Driving to Geronimo's Grave: and Other Stories by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Driving to Geronimo's Grave: and Other Stories is a collection of tales by Joe Lansdale.
I'm a Lansdale fan from way back so when I saw this on Netgalley, I jumped on it. I've read four or five Lansdale collections but I've never read any of these stories before.
Each tale in the collection is accompanied by an afterword where Joe talks about how the story came to be, which is almost as interesting as the story in some cases. The title story, Driving to Geronimo's Grave, is about a brother and sister driving across depression-era Oklahoma to retrieve the body of an uncle they've never met. It's full of Lansdale's trademark humor and has far more twists than the Oklahoma roads the siblings are driving on.
The second tale, In the Mad Mountains, is a Lansdalian homage to the HP Lovecraft classic, The Mountains of Madness. Joe's tale involves a hole in space and wrecked ships frozen in an iceberg. It's also entertaining as hell and some of the better Lovecraftian fiction I've ever read.
The third story, Wrestling Jesus, is about a young man who learns about confidence and defending himself from an old wrestler. The wrestler, X-Man, wrestles another old timer named Jesus every five years for the love of a dark woman named Felina who has a hold on them. It's pretty much a story of a father-son relationship, told in Lansdale's Mojo style. I texted my wife a few choice lines while I was reading it.
The fourth story, Rapid Robo, is a science fiction tale. Set centuries after a failed alien invasion, a girl leaves her tribe in the desert to find her brother and sister, who were kidnapped by robots. I liked this one quite a bit. I love stories featuring relatively primative people using technology they don't understand and this is one of those. Sheann and Nim's relationship drives the tale, much like in Wrestling Jesus.
The Projectionist, the fifth story, is about the young man who runs the movie projector and the secrets he holds. It's a pretty bad ass crime tale. I know Joe has a few tales that feature movie theaters but this one takes a very dark turn.
The final story, Everything Sparkles in Hell, is about a marshal tracking a quartet of killers in the winter who gets more than he bargained for. This one is a western starring Nat Love, which reminds me I still need to read Paradise Sky.
Driving to Geronimo's Grave was a loaded revolver with a bullet in ever chamber and not a dud in the bunch. It's hard to pick a favorite since I liked all of the tales quite a bit in their own ways. The collection shows that Joe Lansdale can write in a large spectrum of genres and still be the mojo storyteller he's always been. It's an easy four star read.
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