It s been six years since the last Hap and Leonard novel, Devil Red, though author Joe R Lansdale has written several novellas and short stories in the meantime Coinciding with the new Sundance TV show is their eleventh entry, Honky Tonk Samurai, which had a roundabout release schedule after releasing in Italy in the fall of 2015 Hap and Leonard have been one of crime fiction s most fascinating duos since their introduction in 1990 Hap Collins is a working class white guy, a left leaning idealist who went to jail for draft dodging and hates violence and killing Leonard Pine is a gay, Republican black man who developed his rough and tough persona after growing up in racist East Texas and serving in Nam They re the best of friends, two freelance troubleshooters who get into a variety of sticky situations and run afoul of some rather vile people in Lansdale s oddball redneck noir series.Honky Tonk Samurai begins with the two characters working a surveillance job for cop turned P.I Marvin Hanson, which is interrupted when their target s neighbor starts abusing a dog, and an angry Leonard decides to set him straight The first police responders on the scene include Marvin Hanson, recently roped back into law enforcement to become the police chief, whose first order of business is to arrest the dog abuser and let Leonard off the hook His second is to sell his detective agency to Hap s girlfriend Brett.A few weeks later, Hap and Brett are easing into their new line of business, and are making progress in nursing the poor dog named Buffy back to health That s when their first job comes lurching up their stairs, a crotchety and foul mouthed old woman who has footage of Leonard beating the shit out of the dog abuser on her phone She threatens to release that footage unless they start investigating the disappearance of her niece, Sandy, who s gone missing under mysterious circumstances That s when things start to go sideways, and the boys may have finally bitten offthan they can chew the dealership Sandy worked at is a front for a large blackmailing ring, which is itself just one tentacle of a large criminal enterprise Along the way, they ll run afoul of a ex con turned transgender car salesman, a biker gang army from hell, and a group of inbred hitmen who collect the testicles from all the targets they kill For a plot this wild and complex, Hap and Leonard need to pull out the big guns, and they recruit a murderer s row of vigilantes and anti heroes from the pages of Lansdale s other novels At times, Honky Tonk Samurai feels like the Hap and Leonard swan song The two main characters are getting up in age, now both in their fifties and starting to feel it they also start doing some soul searching, with Leonard trying to figure out his on off relationship with John, and Hap coming face to face with a young woman named Chance, claiming to be his daughter Most of the novel s plot works to get the band back together for one last big battle, pulling in hotshot P.I and cowboy wannabe Jim Bob Luke from Cold in July , investigative journalist Cason and sociopathic Booger see Hot in December , and the beautiful ex assassin Vanilla Ride from, well, Vanilla Ride The last hundred pages or so is an excellent, high octane thrill ride as the characters grand plan is put to the test And while I don t want to spoil the ending, it and some of the other developments in the novel leave things in a much different andambiguous place, almost demanding another book to answer the many questions left hanging.But while the last few hundred pages are attention grabbing and action packed, the first hundred pages or so meander around, setting up the various developments and letting Hap and Leonard engage in witty banter I never thought I d see the day where I grew tired of reading Hap and Leonard dialogue I still don t, but it s starting to wear a bit thin, and of the book s 61 short chapters a few too many consist of nothing but repetitive talking Most of these aren t too bad as they do relate to the narrative, but Jim Bob Luke in particular goes off on a few tall tales which have nothing to do with the plot The Hap and Leonard stories have always been a bit out there over the top, but Honky Tonk Samurai takes the cake the investigation takes a slow and roundabout route while the convoluted plot grows in magnitude and the bad guys get badder at an exponential rate.Joe Lansdale can still write circles around many lesser authors, and Honky Tonk Samurai still has a lot of the killer lines of dialogue that make you smile or laugh, along with his trademark raunchy humor The mystery and its investigation is fascinating, if convoluted, and the action scenes go balls to the walls with