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Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard Novel (1) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – January 6, 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Start with two best friends who practice martial arts in their free time: one a straight white guy, the other a black gay guy. Add a conniving ex-wife in a blue-jean miniskirt. Throw in half a million in a muddy creekbed somewhere near the Sabine River in East Texas. Add an ex-radical from the '60s and two naive idealists who want to save the world. Mix them all together in a half-assed plan, season with double-crosses, and then top it off with a hilarious and chilling drug dealer named Soldier. Bloody mayhem a la Lansdale. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Hap and Leonard put in long days of work for little reward. When Hap's old girlfriend Trudy struts in with a plan to make some serious money, Hap and Leonard cautiously get involved. Just as the money is acquired, Hap and Leonard quickly lose control of the situation. To survive, they need to rely upon each other and use their well-honed fighting skills against a ruthless madman. Phil Gigante's performance is mesmerizing: he infuses this book with attitude and style, imbuing each character with a rich distinct voice that resonates well with each personality. His narration is crisp and smooth, with a good distribution of tension according to the given scene. His sole weakness is that sometimes his character voices carry over into the narration causing momentary confusion for listeners. A Vintage paperback. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307455386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307455383
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The author I've read the most is Stephen King at 17 books to date. Joe R. Lansdale is second with 10. Those numbers might not be impressive, but I try to read a little from a lot of different authors. Anyway, books like SAVAGE SEASON - or anything with Hap and Leonard - are why I like Lansdale's writing so much.
For those of you that don't know, SAVAGE SEASON is the novel that introduces Hap Collins, a straight white liberal ex-con, and Leonard Pine, a humorously cocky black homosexual Vietnam veteran. Hap and Leonard catch news that a hundred grand is deep down in an East Texas river. Joining the hunt are three Sixties radicals. One of these radicals is Hap's ex-wife Trudy. Hap and Leonard are soon doublecrossed by the radicals, who still haven't given up their dreams of revolution. The radicals, along with Hap and Leonard, are betrayed by one of their own to a far worse criminal.
This novel like a lot of Lansdale's work is violent, raunchy, funny, and not written to appease political correctness factions. Though the later Hap and Leonard novels like BAD CHILI and MUCHO MOJO are a bit more colorful, SAVAGE SEASON is the best place to start for the uninitiated.
LONG LIVE HAP AND LEONARD!!!
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Format: Paperback
SAVAGE SEASON by Joe R. Lansdale is the first novel in the "Hap Collins/Leonard Pine" series and clearly demonstrates the path to be taken by these utterly outrageous, yet definably noble characters. As the novel starts out, Hap and Leonard are doing okay. They have steady jobs in the rose fields and are taking a day off to shoot some skeet in the field behind Hap's house. Yep, everything is going pretty good until trouble walks around the corner of the house in the form of Trudy (Hap's ex-wife). Now, I don't know if Mr. Lansdale ever met my ex-girlfriend, but his description of Trudy fits her like a tight pair of spandex pants. Every time Trudy steps back into Hap's life and then leaves him again, it takes several months for him to recover. Needless to say, Leonard hates this lady for the way she treats his best friend. Anyway, Trudy has what appears to be a sweet deal for her loving ex-husband. It seems that one of her other ex-husbands, Howard, was in jail with a man who'd helped to rob a bank of one million dollars. All of the bank robber's cohorts were killed during or after the crime, and he almost bought the farm himself when he crashed his getaway boat into a submerged tree stump somewhere along the Sabine River. The money was never recovered, and the bank robber got life in prison. He gave Howard a general location of where he thought the sunken boat might be, hoping that if Howard were able to find the money, he'd share some of it with him to make his stay in prison a little easier. Since Hap knows the Sabine River like the back of his hand (well, maybe not quite that good), Trudy enlists Hap's help in locating the boat, offering him $200,000.00 for his services.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The first in an amazing series involving Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, two most unlikely heroes (though heroes they are). The author performs a powerful magic that transforms a tale with a violent twist about characters that are theoretically undesireable into something unique and hard to put down or forget. Furthermore, should you never laugh out loud when reading this and don't feel moved to buy one of the other Hap & Leonard books I'll be surprised. The story, set in East Texas, is about a treasure hunt, Hap's old girl and much more. Caveat: this is perhaps the weakest of the series - it still rates 5 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this after hearing Joe Lansdale interviewed on Fresh Air. It was a great interview, and the guy really stood out as a true American original. I bought this book, the first in the series, because I thought I might want to read them all. Clearly, Lansdale has a gift for dialogue, but I thought the characters, Hap and Leonard, were a bit too stereotypically wrought, and the plot was just too unrealistic. Once you have read a few pages of dialogue between the protagonists, you could basically write it yourself. Perhaps his other books in the series are better, but I don't think I will be trying them out. If you enjoy really good dialogue and wickedly good plots, give Michael Connelly's intertwining crime series a try: one involves an attorney named Mickey Haller, and the other a detective named Bosch. They each appear in the other's novels, and even though I have never been much into crime novels, I really found these a hoot. There is currently a TV series on Amazon or Netflix based on the Bosch character, that I'm going to try this evening.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I watched the television series based on the hap and Leonard books and was intrigued enough to want to give the books a try. Not a success. I appreciate the way the author shows the deep relationship between these apparently very different men. That works. But the story left me completely flat. I don't demand a whole lot but there was no there there. Not going to read any more of these books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As I’ve found myself hooked on the IFC Channel series Hap and Leonard, I decided one evening—as is my wont to do—to read the source material for this stellar show. In this case, the novel Savage Season by Joe R. Lansdale, the first in a series of novels featuring the exploits of East Texas desperadoes and good buddies, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine.

In Mr. Lansdale’s book as in the series, the recently-unemployed Hap and Leonard receive an unexpected visit from Hap’s ex, Trudy. She hires them to help find a million dollars from a 20-year-old bank heist believed to be in a car at the bottom of a river. Hap and Leonard take the gig and soon join forces with Trudy’s friends Howard, Chub, and Paco, all relics from the radical sixties.

The plot proceeds at an even, almost leisurely pace through the first two-thirds of the book; not much happens from an action standpoint, but as the story progresses, you just know the author is building to something, well, explosive. Which is what happens as the novel hits the home stretch, leading to a bloody, brutal climax. I read the last quarter of the book in one gulp.

Told from Hap’s first-person perspective, the story could have benefited from being written in an omnipotent third person POV. For starters, we know little about how ex-con Hap and Vietnam veteran Leonard came to know each other; shifting the POV also would have enabled Mr. Lansdale to introduce the characters Solider and Angel much earlier (as was done so well on the TV series). Aside from learning about their relationship with Paco, we don’t have much of an inkling about their backstories, although the air of mystery surrounding them is somewhat appealing.

Aside from those few nits, Savage Season is a true page-turner, a fun, noir-ish caper novel with punchy dialog and a splendid mix of characters. Whether you’ve watched the show or not, do yourself a favor and read the novel.
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