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Act of Love Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1990
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
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"".
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'.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love Joe Lansdale. I have never read one of his books that I didn't like. I love the Hap and Leonard series and can't wait for the TV show.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Act of Love by Joe R. Lansdale (digital edition 2014, first published 1981) – Act Of Love was Lansdale’s first published book and it is a terrific battle between Houston homicide... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Clark Hallman
I can tell this is earlier in his career, but I love the way he writes. I like his people, and it's nice to see Hanson earlier.Published on May 28, 2012 by Lisa Davidson
Compared to Lansdale's typically high-quality output, this novel is pretty substandard. The characters never quite gel, the dialogue is rough around the edges, and the plot's... Read morePublished on July 13, 2006 by Amazon Customer