in the three season Hap and Leonard TV series, starring the late Michael K. Williams (The Wire), James Purefoy (The Following), and Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).
A Note From the Publisher
Crime Reads Most Anticipated Crime Fiction
“It doesn’t get much better than one of the best crime writers in the business serving up brand new stories featuring his most iconic characters. Lansdale isn’t just a brilliant storyteller with heart, he’s also funny as hell, with tales of mummified dachshunds, homicidal bookmobiles, and a psychopathic hunt club. This collection is an absolute blast and a gift to all of us devoted fans.”
—Ace Atkins, author of The Revelators and The Heathens
“Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard stories are right up there with Richard Stark’s Parker books to me . . . Born for Trouble is yet another masterclass in how it’s done.”
—Ed Brubaker, author of The Fade Out
“Each story in this outstanding collection is like a full-ass novel boiled down to pure muscle, bone and mayhem, served up the just the way you like it.”
—Duane Swierczynski, author of Revolver
“Pulpy, blackly humorous, compulsively readable, and somehow both wildly surreal and down-to-earth. Lansdale is a national fucking treasure.”
—Christa Faust, author of Money Shot
“Hijinks and shenanigans anchored by the warmth of camaraderie and a steady flow of excellent jokes.”
—Stephanie Cha, author of Your House Will Pay
“If you’ve met these dudes before, you won’t be surprised to hear that these latest stories are a treat; if you’re a Hap-and-Leonard virgin, well, I’ll overlook the fact that you’ve spent your recent years living in a cave and congratulate you on the adventure upon which you’re embarking.”
—Lawrence Block, author of the Matthew Scudder mystery series
“Proves once again that no one writes a short story like Lansdale.”
“There are writers who are prolific and writers who are brilliant: Joe R. Lansdale is one of the few who is both, and we are lucky to have him. It’s good to see Hap and Leonard again, especially now. When there are too many people willing to hurt others for fun and profit, Hap and Leonard will always kick the right asses and take the right names. It’s nice to live in their world for a little while, because as violent and strange as it is sometimes, the good guys win, and the bad guys get what’s coming to them. They do what’s right, tell bad jokes, and show that loyalty and love are not absent even when things get ugly. We could use more of that. Fortunately, Lansdale is here to deliver.”
—Christopher Farnsworth, author of Blood Oath
“Rambunctious, complex, and endlessly fascinating, these two best friends offer a clear yet sometimes painful view of America in general, and East Texas in particular. Oh, by the way the cartographer of that map is one of the most original inventive and masterful storytellers to put pen to paper, Joe R. Lansdale. Born for Trouble is bound to be a classic.”
—S.A. Cosby author of Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland
“Every Lansdale book is a gift, and this collection of Hap and Leonard stories is no different. If you already love the characters, you absolutely need this. If you’re new, this is a fine place to meet them. I hope these stories go on forever.”
—Richard Kadrey, author of the Sandman Slim series
“Joe Lansdale’s compassion and humanity have touched thousands of readers, me included, right where we live. Of all his vivid and lived-in characters, none are as beloved as Hap and Leonard, and this new collection, Born for Trouble will delight Hap and Leonard fans all over the world.”
—Lewis Shiner, author of Glimpses and Frontera
Praise for Joe R. Lansdale
“A folklorist’s eye for telling detail and a front-porch raconteur’s sense of pace.”
—New York Times Book Review
“An American original.”
—Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box
“A terrifically gifted storyteller.”
—Washington Post Book Review
"No one currently working the field demonstrates more convincingly and joyously the deep affinity between pulp fiction and the American tall tale.”
“Like gold standard writers Elmore Leonard and the late Donald Westlake, Joe R. Lansdale is one of the more versatile writers in America.
—Los Angeles Times
Praise for the Hap and Leonard collections
[STARRED REVIEW] “Last seen in the novel Honky Tonk Samurai, Lansdale’s incomparable East Texas crime fighting duo show their chops in this remarkable story collection."
“Enthralling storytelling that engages readers with dashes of simple wisdom and hard truth.”
—Fort Worth Weekly
“Compelling. Hilarious. Poignant.”
