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Deadman's Road Hardcover – 31 Oct 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press; Deluxe edition (31 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596063300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596063303
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,583,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Frequently including wonderfully cadenced stories-within-stories, the tales in Deadman's Road provide Lansdale with a perfect canvas for his particular kind of humor/horror." --Hell Notes "I love the grizzle, and I dig the misanthropy." --Revolution SF "This is one weird western series you can take to heart" --Zombos' Closet "If you're easily offended this may not be the book for you. Deadman's Road is by no means for the faint of heart." --My Shelf Confessions "Deadman's Road is an absolute joy to read and read again--and a must-have addition to every right-minded reader's bookshelf." --Bookgasm "... if you want something amusing, scary, and in-your-face? For that you need Joe R. Lansdale." --SFFWorld "The master of such tales is undoubtedly Joe Lansdale. For over thirty years Lansdale has been writing western horror stories, setting the tone for all such stories that followed." --Lit Reactor "It's the mixture of horror, humor, and action elements that makes this collection a must-read for fans of dark literature." --Buzzy --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Edgar Award--winning Hap and Leonard mystery series (Mucho Mojo, Two Bear Mambo) and the New York Times Notable Book The Bottoms. More than two hundred of his stories have appeared in such outlets as Tales From the Crypt and Pulphouse, and his work has been adapted for The Twilight Zone and Masters of Horror. Lansdale has written several graphic novels, including Batman and Fantastic Four. He is a tenth-degree black belt and the founder of the Shen Chuan martial art. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Call of Cuthulu meets Deadwood
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Amazon.com: 22 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A look at Deadman's Road by Joe R. Lansdale 19 Dec. 2010
By Wayne C. Rogers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deadman's Road by Joe R. Lansdale is a collection of five western/horror stories that deal with the Reverend Jebidiah Mercer--a preacher and gunslinger who's on a mission for God, who seeks out the evil and horror in each town he visits and destroys it with extreme prejudice. Now, when you think of the Reverend Mercer, you need to picture Clint Eastwood in your mind from the movie, Pale Rider, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what the character looks like and his general temperament in stressful situations. The first of the stories in this fun-filled anthology is "Dead in the West," which is a novella and the longest of the five pieces. This story was first written back in 1985 and introduced the Reverend to the world. The other four stories were written at various times during the past twenty years and are reminiscent of the early pulp novels and the early Jonah Hex comic books. These stories are purer, in-your-face entertainment and are filled with the dark, Texas humor that Joe (Hisownself) is famous for, graphic scenes of violence, rich Texas folklore and locations that would give author, Larry McMurtry, a run for his money.

The first story begins with the good Reverend Jebidiah Mercer entering the small town of Mud Creek on the eve of the town's retribution. You see, many of the town's citizens took it upon themselves to murder an Indian medicine man and his woman out of nothing more than racist hatred. The Indian placed a curse on the town of Mud Creek and its citizens just before he was lynched. That curse is now coming into play as the Reverend enters the town. As the demonic spirit of the Indian begins to seek its revenge by slaughtering people here and there and turning them into his followers, the Reverend Mercer makes a stand in the town's church with the local doctor, his pretty daughter, and a few others. It isn't long before the church is surrounded with zombie-like creatures who want some fresh food to quench their mounting hunger. Reverend Mercer will have his hands full trying to survive the siege and to deliver God's unmerciful justice to all of the undead.

The second story is this collection is "Deadman's Road." This time, Reverend Jebidiah happens to stop at a small log cabin on his journey through eastern Texas and seeks food and logging for the night. The owner of the cabin, Old Timer, invites him in to have a plate of beans with some of his other visitors--a deputy from the town of Nacogdouches and his prisoner, who's being taken back to hang for his crimes of rape and murder. When the deputy inquires about any short cuts existing back to Nacogdouches, Old Timer tells him about Deadman's Road, which could easily cut a day off the lawman's journey. The only catch is the road is haunted by the spirit of another murderer called Gimet. The deputy decides to take his chances with the short cut if the Reverend will accompany him. It's impossible for Jebidiah to refuse such a generous offer, especially when there's the opportunity of meeting an evil spirit and sending it back to hell where it belongs.

In "The Gentleman's Hotel," Reverend Mercer enters a dead town without a living soul living in it. Well, I take that back. There is one person still alive and she's hiding in an over-turned stagecoach. Mary is a working girl and was traveling to the town to work in the Gentleman's Hotel, or brothel. The stagecoach was attacked by something resembling werewolves and they almost got her, but she stuck one in the eye with her umbrella and they fled away. Jebidiah helps Mary out of the stagecoach and being that these are werewolves she's talking about, decides to take up residence in the hotel to wait for nightfall to arrive and for the creatures to come out again. Once the Reverend and Mary are inside the hotel, they meet a friendly spirit named Dol, who was murdered by the evil entities. He gives both of them the lowdown on how everything came to be, originating four-hundred years before with the arrival of the Conquistatores. From what both Dol and Mary have told him, the Reverend comes up with an idea for fighting the werewolves. It's certainly going to be a fight to the death when the hairy creatures finally come out and charge the hotel to kill both Jebidiah and Mary.

"The Crawling Sky" is the fourth story in Deadman's Road and the town Jebidiah Mercer encounters is so tiny, it only has a few buildings and a makeshift jail on wheels with bars around it. Chained inside the jail is a young man named Norville. The few people in the community think he's totally loco. It all started after Norville married one of the local girls. They took over a vacated cabin a couple of hours outside of town, fixing it up and hoping to live a good life. Things changed for the worse when Norville emptied the nearby well of all the rocks that had been thrown into it. By doing that, he released an evil demon that began to haunt them for a short period of time before finally killing Norville's new wife. When Norville flew into town and told everybody about what had happened, they promptly locked him up as a lunatic. Reverend Mercer manages to secure Norville's release on the condition from the sheriff that they both skedaddle on out of town. Jebidiah believes Norville's tale of woe and together they ride out to the cabin so the Reverend can check out this demon from the well. Like in the previous stories, a big shootout commences once nightfall comes and the demon starts checking out the cabin with the two guests inside.

