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Act of Love Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1990

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Before Clive Barker or splatterpunk, Lansdale wrote this pioneering serial killer novel, set in Houston. "The closest thing to what I wanted to do at that time was the work of Sam Peckinpah," Lansdale says. "I wanted to make violence nasty, I wanted to make it bother you, but I wanted to make the story compelling. The thing that made me write Act of Love was anger. I was angry that so much attention was directed to psychopaths and murderers and very little attention given to their victims." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Zebra; Second Printing edition (July 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821730800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821730805
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,846,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mellion108 VINE VOICE on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Turn on a light and check all your locks. You'll need that sense of security while reading this novel. We're so numb to serial killer fiction at this point that it's difficult to remember a time when this genre was relatively unknown. ACT is one of the first, and Lansdale adds his incredible touch to make it a unique and chilling novel of a horrific killer and the men trying to catch him.

Lansdale doesn't ease into this subject: the first few pages describe a grotesque murder, the first of the "Houston Hacker", a self-proclaimed hunter of women. Enter Marvin Hanson and Joe Clark as the cops assigned to solve the series of grisly murders. Hanson is a unique character for horror fiction: he's a black cop in the South. He's disgusted by the murders and takes on a personal vendetta against the Hacker. Lansdale leads the reader on to various possibilities as to the identity of the killer without totally giving away anything until near the end. Do not doubt: this novel is not for the squeamish. Lansdale never pulls any punches in his novels; these murders are grotesque. The novel is packed with scenes depicting racial and gender hatred so prevalent in society; there are loads of racial slurs between some of the characters. If you can read this without cringing, check your pulse.

Lansdale is always worth the read. He's a master storyteller. This edition is especially worth it for the intro written by Andrew Vachss as well as the afterword written by Lansdale himself; he explains how the novel came into being, and it's an interesting saga.
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Format: Paperback
Act of Love is one of Lansdale's earliest, if not the earliest, books. AoL's writing lacks the polish or homespun humor that readers would come to expect from Lansdale. Yet, he showed a great deal of potential that would be realized in his later works. Be forewarned, Act of Love is not for the squeamish or the easily offended.
The novel centers around Houston police detective Marvin Hanson, who has the unenviable task of bringing down a modern day Jack The Ripper. The killer is very unpredictable in his methods much like the aforementioned Jack. For instance, one night he'll[choose]a prostitute in a slum-ridden section of the city. The next night, he'll [choose] someone from an affluent suburb. When a few (emphasis on FEW) of the killer's patterns become apparent, everyone becomes a suspect - especially Hanson himself. Hanson not only has to contend with the killer, he has to coexist with his partner Joe Clark as well. Both Hanson and Clark are mutually suspicious about one another. And to make matters worse, Hanson has to restrain himself around an amoral tabloid reporter who likes to further his career by besmirching the Police.
Those expecting the humor of Lansdale's Hap and Leonard novels, which incidentally Hanson appears in starting with Mucho Mojo, may be disappointed. Act of love is still a solid mystery if you have a strong stomach.
Overall rating: 4.5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is like my ??15th?? Lansdale piece of work.
It may be said that this review is not ""fair"" because
of that. This was Lansdale's ?? first?? novel. That
said, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed A LOT of his,
much better, later works. While the first 3/4's of the
book was pretty darn good, I thought the ending was
lacking and unbelievable (Hanson in particular!!).
Would I recommend this book?? No, not above some
his much better books.
Edited to add: A few of Lansdale's books that I thought
were very, very good, were, ""The Bottoms"", ""A Thin Dark
Line"" and ""Edge of Dark Water"".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great first novel for Lansdale. Being his first real novel, I expected a raw and passionate book, but one lacking the polished style of his more recent publications. I was right on the first points, but clearly wrong in the latter. Apparently, Mr. Lansdale was born with his storytelling abilities. Less humor than some of his other works, but that just gave the breakneck pace of the climax that much more impact. If you like Lansdale or just good hard boiled crime fiction, this is well worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a gory and violent story with a sick twisted killer. I enjoyed very much. I love Joe Lansdale's writing. The good guy here is Marvin, the black cop and friend of Hap and Leonard. All you Joe Lansdale's fans know who I'm talking about. Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I've said, I love Joe R. Lansdale and have read or am about to read everything of his I can find. Unfortunately for me, many of his older works seem to be only available on Kindle and being an old fart and set in my old ways, I like to hold a book in my hands and keep it on a shelf when I'm done.
Thankfully, 'Act of Love' is still in print.
I did not love this one as much as most but I still loved it.
You will not be disappointed.
From L. S. Miller, author of the Max Dietrich novels as well as 'Nectar of the Gods' and 'A Death in Our Family'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Joe R Lansdale is a true story teller speaking from a place that's rare to find. Act of Love, captivated me from the beginning because I absolutley love the team cops and Hanson's ability to be a gutsy cop wiilling to admit that his job can push limits. Personal emotions can always throw us for loops even when, in the back of our minds, we know what fear can manipulate anything. Edge of seat, thrilling to the last page and held my brain in a twisted loop of who done it. Again I'm pleased with Lansdale's storytelling and will continue on to my next Lansdale masterpiece. Always satisfied!
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