—NY Journal of Books
National marketing plan to include promotion targeting mystery, crime, thriller, and Texas media and publications; regional Texas, national, and international author appearances; consumer and trade advertising; interviews, blog tour, and podcasts; and author and publisher social media campaign; ARC giveaways on Goodreads, NetGalley, and Edelweiss
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 24 members
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. It is set to be published in March 2022.
"Born For Trouble: The Further Adventures of Hap and Leonard" by Joe R. Lansdale is the latest installment in the Hap & Leonard series, which I've been following for my entire life.
Joe Lansdale's creative genius has never disappointed me and I believe it never will.
This collection of 5 fast-paced, action-packed novellas is a welcome return to the world of the "boys" for longstanding fan of the series, like me, and it will also work well as an introduction to the boys' adventures for newcomers.
I love the sharp writing style, the witty banter, and the rare and all the more precious emotional bits scattered in these pages. More than once, the outrageous improbability of the messes Hap and Leonard keep getting themselves in made me laugh out loud.
Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoyed the subtle feminist nuance permeating these stories, all the more unusual because the protagonists are two action men (and one of them is gay). Hap and Leonard are the brilliant exception in a genre that is sadly still dominated by a sexist culture. Joe Lansdale's works are proof that a man can write action/adventures novels (or novellas, in this particular case) without including sexist subtexts and tropes.
I feel bad about giving "Born for Trouble" only 5 stars: it deserves more!
Another fine Lonsdale offering in the even finer Hap and Leonard series of stories. Lonsdale continues to impress with his gifted story telling. If you enjoyed the tv series or his past writing or just new to Lonsdale you will not be disappointed. Great reading,
I would like to thank Netgalley and Tachyon Publications for an advance copy of Born for Trouble, a collection of short novellas featuring PIs Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, set in East Texas.
The book comprises five tales of murder, misdeeds and mayhem where “the boys” solve various crimes, mete out their own justice and go fishing.
There is an ambience to these characters and their adventures that is irreplicable. The humour is occasionally crude and almost always harsh, if not downright black, but it’s authentic and very funny. Then there are the characters, Leonard is the only gay, black, Republican vet that Hap knows and while Hap comes across as a good ole boy he is actually a liberal with a love of reading. No need for stereotypes with this strong characterisation.
The stories are fun. They are well constructed and varied in their themes, although they inevitably end with Hap and Leonard spending time in the cells while law enforcement sort out their story. I don’t imagine that this shorter form is easy to write with so much to cram into a smaller space and yet the author makes it look easy. There is plenty of meat on the bones in the plots, they are imaginative and full of both action and humour. Equally, they are well paced with enough build up to hold the reader’s attention.
Born for Trouble is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
Hap and Leonard return in this excellent collection of novellas. The boys (and Hap's wife Brett and daughter Chance) get caught up in several murder mysteries, all with the action, wit and adventure that is to be expected. I've read all these stories before, but they were fun to read again, like visiting old friends. And these tales work really well together as a coherent narrative from beginning to end. The dialog is laugh out loud funny, the action is sharp, the plots are smart. Anyone who knows Hap and Leonard from the novels will genuinely appreciate this book, and it could also serve as a good introduction to the characters for new readers. I'd give this more than 5 stars if I could. Highly recommended!
Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher Tachyon Publications, and my favorite author Joe R. Lansdale for providing an advance reader copy to review.
Another great Hap and Leonard book. The short stories work as well as the novels, but most of these are longer short stories. It would be hard to select the best, The Briar Patch Boogie is probably my favorite, but all the others are a close second. Joe R Lansdale never lets you down. #BornForTroubleTheFurtherAdventuresofHapandLeonard #NetGalley
Who am I kidding? I'm simply addicted to the adventures and misadventures of the greatest duo in contemporary American crime fiction.
A newly reprinted collection of adrenaline-fueled stories full of mayhem, violent deeds, dead dudes, coffee breaks and lots of scrumptious vanilla cookies, uproariously funny situations, unforgettable East Texas verbal pyrotechnics.....
Lansdale is the best wordsmith at work today and I would probably swim all the way from France to the American shores in order to buy any new publication involving Hap and Leonard. Long live the King of American Crime fiction!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Tachyon Publications for this latest fictional jewel and for keeping my terrible addiction alive and kicking!!!
