For such a freewheeling stylist, Lansdale can write a sensitive obituary for a 'confused and tortured soul' like Sebastian, as well as boisterous action scenes for his irrepressible leads. And he has compassion for places like Hell’s Half Mile, 'a line of honky-tonks full of drunken patrons trying to wash down poverty, bad marriages and gone-to-hell children.'
Bigotry may be part of the plot, and the smiling white supremacist may be a metaphor for a recently emboldened brand of intolerance, but part of what makes this book exceptional is the way Lansdale portrays the long legacy of race and class discrimination as the characters’ lived experience ... Lansdale is one of a kind, with a deceptively folksy and funny voice that hides real darkness; fans of the eponymous SundanceTVseries will be delighted to find the books are even better.
Lansdale has hit an interesting stride in the series that works perfectly for fans. While there is the action and pulp style you’ve come to expect, Joe puts complete faith in his characters ... The plot also entwines perfectly with the social issues that propel the story just as equally. He dives into strong commentary on race and religion. This is one of the few times where discussing the themes could allude to the spoilers, because they are so well fused to the the tale. Even though he rails against the narrow mindedness of society and their institutions, he sees hope in the individuals who break through the barriers that are putting up, proving their lack of true existence ... They are working class heroes in the best sense of the term and Lansdale proves John Lennon’s belief that that’s something to be.
While Jackrabbit Smile is not Lansdale’s best or worst book --- he really doesn’t have a 'worst' one --- it contains some of his best writing, including a new phrase that seems to be an original. You’ll love it. It’s a term for a manifestation of obesity that incorporates the condition’s etiology. You’ll know it when you see it. If there is a fault with the novel, it’s that the first third or so is a bit top-heavy with virtue signaling and is light on the humor, violence and metaphors for which we all came. Still, that absence is more than balanced out by the presence of same throughout the remainder of the book. Strongly recommended, particularly for those coming aboard as a result of the television series.
Lansdale’s excellent series thrives on the banter between the two men, their hatred of racism and stupidity, and their affinity for getting themselves into the worst predicaments ... Lansdale skillfully weaves racism, greed and a sense of menace into the tightly coiled Jackrabbit Smile
By now the Hap and Leonard series has settled into an odd mixture of brutality and sentimentality ... This entry feels a mite quick, even its volatility managed and thus kind of a safer bet than the earlier entries. But it remains a companionable, enjoyable, and profane series. Familiarity has worn down the edge in this series, but its pleasures are still welcome.