Waltz of Shadows Vol. 1: A Novel of Suspense Hardcover – Jul 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Bill, who's 24, hooks up with the Disaster Club, four hedonistic youths obsessed with sex and death who plan to throw a scare into a philandering doctor. While they stake out the doctor, they stumble into a hit on his wife. The hired assassins are Fat Boy and Cobra Man, both major-league psycho killers. The wife is butchered, as are Bill's companions; he escapes and turns to his Uncle Hank for help. Reluctantly, Hank gets involved, recruiting his long-estranged brother Arnold and going up against the gruesome twosome. This launches The Lost Lansdale, Subterranean's issue of older, unpublished work from the much-admired noir crime writer (Bad Chili, Freezer Burn, etc.). The author's longtime readers will note his trademark deluge of salty profanity, stark East Texas settings, casual violence and graphic excess. They will also encounter an uncharacteristic lack of humor and a tedious predictability: the characters that wise readers expect to survive generally do, the remainder are far less fortunate. Of the many violent scenes, only one featuring a rape manages to truly shock. While not without raw power and some stylistic flourishes, this novel, written in 1991, is inferior to Lansdale's more recent work and will appeal mostly to collectors and the most dedicated fans.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Waltz of Shadows is indeed flawed, and Lansdale was wise to keep it in the trunk. But for an avid Lansdale reader such as myself, the book is very enjoyable anyway. When I say it is flawed, I don't mean in any kind of hopeless way. The writing is tight, and pure Lansdale. There are, however, a few clumsy linchpins in the plot, and a few of the characters are struggling to be something they're not. But anything I noticed was easily forgiven, and I charged right through the book very quickly.
If this is still available, I'd say grab it for your Lansdale collection for sure. But if you're just a casual fan, I'd say stick with the many more modestly priced Lansdale novels that are in print.
I had read some of the reviews of "Waltz of Shadows" and wasn't quite sure what to expect. I shouldn't have worried because Lansdale is THE master storyteller.
He brings his usual mix of good guys, flawed good guys, slimy guys and truly vile human specimens together to waltz to Lansdale's own internal warped 3/4 time music.
I like Hank Small and his family including his half-brother Arnold - his nephew not so much. Fat Boy and Snake are two of his vilest creations.
The storyline, while a bit predictable, still had enough twists, returns, blood and guts to keep me reading late into the night.
Note: there is violence and mayhem, blood and guts, child pornography, and a nasty rape scene in the book. Be forewarned.
Good thing I did. Except for the nightmare I had after reading this boom bed and nonstop for its first half. Admittedly, it wasn't smart to fall asleep riding the adrenaline rush I got from reading it. It is a thrilling and much creeping read, which I had been longing for quite some time. The characters are hard to forget. The writing is sharp -ok, let's make that excellent. The whole thing is memorable. Plus the story and the plot are... oh well, go suit yourself.
Or maybe I should say, go creep yourself.
Buy let me warn you: the creepiness here is not supernatural at all, it is just and mostly your worst mundane first class creepiness, tied around the characters in a violent plot that only leads to more mundane creepiness
I am not sure if this is the best thing Lansdale ever wrote, but I wonder if he can outmatch it. If I don't read anything else from the man for sure I will be talking and recommending this one in the years to come. As an addendum, after I finished this one I got myself a load of used Lansdale paperbacks and I have already finished Leather Maiden and Dead in the West. And in those two he does not surpass this one. But I am not following the recommendations from other readers.
And I know I am not helping new potential readers a lot, but if you have a strong stomach that can take a nasty, crazy, violent, and satisfying read, then please suit yourself. I am not sure the word "thriller" is enough for this one.
Oh, and the nightmare I had the night I started reading Lansdale had nothing to do with the plot of the book. It was about me and my dad trying to deal with my uncle's corpse.
There you go Bubba, dont read Lansdale and fall immediately asleep. Get yourself some fresh air first.