I’m going to start this review with a short digression. Somewhere near the turn of this new century I walked into my local Half Price Books with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket. I had a plan—rather than choosing back catalog books from one or more of my go-to authors, I would expand my horizons with someone new to me.
I walked out of the store that day with four books. Strega and Blue Belle by Andrew Vachss, and Mucho Mojo and Bad Chili by Joe R. Lansdale. To say these books were revelations to me would not be overstating it. With Vachss’ Burke, I got hard-nosed noir as black as a moonless night, unflinching in their depiction of the horrors people are capable of, particularly against children. With Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard, I was introduced to pure, unfiltered mojo storytelling. From that day on I would seek out and read every book by them I could get my hands on. When I found out later that the two men were friends, I wasn’t surprised. Both men were uncompromising and unapologetic in their approach to writing and life. Sadly, Vachss passed away not long ago, which I found out in a post from Lansdale. The world of crime fiction has lost a giant.
Now back to our regularly scheduled review! Born for Trouble is a new collection of Hap and Leonard stories, which is always cause for celebration. Unlike the past couple of collections, which focused on the boy’s early years, the stories in Born for Trouble cover Hap and Leonard in their later, more mature years. Don’t panic, mature refers only to their age. They are still, for the most part, the same shit-talking, shit-kicking badasses you know and love. Hap may be coming to terms with married life and fatherhood, and he’s a little less quick to pull the trigger, but he’s still tough as nails. And Leonard is still Leonard, just as volatile, just as willing to fuck shit up.
As far as the stories go, this is a book of crime fiction, and there are few better than Lansdale. In several of them, Hap and Leonard are working as private investigators, with Hap’s wife Brett. His adult daughter Chance is along for the ride as well. They are often working with, and sparring with, their friend Marvin Hanson, the police chief of LaBorde, Texas. There are murders aplenty here, colorfully corrupt characters, and the sort of wall to wall mayhem and adventures Hap and Leonard always seem to fall into.
I had read several of these stories before as Kindle singles, and I didn’t mind rereading them a bit. Lansdale is a master storyteller. Settling down with this collection is like getting together with old, cherished friends—the kind of friends who you just know are going to get you in trouble, and you just don’t care.
Born for Trouble will be released March 21, 2022. This one’s a must-have.
A great collection of Hap and Leonard - if you've read any of the two's adventures before you'll know what to expect and this certainly won't disappoint. If you haven't, it's a find introduction to Hap Collins, Vietnam conscientious objector and Leonard Pine,, black, gay and proud - and both of them more than handy in a fight.
The book is dedicated to Michael K Williams, who played Leonard in the sadly cancelled TV series, and consists of previously published shorts - either in small press, anthologies or one-offs.
The writing is as tight as ever from Lansdale - his ear for dialogue is second to none and he writes action like few others.
Seriously recommend this and all the Hap and Leonard adventures.
Lansdale is one of the few authors who can mix humor, action, and violence into a tasty chili. Our heroes Hap and Leonard are back and despite being at it a long time, they haven't gotten boring.
I had previously read most of the stories in this collection, but read them again happily. There are some pretty dark elements here, but Lansdale doesn't linger on it just to shock you. Everything has its reasons.
Overall, I think this may be my favorite Hap and Leonard collection. The tales are memorable and it's a good read if you're a fan of noir and horror.
It's always nice to visit with Hap Collins and leonard Pine two of my favorite Texas characters. Born For Trouble by Joe R. Lansdale is a compilation of short stories that some of you might have already read and some you might have missed. For me it was familiar ground all of the stories except for Sad Onion which I somehow never read before. Still as I said, it's always nice to visit with these rascals. They are some of the best created characters ever and I love to see what they are up to. The stories are filled with mysteries and humor and whitty dialogue. If you by some strange rason never have read any of these adventures you should remedy this at once. I am never disapointed by the stories from this author. I must thank @netgalley and @tachyonpub for letting me read this advance copy out in stores in the end of March. and of course @joe_r_lansdale for coming up with these adventures. Great work. #BornForTroubleTheFurtherAdventuresofHapandLeonard
Joe Lansdale is one of the best writers out there! If you’re already a fan of Hap and Leonard, you’ll love this collection. If you’re new to their offbeat adventures, this is a great place to start. Either way, you’re in for a great ride and I think you’ll love every minute!
