Friday, April 13, 2012

Edge of Dark Water

Edge of Dark Water
by Joe R. Lansdale
Little, Brown, 2012. 292 pgs. Mystery

When Sue Ellen, Terry, and Jinx's friend May Lynn is pulled dead from the river with a sewing machine tied to her leg, the kids decide to raft down the Sabine River to a town where they can catch a bus to Hollywood and scatter her ashes, because that's where she wanted to be. They don't have any money, but thanks to May Lynn's journal they find a stash of bank robbery loot and set off, with Sue Ellen's abused, drugged-out mother along for the ride. The missing money gets them followed by Sue Ellen's icky Uncle Gene, Constable Sy, and a truly scary sociopathic character named Skunk, who is given to cutting off people's hands after he has killed them. After a couple of detours in the unhappy minister's home, and the wicked old woman's cabin, the travelers find themselves desperately fighting for their lives in a battle Skunk seems certain to win. A fine thriller, Edge of Dark Water is also laugh out loud funny in a Twainsy kind of way, and a thoughtful, poignant character study of young people with few or no prospects who find themselves in a life-threatening, life-changing moments. So well done. One of the best of Joe Landsdale's very fine works.


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