Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review: Jackrabbit Smile

Jackrabbit Smile Jackrabbit Smile by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a white supremicist and his mother show up at Brett's detective agency, Hap and Leonard are conflicted but agrees to track down Jackrabbit, the missing sister/daughter. Marvel Creek is on its way to being segregated and Hap and Leonard run afoul of The Professor, the mastermind behind it all. Will Hap and Leonard be able to bring Jackrabbit home alive?

Hap and Leonard are up to their old tricks, cracking wise and generally pissing off the bad guys until everything errupts in a hornet's nest of violence. This time, they're in Hap's old stomping grounds, Marvel Creek, which is under the thumb of a segregationist.

Disclaimer: These are my opinions and should not be treated as a personal attack if they don't match yours.

Let's hit the positives first. Hap and Leonard are still hilarious and Joe Lansdale is one of my favorite writers. I've read 50-something of his books and he always makes me laugh. Not only that, he can write some horrifying scenes, which he does in this one. It's easy to forget he started off as a splatterpunk writer. The confrontation at the end was one of his best. The callbacks to previous Lansdale tales, both from Hap and Leonard's previous outings and other works, like Fender Lizards, were nice nods to the things past. The bad guys were bad but Hap and Leonard were "more bad" as Hap would say. It was a pretty entertaining read. However...

...This is the 13th Hap and Leonard book. If you've stuck around this long, Hap and Leonard are as familiar as the bickering old couple that lives down the street. I've been reading about Hap and Leonard for almost half my life at this point and there aren't a lot of surprises left anymore. With the guys working for Brett and Marvin Hanson vouching for them every time they get into a scrape, everything feels safe and comfortable and there's none of the desperation of the earlier books left.

Jackrabbit Smile is an engaging, entertaining read but I didn't think it was nearly as good as some of the other books in the series. Three out of five stars.

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