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By Bizarre Hands (Dover Horror Classics) Paperback – July 20, 2016
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From the Back Cover
"Lansdale is an immense talent."—Booklist.
Small-town juvenile delinquents, Pentecostal snake-handlers, zombies, psychopaths, and assorted freaks populate these witty and gritty tales of horror by a master of the genre. The suspenseful, action-packed tales range from visions of a post-apocalyptic world ("Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back," "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks") to alternative histories ("Trains Not Taken," "Letter from the South, Two Moons West of Nacogdoches"). A dozen other stories of gruesome violence and utter depravity include "The Pit," in which car trouble develops into a life-or-death struggle; "Night They Missed the Horror Show," involving an encounter with ornery rednecks; and "Hell Through a Windshield," in which a drive-in movie provides a one-way ticket to another dimension.
By Bizarre Hands, Joe R. Lansdale's debut collection of short stories, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction, and two of its tales have received Stoker awards. Lansdale's novella Bubba Ho-Tep was adapted into a 2002 film, and his Hap and Leonard detective stories inspired the Sundance Channel television series. This edition features an Introduction by science-fiction novelist Lewis Shiner and an Afterword by horror fiction author Ramsey Campbell. Suggested for mature readers.
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Don't be turned off by the more extreme nature of many of his stories, though. While his material does tend to skew towards the grotesque, Lansdale is a writer very much to be taken seriously. He is capable of great subtlety and tone when he chooses to be. His prose manages to be economical, but extremely evocative. Some of the short tales in this collection are VERY short, yet they are all striking, highly enjoyable, and more than a few of them are truly unforgettable.
As best of an excellent bunch, subjective as that is, I'd nominate 'On the Far Side', 'Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back', 'The Pit' and the truly confronting 'Night they Missed The Horror Show'. The last one will make you squirm, I kid you not!
This collection is worth owning because there are tales not featured here in some of his other compilations. The more recent 'High Cotton' has about 7 of the 16 featured herein. Yes, it IS annoying. Maybe in the not-too-distant future there'll be a truly comprehensive collection. That will be a momentous day indeed, my friends.
Don't um or ah about any Lansdale collection. Snap it up! You will NOT be disappointed.