Friday, December 2, 2016

Another novella diversion with Hap and Leonard

Coco Butternut

By Joe R. Lansdale

Publisher: Subterranean Press

Pub date: January 31, 2017

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars


The saga of Hap and Leonard continues with this barely-a-novella, Coco Butternut. In case you are wondering, Coco Butternut is a dead dachshund. Its body has been dug up and held for ransom to be paid by the previous owner of the dog. To be more precise, the son of the previous owner who was his deceased mother. It seems like a simple task for the lads; pay the ransom and collect the coffin and the canine "pickled"corpse ("Embalmed and wrapped like a mummy..Not pickled" says the dog owner's son Farmer to Leonard). But something doesn't seem right and when they complete the deal, it becomes obvious to them why it doesn't seen right...

As far as Hap and Leonard stories go, this is a barely inconsequential one. I am tempted to call it my least favorite book but my least favorite Lansdale work is still better than 90% of other writer's best works. It is short, sweet and simple...and doesn't really give us any new insight to the duo and their extended family. We now have Chance, Hap's daughter, in the gang but nothing is really added here except maybe that Chance is spending too much time around Leonard and picking up a little attitude. There is nothing amiss with the story either, except we really do not learn much of what happened after Hap's flirtation with death in the last substantial novel, Honky Tonk Samurai. I think we may need to wait for the next substantial novel, Rusty Puppy for the details.

Basically, the Hap and Leonard novellas that has recently bridged the gap between novels are diversions. They are entertaining and well written as is anything Lansdale puts to paper. But they are not essential. This one may be the least essential of them all. It still merits three stars. I love this series and can't even think of rewarding it less but I really hope no Hap and Leonard novice starts with this book. That would be dismaying.

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