a shootout and car chase with some of the nastiest folk in East Texas There s some wild twists and turns you probably will never expect, which kept me on edge Lansdale even tugs at your heartstrings, such as the scene where they unravel all the mysteries for their client, and in a few scenes where Hap bonds with his possible daughter But I m left feeling that the series is starting to go through the numbers it hits all the expected beats but doesn t quite have the same the same vigor as the earlier books, and it falls short of Lansdale s recent high water marks like Edge of Dark Water and Paradise Sky Lansdale does a lot to shake up the status quo, and Rusty Puppy the forthcoming twelfth entry in the series could be a very different animal, and at the least should answer the questions left over from Honky Tonk Samurai I m intrigued already.Honky Tonk Samurai is a novel that fans of the series may eat up, if only because it s an entertaining novel that delivers everything you expect from a Hap and Leonard book Heck, new fans should also find it accessible given the way it introduces the characters, and if you ve never read a Hap and Leonard novel before, you re in for a treat even if this one has a few rough edges While it s entertaining as hell and has a lot of good elements, my feelings are mixed about Honky Tonk Samurai it suffers most from a lack of balance The first third of the novel is eased on like a pair of comfortable if worn out slippers introducing the characters, having them partake in lots of humorous dialogue, balancing mystery with danger, though altogether it s a bit too talky and meandering About at the halfway mark, the novel shows its fangs and grabs hold of you it speeds up as it races towards its bloody finale Despite my complaints it s very much worth reading, and it left me pumped to see what happens in Rusty Puppy.I received an e ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an open and honest review. I m disappointed It might be my book series fatigue but the Hap and Leonard series seems like it s turned into an epic talk fest Because this novel was just released, I decided to jump ahead a couple books in the series and read it The first four books in the series were exciting reads, with compelling plots, a great balance of both light hearted humor and palpable danger, and tender bits sprinkled throughout But as the series went on, it seemed like Lansdale started to depend solely on the humor and witty dialogue over developing a memorable story, losing the great balance that he started out with Here, Hap and Leonard, and especially Jim Bob Luke, blabber on and on throughout the book, trying to make us laugh, which they succeed at for the most part But while it s hard to resist the unending charm of Hap and Leonard as characters and Lansdale s talent with words, I immediately forgot what the plot was once I finished I remember it had something to do with a mystery involving a tranny car salesman and redneck assassins that take their victims severed nutsacks as trophiesso there it has that going for it Only Hap And Leonard Would Catch A Cold Case With Hot Cars, Hot Women, And Ugly SkinheadsThe Story Starts Simply Enough When Hap, A Former S Activist And Self Proclaimed White Trash Rebel, And Leonard, A Tough Black, Gay Vietnam Vet And Republican With An Addiction To Dr Pepper, Are Working A Freelance Surveillance Job In East Texas The Uneventful Stakeout Is Coming To An End When The Pair Witness A Man Abusing His Dog Leonard Takes Matters Into His Own Fists, And Now The Bruised Dog Abuser Wants To Press Charges One Week Later, A Woman Named Lilly Buckner Drops By Their New PI Office With A Proposition Find Her Missing Granddaughter, Or She Ll Turn In A Video Of Leonard Beating The Dog Abuser The Pair Agrees To Take On The Cold Case And Soon Discover That The Used Car Dealership Where Her Granddaughter Worked Is Actually A Front For A Prostitution Ring What Began As A Missing Person Case Becomes One Of Blackmail And MurderFilled With Lansdale S Trademark Whip Smart Dialogue, Relentless Pacing, And Unorthodox Characters, Honky Tonk Samurai Is A Rambunctious Thrill Ride By One Hell Of A Writer Honky Tonk Samurai is a Hap and Leonard novel It was touching, action packed and hilarious all at the same time But the end The ending just slayed me This time around the buddies take on a case for an elderly, and not at all pleasant woman, Lilly Lilly saw them set a man straight after they discovered him abusing his dog, now Hap s dog , and hires them to find her thieving, estranged grand daughter Alongside that plot line is another, concerning Hap s past showing up on his doorstep to throw a monkey wrench into his life