Created by Joe R. Lansdale
“Too many guns is not like too many guitars.”
— Hap Collins in Dead Aim
And I’m glad he did.
Man, are they great! I don’t even know why they’re trying to market them as. Horror? Suspense? Voodoo hoodoo crime fiction? Country noir? East Texas gothic?
But definitely file ’em under “Kick Ass.”
As in “these really are just great, rock ’em, sock ’em books.” The two “heroes” are HAP COLLINS , a disillusioned former sixties activist and self-confessed white trash rebel, and his best bud, LEONARD PINE, a hardass black gay Vietnam vet Republican who doesn’t seem to have any illusions about anything at all. These two East Texas yahoos manage to end up in some of the weirdest situations imaginable. They’re not really private eyes or, to tell the truth, much of anything professionally. They’re frequently out of work — layabouts who work assorted odd jobs, anything from treasure hunting to housesitting and yet somehow, inevitably find themselves mixed up in some truly nasty business. And sometimes, they even act as (unofficial) private detectives. In Devil’s Red (2012), they’re reunited with their old pal Marvin Hanson, a former homicide cop (and the main character in Lansdale’s very first novel, Act of Love) who’s become a private investigator, and fobs off one of his cold cases onto the boys.
But whatever “job” they’re working never quite seems to matter when the stories are this good.
Maybe it’s a new sub-genre…the Gonzo Crime Novel. Maybe I can claim I discovered it. Or at least tagged it. Outlandish characters, lots of weaponry, both legal and illegal, rednecks, looney tunes and some real humdinger plot twists, all set to a rock’n’roll soundtrack (no soft, muted jazzbo soundtracks for these books–they’re the literary equivalent to a really great rock’n’roll radio station set to eleven…or maybe twelve).
Hap and Leonard’s back and forth banter is certainly not going to meet any federally-approved politically correct standards, but Hap and Leonard are great characters. The first book in the series, Savage Season (1990) really packs a wallop, reminds me of a cross between Deliverance and Straw Dogs and maybe The Big Chill, sort of a outdoorsy showdown as orchestrated by Quentin Tarantino via John Boorman, and so far, the series has shown no signs of slowing down.
There’s even been a TV show that’s run for three series now, on the Sundance Channel, no less,, starring James Purfoy as Hap and Michael Kenneth Williams as Leonard, and it doesn’t suck.
But then, Joe R. Lansdale is — not to put too fine a point on it — simply one of the great storytellers of our time; a two-fisted gonzo writer who’s never met a genre whose ass he couldn’t kick. He’s written over thirty novels and countless short stories, and has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. He has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies, and has received the Edgar Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others. He is Writer In Residence at Stephen F. Austin State University, and is the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan: Martial Science and its affiliate, the Shen Chuan Family System. He is a member of both the United States and International Martial Arts Halls of Fame. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife, dog, and two cats.
Besides the Hap and Leonard stories, fans of this site out to check out his 1998 collection, Private Eye Action… As You Like It, as well as his awesome horror/detective hybrid tale “The Bleeding Shadow“.
- “(Captains Outrageous is) typical Hap-and-Leonard fare, which means it’s funny, violent, peppered with profanity, oozing testosterone, and ultimately very satisfying. The repartee between Hap and Leonard tramples all over any standard of political correctness, but it’s full of wit and outrageously entertaining.”
— Wes Lukowsky,Booklist
- Savage Season (1990) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Mucho Mojo (1994) | Buy this book
- The Two-Bear Mambo (1995) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Bad Chili (1997) | Buy this book
- Rumble Tumble (1998) | Buy this book
- Captains Outrageous (2001) | Buy this book
- Vanilla Ride (2009) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Devil Red (2011) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Honky Tonk Samurai (2016) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Rusty Puppy (2017) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- The Elephant of Surprise (2019) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
SHORT STORIES & NOVELLAS
- “Veil’s Visit” (1999, Veil’s Visit; co-written with Andrew Vachss)
- “Death By Chili” (1999, Subterranean Gallery)
- “The Boy Who Became Invisible”
- “Hyenas” (2011; Subterranean Gallery) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- “Dead Aim” (2013; Subterranean Gallery) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- “The Boy Who Became Invisible” (2009, The Bleeding Edge)
- “Bent Twig” (2012, Rogues)
- “Not Our Kind” (2016, Hap and Leonard)
- “Coco Butternut” (2017; Subterranean Gallery) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Hap and Leonard (2016) | Buy this book
- Hap and Leonard: Blood and Lemonade (2017) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
A sort of serialized novel; a collection of vignettes as Hap’ recalls his past, growing up in East Texas. Lansdale calls it a “mosaic novel.”
- The Big Book of Hap and Leonard (2018) | Kindle it!
A collection of short stories, novellas, a comic script, appreciations and thinkpieces.
- HAP AND LEONARD
Premiere: March 2, 2016
Based on characters created by Joe Lansdale
Adapted by Jim Mickle and Nick Damici
Writers: Jim Mickle, Nick Damaci
Directors: Jim Mickle, Nick Gomez
Executive producers: Nick Shumaker, Jeremy Platt
Starring James Purfoy as HAP COLLINS
and Michael Kenneth Williams as LEONARD PINE
Also starring Christina Hendricks, Pollyanna McIntosh, Neil Sandilands, Trace Masters, Bill Sage, Jimmi Simpson
- SERIES ONE
- “Savage Season” (March 2, 2016)
- “The Bottoms” (March 9, 2016)
- “The Dive” (March 16, 2016)
- “Trudy” (March 23, 2016)
- “War” (March 30, 2016)
- “Eskimos” (April 6, 2016)
- SERIES TWO
- “Mucho Mojo” (March 15, 2017)
- “Ticking Mojo” (March 22, 2017)
- “Holy Mojo” (March 29, 2017)
- “Bad Mojo” (April 5, 2017)
- “Pie a la Mojo” (April 12, 2017)
- “No Mo’ Mojo” (April 19, 2017)
- SERIES THREE
- “The Two-Bear Mambo” (March 7, 2018)
- “Ho-Ho Mambo” (March 14, 2018)
- “T-Bone Mambo” (March 21, 2018)
- “Senorita Mambo” (March 28, 2018)
- “Mambo #5” (April 4, 2018)
- “Monsoon Mambo” (April 11, 2018)
- The Home of Joe R. Lansdale
Produced by Angry Pitbulls (well, that’s what they call themselves), this is the official Lansdale web site, fulls of all all sorts of goodies, including giveways and free short stories, as well as the usual bio and bibliography.