March 18, 2013

Rabid Reads: "Mucho Mojo" by Joe R. Lansdale

Mucho Mojo (Hap & Leonard #2)
by Joe R. Lansdale
originally published in 1994
ISBN 0892964901

It's been over a year since I read the first Hap & Leonard novel, Savage Season. That's way too long by my measure to go without reading the second.

Mucho Mojo picks up between the two pals a while after their misfortune involving Hap's ex, Trudy, who died in their foolish pursuit of money. Leonard is still sporting a limp from the knee injury he sustained during that whole mess. This time it's Leonard's past that sends the two men into a whole new quagmire, when Leonard's uncle--the man who raised him for many years--dies and leaves him his estate. The estate winds up being a bit of cash, a safe deposit box, and the house Leonard grew up in. The house, much like Leonard's relationship with his estranged uncle, has gone to hell. And so has the neighborhood for that matter.

While Leonard tries to get things squared away with the property, Hap winds up getting cozy with the lawyer Leonard's uncle hired. Nothing like a little romance to take your mind off the dead body you find under the floorboards. Oh yeah, there's a dead body under that house--a boy, no less. And the way things are looking, Leonard's uncle is likely to take the fall. Leonard doesn't believe for a second that his uncle is capable of such things though, so he enlist Hap to help him solve the strange riddle of things his uncle left for him in that safe deposit box, and figure out who killed that boy.

Where Savage Season felt much more caper like in the antics of Hap and Leonard, this novel was definitely more in the vein of a straight-up murder mystery. Throw in the way Lansdale sets the stage with crackling dialogue and the occasional turn of phrase, and it's the kind of mystery you won't be in any hurry to see solved, since you'll have such a great time reading the story. The answer to whodunnit became pretty clear much sooner than I expected, but that wasn't the draw for me anyway. It was the way both Hap and Leonard developed through the course of the story, along with the meticulously vivid fight scenes that Mr. Lansdale seemed so adept at writing.

With this being my third Hap & Leonard book (I read Devil Red, the latest in the series, in 2011), I'm even more of a fan than I was already of this series. Two-Bear Mambo is next on my list. I haven't a clue what it's about and am not too concerned. I just can't wait to read it--and it sure as heck won't take me a year this time to do it.

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