with his wife, Brett.From there, a crazy cast of characters enter the picture and the story takes off We have a beautiful woman called Frank, a half insane guy named Booger, the ultra cocky Jim Bob P.I , and Vanilla Sky, just to name a few The action ensues, the pacing never slows, and the wonderful relationship between Hap and Leonard deepens evenI m a late comer to this series and I ve read my first two H L s out of order, my friend Dan assured me it would be okay to do so , but all that has accomplished is to make me want to tackle the rest of them and RIGHT NOW Good thing this is my Year of Lansdale, and I have set aside ample time to tackle the rest of this series and hopefully,of his older work as well Highly recommended to fans of Joe Lansdale, but especially to fans of the Hap and Leonard series You can buy your copy here In case you haven t heard, Hap and Leonard is now a series on the Sundance Channel It s most excellent thus far I received a free e copy of this book via Net Galley and the publisher, in exchange for my honest review This is it. I think I have a crush on Hap.And on Leonard, eventhough he s gay Who cares Rescuing a dog, helping a not so helpless lady, kicking some inbred assesa thoroughly entertaining part in the series Will be following these guys until the very end, which I hope will never happen.Lansdale for the win They say one definition of genius is to be able to do something no one else can do Well, I know that no one else but Joe R Lansdale could write a sentence like this It felt like a dogfight was going on in my belly If you aren t reading Lansdale yet, friends, you need to be The Hap and Leonard books represent one of my three favorite series along with Harry Potter and THE DARK TOWER HONKYTONK SAMURAI might be the best installment yet If it s not, it s up there I don t mind admitting, it hit me with a greater emotional impact than any of the other books in the series And brother, that s saying something, because I love them all. I love Leonard Hap is a kind, gentle, thoughtful, liberal and probably should be my favorite, but I just love nasty talking, people hating, gay Republican, egomaniacal, vanilla cookie eating black guys I can t believe I m all caught up with this series.., please Mr Lansdale High art..it ain t 340 pages of joy.it is. Honky Tonk Samurai is the 11th book by Joe R Lansdale to feature the entertaining adventures of best friends Hap a former 60s activist and self proclaimed white trash rebel and Leonard a black, gay Vietnam vet and Republican with an addiction to Dr Pepper and vanilla cookies Their language may be crude, their banter often tasteless but it s impossible not be charmed by these redneck tough guys whose hearts are usually in the right place Hap and Leonard may have casual regard for the law, but they share a strong sense of justice, they fiercely defend each other, those they love, and those who need their helpI don t think we ask for trouble, me and Leonard It just finds us It often starts casually, and then something comes loose and starts to rattle, like an unscrewed bolt on a carnival ride No big thing at first, just a loose, rattling bolt, then the bolt slips completely free and flies out of place, the carnival ride groans and screeches, and it sags and tumbles into a messy mass of jagged parts and twisted metal and wads of bleeding human flesh I m starting this at the point in the carnival ride when the bolt has started to come loose In Honky Tonk Samurai, Brett, Hap s live in lady, purchases Marvin Hanson s private detective agency now that he has been rehired as police chief The new agency s first client is an elderly woman who blackmails Hap and Leonard into searching for her granddaughter, who has been missing for five years Their investigation leads them to an upscale dealership selling muchthan just cars, and puts a target on their back The plot is fairly simple and a bit of a stretch, but its all in good fun There is plenty of action and violence on offer as Hap and Leonard, with a little help, take on a biker gang, the Dixie Mafia and a psychotic brotherhood of assassins The humour is cheeky, often coarse, but the rapid fire banter is laugh out loud funny Readers familiar with the series will welcome appearances from characters such as Vanilla Ice, Cason and Jim Bob Luke Lansdale s descriptions of the characters that populate his novel are as colourful and vivid as everThat s when the door opened and a lady came in who was older than dirt but cleaner She had a cane, which explained the cricket, but the elephant walk was a littleconfusing, as she wasn t much bigger than a minute She haddyed red hair than she had the head for That hair seemed to be an