“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Joe R Lansdale / Edition: New edition / Paperback / 320 Pages / Book is published 1998-10-10 by Phoenix „
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Having a best pal is a great thing, someone to hang out with and partake of your favourite activities that don't rely on your partner. This could be watching the football, or going shoe shopping. The fact that there is someone who is happy to hang out with you and enjoys the same things is a bonus. For a friendship to work and become best buddies there has to be some sort of common ground between the two people; similar hobbies, attitudes to life or disturbing deviances. Whatever the common bond is, it needs to be there. However, sometimes you do get odd friends that you would not automatically put together. How about a red neck and a black homosexual? Perhaps this is not unheard of, but in areas of Texas their friendship is bound to raise a few eyebrows.
Hap and Leonard have never been the most conventional of best friends; one is a relaxed white man bordering on the brink of being a red neck, whilst the other is a formidable gay black man who is not afraid to tell people what he thinks. Living in Texas does not help their cause, as people don't always see eye to eye with them. When Leonard's uncle dies he leaves his Nephew the keys to his battered old house. What else can a friend do but to offer to help do the place up? Hap starts to wish he hadn't offered when they discover the skeleton of a child hidden beneath the floorboards. Was there more to Leonard's Uncle than met the eye, or was he innocently embroiled in something far over his head?
Joe R Lansdale is a controversial and very funny author. His books are nearly all set in the Southern States of America, and he has great fun taking the Michael out of it. Hap and Leonard are his quintessential duo, having appeared in several books together. This is their second outing and is one of the best at highlighting why they work so well together. They are a great odd couple; one laid back, the other angry. For all intents and purposes they should have nothing in common, but Lansdale makes them work by giving them a similar sardonic wit and a general dislike of everyone but one other. The pithy put downs and sarcastic observations make the duo a very funny pair to read about. It also puts them into a lot of scrapes and bar fights. Despite the levels of violence and rude language in the book Lansdale gives Hap and Leonard an old fashioned sense of justice that makes the book feel worthy.
To enable the comedy to work Lansdale has to create a story to contain it. He has often fallen down here, as he is sometimes more interested in a simple throwaway line than actually creating an intriguing plot. 'Mucho Mojo' is far more structured than many of his books as the serial killer aspect is clear throughout. However, it fails to delivery on the mystery aspect as I was able to work out who the killer was far before the reveal. It was a decent effort by the author to add a mystery to the book, but it cannot live up to the top drawer comedy and character aspects. I am still waiting for the Lansdale book that matches comedy with story; it will be an absolute classic.
There is a lot to recommend 'Mucho Mojo' and the cannon of Joe R Lansdale's work. He is one of the funniest authors around who skirts the fields of homophobia and racism in a way that is hilarious and sympathetic. There are plenty of characters that do and say the wrong thing in this book, but at no point do you side with them. In a strange way Lansdale is one of the most moralistic crime writers that I read. Despite the filthy language and sex, the book actually preaches tolerance and friendship. It is with this sense of camaraderie that the book works as Hap and Leonard are two fantastic creations that you can not help but enjoy reading about. 'Mucho Mojo' is typical Lansdale work and, despite a slightly flaky mystery at the centre, is still a great read.
Author: Joe R Lansdale
Price: amazon uk - £2.93 (2nd hand)