Sunday, January 4, 2015

A return to straight horror from Lansdale

Prisoner 489

By Joe R. Lansdale

Publisher: Dark Regions Press

Pub. Date: October 20, 2014

Rating : 4 & 1/2 out of 5 stars

Joe R. Lansdale has long been one of my favorite writers. He is also an author who writes in a number of genres. Lately he seems to be releasing a lot of mysteries and westerns. So I was especially happy to see this 60 page piece of original horror fiction show up at the end of the year. The fact that it is nicely bound by the high quality publisher Dark Regions Press and has great illustrations by Santiago Caruso is icing on the cake. You see, it was his horror fiction back in the so called "splatter-punk" days of the 80s that first attracted me to his works. So this is sort of a literary reunion for me.

Prisoner 489 is short. But it is quality writing on every page. The basic plot centers around workers on a small island that is used as a prison graveyard. As usual, Lansdale sets up the stage and players expertly. One of the things you can rely on with a Lansdale story is dialogue that is cleve and witty but realistic to the characters. His stories tend to be on the macho side and this one is no exception. I will not reveal the horror aspects of the story except to say the author gives us a legendary creature and places it in an unusual environment. Creativity and taut action writing is what makes this piece of short fiction work. Prisoner 489 is a nice return to the type of horror that made Lansdale a name in the field. I love his mysteries and westerns too but this is the type of writing that a fan of weird fiction yearn for. .

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