Summary

"Today, the Sabine River runs as before, yet the bottoms have been drained. Long gone are the alligators, and the few birds that take to the air cast tiny shadows over concrete surfaces." "But way back then, during the thick of the Great Depression that squeezed Deep East Texas in its impoverishing grip, a boy could hear the crickets and the frogs in the star-studded southern night. And in this primordial time a killer stalked the land." "When young Harry Crane discovers the black woman's body, mutilated and bound to a tree with barbed wire, he unwittingly unleashes a storm of uncontrolled fear, thinly buried racial animosities, and fearsomely escalating violence. Jacob Crane, Harry's father and the town constable, struggles valiantly to see that proper justice gets done."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Joe Lansdale, author of several horror novels, Westerns, andsome outrageous thrillers, is something of a cult writer. The Bottoms,which may be the breakout book that moves Lansdale beyond the genre category, isa resonant and moving novel. Though there is a mystery at its core, it is atheart a coming-of-age story, with a more literary bent than Lansdale usuallydemonstrates.Harry, an elderly man, tells the story of a series of events that occurred inhis 11th year, when the mutilated, murdered bodies of Negro prostitutes beganturning up in the county where his father was the local constable. Harry andTom, his younger sister, find the first one. Only their father, Jacob Crane,seems to care about finding justice for the victims, who are dismissed out ofhand as unimportant by the local branch of the Ku Klux Klan, which warns Jacoboff any further investigations. Harry and Tom think they know who'sresponsible: the Goat Man, a creature who's said to lurk beneath the swingingbridge that crosses the Sabine River, where the first body was found.In fact,the Goat Man has something to do with the murders, and the secret of who he isand what he really did is the key to the unsolved slayings. But that takessecond place to the artfully explicated character of Jacob and Harry's changingrelationship with him in the course of the loss of his boyish innocence. Thisis a masterfully told story and a very good read. --Jane Adams