entity unto itself, mounded and teased and red as blood You could have shaved her like a sheep and knitted a sweater with all that hair, maybe have enough left over for at least one sock or, if not that, a change purse Her face was dry looking She had a lot of makeup on it, as if she were trying to fill a ditch, or several Her clothes were a little too young for her age, which was somewhere near to that of a mastodon that had survived major climate change but was wounded by it She had on bright red tight jeans and a sleeveless blue shirt that showed hanging flesh like water wings under her arms Her breasts were too big, or maybe they were too exposed the tops of them stuck out of her push up bra They looked like aging melons with rot spots, which I supposed were moles or early cancer The last few pages came as a shock but I breathed a sigh of relief when I learned that another Hap and Leonard book Rusty Puppy is on its way, and I m looking forward to the premiere of Hap and Leonard on Sundance TV in March 2016 When an old lady shoots some video of Leonard kicking the shit out of a dog abuser, she tasks Hap Leonard with finding her missing grand daughter in exchange for not informing the authorities Hap Leonard are soon up to their eyebrows in a stew of blackmail, prostitutes, and a testicle taking killer called The CancelerThe dynamic duo really stepped in a steaming pile in this one Brett, Hap s girlfriend, bought Marvin Hanson s detective agency and the boys are now legit private eyes Their first licensed case might be their last Honky Tonk Samurai brings a few of the Hap Leonard supporting cast members together like the A Team Jim Bob Luke, Cason, and Vanilla Ride all have pretty big roles as Hap and Leonard try to unravel the case Booger, the newbie, was muchinteresting than I originally thought Complicating matters are a young woman who may be connected to Hap, bikers, the Dixie Mafia, the Barbecue King, and The Canceler.This story is vintage Lansdale The jokes are hilarious, the writing is crisp, and the violence is gore soaked Since it s Hap and Leonard we re talking about, I knew asses would be kicked and shots would be fired but the climax was eventhan I expected.Honky Tonk Samurai is much beefier than the previous two HL outings but Lansdale s latest tale is balls to the wall for much of its 350 pages I lost track of all the quotable lines I meant to remember in the mad rush to the end.While the climax was great, one of the twists nearly had me shitting myself One of my few complaints with the series is that all the wisecracking makes you forget lives are at stake NoThe book left so many unanswered questions that I hope the next Hap Leonard book is already at the press Four out of five stars If you can handle 350 pages of pure Mojo, get it now With this book Joe R Lansdale has turned a corner I don t much care for Similar to the practices of Hollywood , especially the Marvel world of super heros and the James Bond franchise, the bad guys must get worse and nastier and the stakes go higher and higher In many of the Hap and Leonard books our protagonists take care of the situation they become involved in However, with Honky Tonk Samurai the pair must gather a team similar to the Avengers , which include characters from other books, Vanilla Ride, Booger, Jim Bob Luke former pig farmer and detective and former police officer turned private investigator turned police chief Marvin Hanson, to track down an inbred family of hitmen and killers, who like to slit the throats and cut the nut sacks off of their victims in order to leave their signature If one perseveres and gets past the first seventy or eighty pages of fluff and repetitive banter that begins this book, then a pretty decent story develops Hap and Leonard who now own their own detective agency, are hired by a dying woman to locate her missing daughter who may have been connected to a prostitution ring To the credit of Mr Lansdale Hap and Leonard are ageing and growing fat due to the passage of time and the consumption of vanilla cookies Perhaps written for the new fans that will enjoy the new T.V series of the duo, or perhaps written due to contractual agreements this book is not up to the high water marks of some of Mr Lansdale s previous work especially the excellent Paradise Sky For those interested there will be two collections of Hap an Leonard stories out later this year, Hap and Leonard , Seven adventures, one of them brand new, for the freelance troubleshooters in March 2016 and Hap and Leonard Ride Again due in February for you Kindle readers This is an Advanced Reading Copy Uncorrected Proof copy of the book, due to be published by Mulholland Books February 2, 2016.