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Devil Red (Hap Collins and Leonard Pine Novels) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 15, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
Book 8 of 9 in the Hap & Leonard Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Lansdale's rollicking eighth Hap and Leonard novel (after Vanilla Ride), the East Texas crime-fighting duo, Hap Collins (white and straight) and his partner, Leonard Pine (black and gay), look into a two-year-old unsolved murder. They step into the usual hornet's nest of troubles when they spot a devil's head scrawled in blood in crime-scene photos. It's the tag of a merciless mass murderer who has tallied numerous hits across the country, and as their investigation broadens, the pair discovers that Devil Red­­—who could be one of the countless criminals they've cheesed off in previous capers—is now hot on their trails. Lansdale delivers his patented blend of hard-boiled mayhem and laconic humor, leavened with reflections on mortality, morality, sex, and brotherhood. There's enough seriousness to make this novel stand far apart from run-of-the-mill thrillers—and enough comedy to have readers laughing through the blood spatters. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are a couple of East Texas troublemakers who occasionally subcontract a little investigatory work because, well, sometimes they get to make trouble while investigating. Perfect! Marvin Hanson, a real private investigator, hands the boys a cold case involving a double murder in which both victims, who had something to do with a vampire cult (the crime scene was decorated with a devil�s-head symbol), were in line to inherit serious money. Hap and Leonard aren�t just tough. They�re pretty fair investigators�Leonard has taken to wearing a deerstalker hat�and soon they have a shadowy group on their tail. An attempt is made on Leonard�s life, and a vengeful Hap sets out to settle the score with an assist from Vanilla Ride, the sexy female assassin the boys encountered in their last case. Lansdale is funny, often profane, sometimes profound, and a master of the prolonged shootout. The Hap and Leonard novels are re-readably entertaining. Each time through reveals something that was missed earlier. --Wes Lukowsky
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Product Details

  • Series: Hap Collins and Leonard Pine Novels
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030727098X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307270986
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TMStyles VINE VOICE on March 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joe Lansdale has hit the jackpot with his eighth Hap and Leonard novel, "Devil Red". Longtime fans of the series have cause to rejoice and savor one of the finest in this long running series revolving around two long-time friends and partners who seem destined to cross swords with every dangerous killer and criminal in East Texas. Lansdale's trademark dark humor, sudden yet inevitable violence, and in depth study of the meaning of friendship and brotherhood is evident in every page of "Devil Red".

PI Marvin Hanson hires Hap and Leonard to help solve a two-year old double murder that involves more than what is seen on the surface. Large amounts of money were to be inherited by both victims and a vampire cult--yes, real life blood drinkers--is seemingly involved as may be many others including the Dixie Mafia. At each death scene, a devil's head is found scribbled in blood as the apparent signature of a nasty and deadly assassin known as Devil Red. Camp Rapture reporter Cason Statler makes a return visit as does Hap and Leonard's deadly foe from their last adventure, Vanilla Ride.

Who is Devil Red, what is his/her relationship to Vanilla Ride, and why is the devilish assassin now after Hap and Leonard? Where does Vanilla Ride stand in this conflict? Lansdale effectively and satisfyingly ties all these threads together in a great homage to the deep bonds of friendship and brotherhood between Hap and Leonard along with deep reflections on morality and mortality and what they mean to survivors when Leonard is seriously wounded and near death after being cut down by Devil Red. Hap springs into action to tackle the toughest threat of his life to secure justice and vengeance for his hospitalized "brother".
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Format: Hardcover
In East Texas crime solving partners Hap Collins and Leonard Pine agree to look into a two year old cold case. The white Collins and the Black Leonard look at the file, which contains photos of the murder scene. In the pictures they notice a devil's head scribbled in blood. The killer is a murderer who has quite a number of kills across the country as they recognize the trademark.

Hap and Leonard soon find numerous suspects who could be the infamous Devil Red. As they dig deeper, the odd sleuthing couple suddenly believes Devil Red is coming for them. They debate waiting for the psychopath or continuing their search for him; either way Hap and Leonard expect high noon in East Texas.

The latest Collins and Pine Florida jocular hard-boiled bloody noir (see Vanilla Ride) is a great tale due to a strong investigation that leads the duet and readers to reconsider moral values especially relationships. As always there is plenty of sex and gore, but also as usual in between the bodily fluids is a tense plot. Joe R. Lansdale pulls no punches in this terrific taut thriller

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joe Lansdale's newest book should satisfy all of his long time readers. In addition to the regular gang of H&L regulars, we also have Cason Statler of Lansdale's Leather Maiden join the mix. I rarely get into series, as they usually follow a formula, making them very short on drama and end up having more in common with a paint by numbers than real literature. Lansdale transcends the cliches. Where Lansdale succeeds, is humanizing his characters to a greater degree: as much as they grow, they can also regress. The mental toll that Hap's life has left is explored beautifully, but not with a heavy hand. If you crave drama, excitement, and humor, this book is for you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read all the Hap and Leonard titles as well as most everything else Joe has written. He takes up an entire shelf in the bookcase, and I even have a bust of a cowboy zombie in honor of "Dead in the West".

But this book -- it's hard to believe Joe wrote it. SPOILERS FOLLOW -- I don't ordinarily spoil a book but maybe some fans will save their time and money. SPOILERS -- DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU! But forgive me if I get some of this wrong -- it was hard to make sense of the "plot".

The villains are a wealthy man (an accountant) who "disguises" himself by using a wheelchair and pretending to be feeble. His partner in crime is an ex-wife, who works in his office. They also run a school for assassins, and were responsible for training Vanilla Ride (one of the most implausible characters I've ever seen outside of a James Bond novel).

The accountant wants vengeance for the deaths of two of his children, one who was killed by a vampire cult and another who died of a drug overdose. They kill (or arrange for the killing) of everyone even remotely involved in those deaths.

There was just too much silliness in this book. Hap goes catatonic after musing on the violence that follows him, but later asks Brett if she'd like to have his baby. Vanilla Ride (supposedly the most cold-blooded killer EVER!) confesses that she didn't kill Hap because she's hot for him. Leonard goes to buy cookies without taking his wallet or his gun, setting up Hap to arrive on the scene just as Leonard's being shot at.

The book was poorly plotted and the characters were weak. And as another reviewer noted, Hap and Leonard both talk too much. That's often the strength of a Hap and Leonard -- the dialogue -- but here, they were just preaching at each other.

Save your money and skip this one.
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