Dead Aim by Joe R. Lansdale (book review).

There have been some great double acts over the years. Laurel and Hardy, Holmes and Watson, fish and chips, the list goes on. Add to it Hap Collins and Leonard Pine.

Featuring Joe Lansdale’s popular recurring characters, ‘Dead Aim’ sees our heroes taking a case from a beautiful yet mysterious woman who wants a divorce from her controlling. Smelling some easy money, they think it’s going to be a walk in the park but when he’s shot while they’re staking him out, the duo are soon embroiled in a murderous plot with plenty of twists and turns.

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After reading this novella, I did some research on the character and the author, I was astounded at the outpouring of love for Hap and Leonard. These guys are heroes on-line and there are blogs dedicated to them with people anxiously awaiting their next adventure. Plus with Lansdale claiming it’ll be written in the ‘next decade’, the fandom can only grow.

It’s easy to see why though. Even for a newbie like me, the characters’ relationship is slick with no words wasted. There’s a familiarity and trust between the two that exudes from every word. They’re a team or perhaps a married couple that work together. It’s like ‘Hart To Hart’ but without the cheesiness and the wrinkles.

This is the 10th Hap Collins and Leonard Pine story in the series but to be honest the story isn’t that important. The obviously twisting plot is just a device for the two to get stuck in some tricky situations and trade barbs along the way.

As you’d expect with a novella, the story moves quickly with loose caricatures making up the supporting cast, even Hap’s girlfriend’s most defining quality seems to be the fact she has red hair.

No matter though, if you want an involved ensemble watch ‘Mad Men’ but if you want fast-moving, rapid fire action with snappy dialogue between the leads, then you can do a lot worse than picking up ‘Dead Aim’.

Aidan Fortune

April 2014

(pub: Subterranean Press. 102 page deluxe hardback. Price: $25.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59606-525-3)

check out website: www.subterraneanpress.com

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