The Two-Bear Mambo by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hap's ex-girlfirend Florida disappears while investigating the murder of blues musician's son. Hap and Leonard, on behalf of Marvin Hanson, go Grovetown, a racist hive of scum and villainy, to investigate. Will they find Florida and bring her back?
My quest to reread all of the Hap and Leonard books before the TV series drops so I can lord it over everyone else continues. In this, the third Hap and Leonard book, the boys go looking for Florida, Hap's ex and the current girlfriend of Marvin Hanson, their detective friend. Florida went to the most racist town in Texas investigating a jailhouse suicide that may have been murder and wound up missing.
The boys don't actually do a whole lot of detective work in this one. They mostly crack wise and get their asses handed to them. I'd forgotten the beatings Hap and Leonard take in earlier books.
Grovetown seems like a horrible place, backward and racist, but all too plausible. Lansdale peoples it with interesting characters, most of them with hidden depths. Since it's been at least a decade since I read this the first time, I'd forgotten most of the wrinkles of the plot and was pretty surprised by the ending.
The Lansdale wit is in full effect in this one. Even after reading mostly Lansdale in recent days, I still find myself surprised at his skill with colorful similes, like Raymond Chandler drenched in Miller High Life.
While it wasn't my favorite Lansdale book, The Two-Bear Mambo was still a very solid read, even the second time. Four out of five stars.
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