The latest Hap and Leonard work from Tachyon Publications is a terrific gathering of five different stories, all previously published in one form or another. Tachyon doesn't really do much on the original novel side for Lansdale. They specialize in packaging together shorter works (though <i>Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade</i> plays with the collection format by presenting itself as a mosaic novel), leaving the novel length works to Lansdale's other publishers (Mulholland Books has done the last five or so). <i>Born For Trouble: The Further Adventures of Hap and Leonard</i> is a continuation of a series that kicked off not as a series at all, but as a standalone novel, about a couple of East Texas lads who are exactly as the title declares them, doomed from the first moments they slid into this world. Doomed to endure troubles aplenty, maybe, but not despair. It might show up from time to time as it does in everyone's life (the novel <i>The Two-Bear Mambo</i> explores this topic quite effectively), but it doesn't stick around for long. And each of these works, which range from short story to novella length, offers plenty of trouble, a blend of crime, suspense, horror, and humor in that Lansdale tradition. It's a fine starting place for Hap and Leonard's adventures, though I'd recommend going with <i>Savage Season</i> for that. It's a hell of a read.
A majority of the stories in <i>Born For Trouble</i> directly invoke the pastime of fishing. Two of the stories start out with our heroes heading home to LaBorde, Texas after a day spent with rod and reels. One of them kicks off in the middle of what must be among the worst fishing trips ever taken.
Then again, most crime fiction is about luring the reader in the way expert and amateur fishermen lure in their prey. Regular readers will look forward to falling for a good author's efforts to nab them, hook, line, and sinker. It's a treat to have an expert craftsman, a solid wordsmith, or an engaging storyteller spin away the hours with a yarn worth listening to. Lansdale is actually all three of these.
Let's take a look at each of the five stories in turn:
"Coco Butternut" is the first of the bunch, and here we find Hap and Leonard as well as Hap's wife Brett and his daughter Chance getting hired to exchange a satchel of money for some stolen goods. It's a situation plucked right out of Raymond Chandler, but of course Lansdale makes it his own straight away. The item in question is not blackmail materials or even a purloined trinket of real value, it's the embalmed carcass of a dog. Why shell out cash for a dead dog? Well, it was a favorite of the client's mother, you see, and since she's gone the client has sentimental reasons to see the pooch carcass come back home. Still, when the pair cannot help but peek in the satchel, they quickly realize something else is happening. No dead dog is worth one hundred grand, even a departed momma's favorite departed mutt. When the exchange reveals a heretofore unrevealed corpse and the client himself turns up dead, things get suspenseful in a hurry. This story first appeared as a limited edition chapbook from Subterranean Press.
Second in the book is "Hoodoo Harry," a story that finds the guys returning home from a fishing trip and nearly getting run off the road by an out of control bus. That bus is no bus at all, but a bookmobile that's been missing for years, being driven by a kid who dies before he can offer answers. However, stowed away on board are the elements of a crime, the dead bodies of a woman and several kids soaked in oil for preservation purposes. Hap and Leonard's investigation turns over some stones to reveal dark, squirming secrets indeed. Coming to this story after the recent passing of Andrew Vachss (who cowrote the Hap and Leonard story "Veil's Visit" with Lansdale, and with whom Lansdale maintained a brotherhood/friendship), I could not help but see Vachss' influence here. The situation and the execution are close cousins to some of that author's own works though Lansdale makes it his own. However, it serves as a fitting tip of the hat from one master storyteller to another. "Hoodoo Harry" first appeared as a part of the Bibliomysteries series of standalone eBook novella released from Mysterious Bookshop.
