bookrev: Mucho Mojo by Joe R. Lansdale
The novel is one of a series featuring Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, a white day laborer and a black gay man who end up solving gruesome and violent crimes in East Texas. Both have some martial arts training (probably from the Vietnam war, but that is not mentioned in this book) and both hail from East Texas (where Mr. Lansdale is from).
I certainly didn’t mean to read this book straight through. I grabbed it because Mr. Lansdale is a Texas author (and a martial artist). But I glanced at the first couple of pages, then read the first chapter and, before too long it was done.
Leonard’s Uncle passes away, and Leonard inherits the house and some money. His uncle raised him, ‘taught him to be a man’, but then shunned him when Leonard told his Uncle he was gay. Hap is along to help clean up the house and help his friend thru the mourning. They find that the house next door is being used as a crack house; then they find a child’s body buried under freshly replaced floorboards in one of the rooms of Uncle Pine’s house. The child’s skeleton is wrapped in kiddie porn, but there are clues include, leading Leonard to convince Hap that they should clear his Uncle’s name. The rest of the story concerns unraveling the mystery, dealing with the crack house next door, and Hap’s relationship as a white man with Leonard’s Uncle’s black female attorney.
This is obviously an adult book, which covers some very adult topics: children murdered and potentially abused; black and white relationships; child crack addicts and more. Mr. Lansdale certainly does not shrink away from his subject matter.
Mr. Lansdale obviously writes what he knows. The descriptions of East Texas, the complex relationship between the characters (Hap and Leonard, Hap and his black girlfriend), Hap and Leonard themselves and the fighting sequences are all described with dialog and description so smoothly that the reader flows through the book without having to stop and imagine what is happening…the world of this book is painted excellently, especially in the dialog.
I did feel that I was missing some background by not having read the first Hap and Leonard book…a problem that I will soon rectify.