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Lost Echoes Paperback – February 13, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this superior East Texas crime thriller from Stoker-winner Lansdale (Sunset and Sawdust), Harry Wilkes discovers after a severe childhood ear infection that he has a peculiar "hindsight." Harry can not only see dead people but see and hear violent events as they occurred in the recent or distant past. "It's like I hear and see ghosts in sounds," he tells his father. By the time he's a college student, Harry's psychic abilities have driven him to booze. After meeting alcoholic Tad Peters, a retired martial arts expert, Harry becomes Tad's surrogate son and student. The two forge a pact to sober up together. Their resolve is tested when Harry agrees to help Kayla Jones, an old childhood crush now a cop, solve her father's murder, which her boss, the local police chief, has dismissed as a suicide. Lansdale's down-home prose erupts with explosive twists and razor sharp insights into how "echoes from the original sounds" can never be silenced until action is taken to defeat the fear that created them. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

The prolific Lansdale returns, after sojourns in pulp, sf, and horror, to work his peculiar mojo on the supernatural crime thriller. Harry Wilkes has inherited his family's curse of experiencing "dark sounds," full-sensory recordings of traumatic events that can be unleashed by, for example, the banging of a toilet lid upon which a guy once blew his brains out. Booze helps hold the "ghosts in the noise" at bay, but his life as a drunken recluse isn't going well. He gets things under control with the help of an eccentric sensei named Tad, but when a boyhood girlfriend named Kayla comes home to find her father's killer, Harold grits his teeth and journeys into the dark once more. Lansdale's prose finds the perfect pitch between the laid-back cadences of front-porch storytelling and the thriller's demand for growing urgency. He is a bit unreconstructed when it comes to gender relations--or at least the vocabulary to describe them--but he's got both the charisma and the balls to pull it off. Funny and scary, with a barn-burner ending. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307275442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275448
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over thirty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, as well as numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in eighteen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies.

Lansdale has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others.

A major motion picture based on Lansdale's crime thriller Cold in July was released in May 2014, starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Sam Shepard (Black Hawk Down), and Don Johnson (Miami Vice). His novella Bubba Hotep was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. His story "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" was adapted to film for Showtime's "Masters of Horror." He is currently co-producing a TV series, "Hap and Leonard" for the Sundance Channel and films including The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton and Brad Wyman, and The Drive-In, with Greg Nicotero.

Lansdale is the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan: Martial Science and its affiliate, Shen Chuan Family System. He is a member of both the United States and International Martial Arts Halls of Fame. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife, dog, and two cats.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The great Texas writer, Joe R. Lansdale, is finally back with another mainstream novel, Lost Echoes, and boy is it a keeper! Though Mr. Lansdale has written other books and collections for the smaller independent presses, he hasn't had a mainstream novel out since Sunset and Sawdust. That was three years ago. I've been like a man in the hot, dry desert with no water to drink, trying to be patient as I eagerly awaited this author's next book. Like Stephen King and Dan Simmons, Joe R. Lansdale can write anything that he sets his mind to--horror, westerns, science fiction, fantasy, Texas noir, and award-winning mainstream novels like The Bottoms and A Fine Dark Line. Mr. Lansdale has been writing fiction for well over twenty years; yet, I've had to come to the hard conclusion that he's America's best-kept secret. That's the only answer I can come up with as to why he hasn't reached the point to where he's now a New York Times #1 best selling author. I've been devouring books for over forty-five years, and The Bottoms by Joe Lansdale is the absolute best novel that I've ever read. No brag, just fact. If you haven't read anything by this writer, then I urge to start with his newest novel, Lost Echoes, which will surely hook you with line and sinker as an absolute "Lansdale" fan. I'll tell you another thing to, this book would make one heck of a fabulous movie. Some of Joe's stuff has already been done by Hollywood--Bubba Ho-Tep and Incident On & Off a Mountain Road.

Lost Echoes is about a young man named Harry Wilkes (think Ashton Kutcher), who's working his way through college and trying to stay out of trouble. You see when Harry was six-years of age, he became sick with the mumps and developed a serious ear infection that affected a part of his brain.
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Format: Paperback
Joe R. Lansdale takes us into the echoes of evil with a protagonist whose childhood ear infection gives him psychic power he doesn't want. To Harry Wilkes, harsh, explosive images of violence and death linger in the places they occurred -- and he can see and hear them with searingly realistic impact -- private movies in his skull that threaten to madden or demoralize him.

Lansdale does the unusual by taking a mystery down the horrific corridors of ghost-like replays and keeps it destructively alive by upping the threat to his modest hero, to his women, and to his closest friend. A steady sprinkling of humor, an interlacing of lust and romance, an NYPD style of abreviated dialogue, and a visceral sense of foreboding sees us through to a satisfying, high-stakes climax that makes it worth the pain of getting there.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Attempting a crime thriller with a supernatural twist is risky literary business, but prolific author Joe Lansdale has the chops to pull it off - barely. This is the story of Harry Wilkes, who thanks to a severe childhood ear infection is given the unwanted gift of hindsight triggered by sounds. Put Harry in the vicinity of a violent death and, if triggered by the right sound, an instant replay of whatever gruesome past event took place. Needless to say, neither a pleasant nor desirable talent, which sentences poor Harry to a life of carefully plotted places and activities in an attempt to prevent the next horror show. But after living a life trying to avoid his "sixth sense", Harry must eventually make the choice of confronting his nightmares in order to help Kayla, former crush of his east-Texas childhood and current rookie cop on the local police force - and still a "hottie". While somewhat reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan's "Sixth Sense", or more recently, or Tom Piccarilli's bizarre "Headstone City", Lansdale's twist on a second sight is fresh and unique.

"Echoes" starts fast and furious, getting the reader riveted early, but about midway through slows and starts gets a bit muddy. The dialogue is uneven - snappy and darkly humorous at times, dull and uninspired at others. But for me, much of the slowdown can be attributed to Tad Peters, a middle-aged drunk who happens to be a Bruce Lee-class martial artist, independently wealthy, wholly unbelievable, and totally annoying. But we're to believe that the sodden Tad has the mojo to turn Harry's life around, get them both off the sauce, save fair Kayla, and clear her father's good name. But thankfully, just before Tad manages to sink this notable effort, Lansdale recovers and salvages the story with a climax worthy of the crackerjack beginning. All things considered, an off-the-beaten-track-kind of a book that while not without flaws is a worthy read.
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Format: Paperback
I really admire Joe Lansdale's writing talents, but LOST ECHOES is definitely one of his lesser books. I found it an entertaining, well-written diversion, but little more than that.

LOST ECHOES is essentially a thriller with a supernatural twist. It's hero is a young man with the ability to see visions of violent crimes that have been committed in the past. It starts off quite well, when Lansdale describes the young man's discovery of his power and how it affects his childhood and young adulthood. Lansdale really excels at telling a coming-of-age story, and all the early scenes of this novel are quite compelling.

But LOST ECHOES falters after the midway mark, when Lansdale tries to introduce a half-baked murder mystery plot that is filled with a lot of unbelievable events and coincidences. As always with Lansdale, the dialogue is funny and well done, but the characterization is rather two-dimensional in spots, and I thought many of the supporting characters were underdeveloped. This book also has quite a bit of romance in it, but none of it is well done or convincing -- women just fall over the main character for no good reason.

I think Lansdale was trying to write something more light-hearted and fun here, and I think LOST ECHOES does succeed at that level. This is a fine entertainment that doesn't take itself too seriously. Still, if you never read Lansdale before, my strong advice is to read THE BOTTOMS, which has a better plotline and far more convincing characters.
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