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Deadman's Road
Joe R. Lansdale
Subterranean Press, 272 pages

Deadman's Road
Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale has been a student of the martial arts for more than thirty years. In fact, his standard day is six hours at the typewriter, three hours at Lansdale's Self Defense Systems, the martial-arts studio which he owns and at which he teaches. His recent books include Zeppelins West and Flaming London. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his wife, Karen, writer and editor.

Joe R. Lansdale Website
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SF Site Review: The God of the Razor
SF Site Review: Retro Pulp Tales
SF Site Review: Bumper Crop
SF Site Review: Bumper Crop

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Mario Guslandi

If you ever met Reverend Jebidiah Mercer in some book by Joe R. Lansdale, I'm sure you loved that character at first sight. So, the good news is that the whole package of stories featuring the Reverend are now collected in one volume courtesy of the smart people at Subterranean Press.

"Dead in the West" is a novella which appears to be a cross between a comic book and a B-movie, a zombie tale and a western, an action thriller and a horror story. The piece introduces the character of Reverend Mercier, a peculiar preacher with plenty of mundane habits, including an uncanny ability as a gunslinger. A gripping, breathtaking narrative pace, a graphic, horrific style and a touch of humor produce a powerful, quite enjoyable cocktail.

In "Deadman's Road" a lonely stretch of road is infested with an undead, evil creature terrifying the accidental travelers. After joining a deputy following that road to take a prisoner to trial, the Reverend manages to put the creature to rest for good.

"The Gentleman's Hotel" is another thrilling piece where Mercer steps into an empty town full of ghosts, where werewolves ready to strike are also lurking. An epic battle follows in which bullets are not the only weapons.

In the irresistible "The Crawling Sky" the Reverend is committed to solve the mystery concerning a lonely house inhabited by a murderous creature, while in the enticing "The Dark Down There" he teams with an impossibly fat lady to destroy a bunch of evil brutes pestering a quiet community of miners.

The Reverend is a captivating, unusual literary creation. More at ease with a gun than with a Bible, he's not disinclined to treat himself to a strong drink or even to a quick carnal encounter.

Although the outline of the tales is a bit repetitive (the Reverend arrives to a place, finds it plagued by something evil and manages to destroy said evil), Lansdale's storytelling is absolutely terrific and the collection is a real fun to read.

Copyright © 2010 by Mario Guslandi

Mario Guslandi lives in Milan, Italy, and is a long-time fan of dark fiction. His book reviews have appeared on a number of genre websites such as The Alien Online, Infinity Plus, Necropsy, The Agony Column and Horrorwold.

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