Next up is the shorter yarn, "Sad Onions," which finds Hap and Leonard coming back from a fishing trip to discover an auto accident, a woman in the road, and a dead man in the car below. She's upset, naturally, worried about her husband, but something about the whole situation doesn't sit well with our heroes. There's something more going on here than first meets the eye. Of course they make a choice to keep their lives interesting: "So, we talked about the night before, kicked that around a bit, and since it was really none of our business, we got right on looking into it." What they find is a situation that is a flipside to something Jim Thompson or James M. Cain would've conceived, a woeful story about a guy who married the wrong gal, the plan she enacted to get his fortune, and the sinister coverup involved in hiding the crime. However, neither Thompson nor Cain ever figured on a couple of loveable troublemakers like these to interfere in such a plan. This story first appeared in the anthology <i>Odd Partners</i>, edited by Anne Perry.
Fourth up is a story that finds Hap and Leonard on a fishing trip in one of the worst imaginable cabins ever. There's comedy aplenty here, including one of the most delightfully passive-aggressive morning coffee preparations written. However, the humor shifts to suspense when the pair encounter a woman in the swamps, arrow sticking out of her side, claiming that a quartet of people are hunting her. Hap and Leonard soon find themselves involved living out their own version of "The Most Dangerous Game," with a group of psychos that would not be out of place in a Richard Laymon novel. This one is a nail biter of a story. "The Briar Patch Boogie" first appeared as a novelette from Gere Donovan Press.
Finally, we have "Cold Cotton," a story that reads like a compressed Hap and Leonard novel in all the best ways. Here, we kick off on both a comic and somber note: Hap's having some difficulties getting aroused. His doctor suggests trying a therapist before turning to medications, and Hap sits on the fence until the therapist in question calls on him. She's got a situation involving death threats, and she needs private investigators to look into the situation. Enter Hap, Leonard, Brett, and Leonard's boyfriend Officer Curt "Pookie" Carroll, who do what they can. Unfortunately, when Dr. Cotton's secret past rears its ugly head, she dismisses the investigators, and that proves her undoing. Soon, she's dead, and the guys are left to figure out whodunit and why. What follows is gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and yet funny as hell. The perfect Lansdale mix, in other words. This story first appeared as an original novella from Crossroads Press.
All five yarns show Lansdale's keen synthesis of crime fiction's history. While I call out some of the bigger names his stories tip their hats to, it's hard not to see a touch of Day Keene here, John D. MacDonald there, etc., etc. These are not awkwardly shoehorned homages, but glimpses at Lansdale's influences. The stories are all Lansdale, of course, and Hap and Leonard never come across as anyone but themselves (even if Leonard sometimes takes to wearing a fedora).
It's challenging to write series characters, and although we seldom worry about whether Hap or Leonard will make it out alive, we are left to wonder how they're going to get out of this or that encounter, and if they might lose fingers, ears, limbs, or companions along the way. The suspense is still powerful, and the storytelling is still high bar.
In "The Boys," the author's introduction to the collection, Lansdale mentions that he writes Hap and Leonard stories between novels. Kind of breather moments. These certainly read as breaths of fresh air, an author playing with some ideas and revisiting a couple of characters he knows so well. The stories are never phoned in, they are well crafted and entertaining works, engaging for all the right reasons and as capable of belly laughs as of moving us with a turn of unexpected, raw emotional honesty … or grossing us out with an unexpected, nasty, yet poignant turn of phrase or moment.
That's the secret recipe Lansdale has been perfecting over his career, evident in standalone stories as well as his series work, and it's a recipe I've grown rather fond of. Hap and Leonard are some of the first of the author's characters I encountered. They entered my life back when <i>Mucho Mojo</i> hit stands at my local Waldenbooks (remember them?) in a Mysterious Press hardcover that sported an unusual-yet-compelling cover image for a strange, enchanting, and disturbing story. It is nice to revisit these characters and find them still getting into (and out of) trouble almost thirty years on.
After all, they were born for it.
<i>Born For Trouble</i> finds Lansdale penning some terrific tales. They are suspenseful and sometimes laugh out loud gems of story from one of our country's finest storytellers, featuring two of his most beloved characters. If the stories themselves don't seem too deep at first brush, that should not be a matter of concern. These are short works, straight ahead narratives that chill the blood, rouse a laugh, or give us a moment of sad reflection. The depth is there if you care to dig in, visible in craft, characterizations, and the workings of the world. However, the stories also offer the not-to-be-missed chance to catch up with perhaps the least likely pairing of investigators to come along in crime fiction since Nero Wolf and Archie Goodwin.