Exploring "The Thicket" with Joe R. Lansdale

I'm a huge fan of Joe Lansdale and have been for many years. He's a great writer of horror short stories and mystery novels, wrote the beloved Hap and Leonard series of thrillers, is responsible (along with Tim Truman) for what I think are the best Jonah Hex comics ever made, wrote for "Batman: The Animated Series" (one of the best cartoon shows ever). There's "Bubba Ho-Tep," which was based on his short story and "Incident Off and On a Mountain Road" which based on another story. His long list of award-winning novels include "The Bottoms," "Edge of Dark Water," "A Fine Dark Line."

His new book is "The Thicket," which is a departure for him, but it's also a book that is clearly a Joe Lansdale book. It's a Western set in East Texas at the turn of the century and there are similarities to "True Grit" and "The Searchers" but Lansdale points out that the plot of getting revenge on a gang who killed someone or going after someone who kidnapped a relative is a trope of the genre. As he rightly points out in the interview, it's what the writer does with this is what matters and what distinguishes the book. In Lansdale's case, he crafts a book that's funny and strange and bloody and romantic. It's a book where the good guys win, although there's a cost, and which refuses to sugarcoat the past.

It's a great read.

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