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Burke can envision a luxuriant louche Louisiana more evocative and miasmic than the actual place.

Texan pulp writer Joe Lansdale, who took an Edgar Award for Best Novel recently for his gothic horror tale THE BOTTOMS, and had already earned earned six Bram Stoker Awards as well as the British Fantasy Award and the American Mystery Award, in 2001 authored his sixth in the ‘Hap Collins/ Leonard Pine’ series of picaresque novels about an interracial pair of bosom-buddies in the Texan boondocks. Leonard is gay and black. Hap is white and straight. Both local yokels are trouble-makers and invariably rub up the wrong way various nefarious bad-hats. . CAPTAINS OUTRAGEOUS came out in its first trade paperback edition in January 2003.

Like all of Joe’s tall tales the Collins/Pine series is an acquired taste. The writer had covered westerns, crime-fiction and sheer unadulterated horror/fantasy. He has 29 titles to his credit in these genres of popular fiction and four anthologies and two nonfiction tomes.All told an amazing oeuvre of 35 books the most chilling of which are the highly original FREEZER BURN and his early crime novels ACT OF LOVE, COLD IN JULY, and the very first Hap/Leonard book SAVAGE SEASON.

The writing in CAPTAINS OUTRAGEOUS is as typical as in any Lansdale book – every scene run to its maximum length and every darned cliché of redneck ignoramuses richly invested with ‘local colour’ and cloaked - if not muffled - in ‘atmosphere’, which is entirely appropriate for any down-home "regional author" – James Lee Burke’s Louisiana and his Montana are no different, likewise Carl Hiaasen’s Florida, and James Crumley’s Big Sky Country in his ‘C.W.Sughrue - that’s ‘Chauncey Wayne Sughrue’ - P.I yarns. . These eccentric authors want you to feel the heat and rejoice in a full-blown ambience so thick you could cut it with a blunt butter-knife. Burke can envision a luxuriant louche Louisiana more evocative and miasmic than the actual place.

On the occasion of their sixth mis-adventure Collins and Pine get lost in Mexico where so very many fine movies - let alone novels - have been set :- from B.Traven’s and John Huston’s THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE to Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH and Christopher McQuarrie’s pungent black comedy THE WAY OF THE GUN a feisty fightin’mad tribute to the classic Peckinpah Western epic of 1968.

Once Lansdale, through his mapping of the scattered minds of his irksome duo of drop-out walking,talking disaster- areas Hap and Leonard - gets the story well underway there is no stopping his wild and woolly narrative, his rampant no-holds-barred vim and vigour.The series are often laugh-out-loud male-bonding unregenerate "b.s"./horse pucky that works beautifully as such.and as little more than pure foul-mouthed ‘adult’ entertainment without a single redeeming social value. CAPTAINS OUTRAGEOUS is no exception to the Law of Lansdale on the printed page. Lurid, preposterous and irresistible pure pulpery and poltroonery.

© Alex Grant 2003

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