Sunday, May 24, 2020

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard, The Early Years (Hap and Leonard)

Of Mice and Minestrone: Hap and Leonard, The Early Years is a collection of 5 short early Hap & Leonard stories (4 are previously unpublished) by Joe R. Lansdale. Due out 29th May 2020 from Tachyon, it's 240 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats.

Hap & Leonard are a force of nature. The stories are often violent and hysterically funny (often at the same time and with a suddenness which leaves the reader with whiplash). Lansdale is such a capable writer that I can simply go along for the ride knowing that he knows where we're going and I can just look around and enjoy the scenery. And what scenery it is. There's a real-ness and credibility to the settings and characters that *must* be from the writer's stored experiences. He's simply a virtuoso storyteller and I love his work.

These 5 stories are all worthy of the canon. High quality, spare, and fighting fit, they're of Hap alone and then later on teamed up with Leonard. The stories are introduced with an essay by fellow Texan Kathleen Kent and followed by some tie-in recipes (by Kasey Lansdale) taken from the narratives. Even the recipes are written with a wry humor. Recipe ingredients are listed bullet point with American standard measures (no metric). None are pictured, all seem as if they'd be delicious (with the possible exception of texas sweet tea, I think one needs to have been born and raised there for it to be drinkable - though in the recipe collaborator's defense, she does list sugar and lemon as optional).

Delightful collection of stories with interesting introduction and bonus collaborative recipes. 5 stars. For readers unfamiliar with Hap & Leonard, it might be advisable to read some of the earlier books.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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