The final short story in the anthology is The Dark Down There. This one centers on a mining camp that Jebidiah Mercer pays a visit to after being ambushed by several hungry miners on the road to nowhere. Their excuse for trying to bushwhack him is that mean-spirited goblins in the mine made them do it, but that doesn't stop Jebidiah from putting a bullet into each of the no-good back shooters. This does, however, prompt the Reverend to pay a visit to the mine to find out what's going on. He no sooner enters the community and the local bar (the one thing all western towns had back then was a bar for drinking and conjugating) when he's forced to shoot down two local tough guys. Getting directions to the mine, Jebidiah encounters a fat woman named Flower who was related to the two dead men and is damn happy someone finally did them in. Flower offers to help Jebidiah in his quest to discover the secrets of the silver mine if she can do some digging herself and maybe find enough silver to help her escape from the community once and for all. It sounds like a good deal to the Reverend, and she quickly hops on the back of his horse (another thing that should be noted is that Jebidiah Mercer tends to lose a lot of horses in these stories), and they ride up to her digs, which is nothing more than a hole in a rock with a blanket hanging over it and a big, black, monster of a dog guarding the place. They soon have some beaver meat and beans, and then prepare for the night. Later, on the way to the mine, Jebidiah tells Flower about the Kobolds, or goblims that live in the mine and how they came from deep down in the earth, loving to mine silver and to use men as their slaves or food. When they reach the old mine, the Reverend finds a box of dynamite and places several sticks of it into his coat pockets. He and Flower then enter the mine and prepare for an all out battle with the little demons with tails and their hideous queen.

Deadman's Road is a collection that horror aficionados will love. Because the stories are much the same in that Reverend Jebidiah Mercer enters a town, or community, or encounters a cabin, and then does battle with the evil that's there, it's probably best not to read these stories back to back, but rather to space them out a little so you can savor each one. All the stories are good reads with Dead in the West being ideal for a movie adaptation that would put Jonah Hex to shame. Joe R. Lansdale has a way with words that's descriptive, humorous, easy on the ears with its east Texas drawl, and very addictive. Unlike many of Joe's other works (The Bottoms, A Fine Dark Line, Sunset and Sawdust, and the "Hap/Leonard" series), Deadman's Road is geared to primarily to fans of the horror genre. True fans of the western genre might have a little difficulty with the horror aspects of each story, but who knows. Joe has a way of making the unbelievable totally believable, and people who like westerns might just finds these unique pieces of fiction right up their alley. It's definitely a no-brainer for the fans of horror fiction out there. This is the type of writing that first made Joe Lansdale famous.

For any avid fan of the great Joe Lansdale, Deadman's Road is a must for their collection. The dust jacket by Timothy Truman is fabulous with the zombie-like, gun-toting Indians on the front. The interior illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne captures the theme of each story perfectly with his special blend of artwork that depicts the darkness and evil Joe writes about. Pick up of copy of this hardcover wherever you can and then read the stories late at night when everybody else is asleep. I guarantee it won't be long before you hear a gentle tapping at your window, but don't look out to see who's there...not if you want to see the sun come up in the morning.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Ahhh, the Weird, Weird West... 20 Feb. 2011
By Waylander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all, this is the first book I've read from Joe Lansdale. It won't be the last! I'm a huge fan of the Weird West genre, and this book does not disappoint. Joe has a very engaging writing style. His characters in these tales remind me of many of the characters in the HBO series "Deadwood", in the sense that you don't really like very many of them, but they're so interesting and real that you can't put the book down. Reverend Mercer, as others viewers have said, is a wonderful character to follow around in this dark and twisted West. The Reverend has a nose for evil, and he doesn't shy away from situations that would make most folks run for the hills. Definitely can see the influences of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane in Mercer, and I love how even though the Reverend is a man of God it doesn't stop him from studying forbidden books of monster lore and spellcraft in order to deal with the supernatural creatures he encounters. He even destroys bibles by ripping the pages out to use as holy protection against evil. Awesome! Also loved the Lovecraftian influence in "The Crawling Sky" story.

Bottom line is, if you're a Weird West fan, you need to have this book in your collection. I sincerely hope this isn't the last we'll see of Reverend Jebidiah Mercer!!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Deadman's Road: Reverend Mercer drew me into these stories. 31 Oct. 2010
By Greg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Deadman's Road is a collection of pulp stories about a gunslingin' preacher who wanders the American Old West on a mission from God to seek out and destroy evil creatures. Reverend Jedidiah Mercer relentlessly faces down a town full of zombies, an angry ghoul, a pack of Conquistadores-turned-werewolves, a hell-spawn monstrosity haunting a secluded cabin, and a goblin horde that invades a mining town.

I'm generally not much of a fan of horror fiction. I've read fewer then a handful of horror books, but my limited experience is that good horror writers stand out as exceptional storytellers, so I look for the books they write outside the horror genre. Writers like Stephen King, Robert R. McCammon, and Karl Edward Wagner come to mind, and so does Joe R. Lansdale.

On the flip-side, I am a huge fan of Westerns. To me, tales of the Old West are more than just exaggerated fabrications of the American frontier. Westerns are America's legends and myths, our King Arthur or Odyssey.

So I knew I could go either way with Deadman's Road.

Anyone who has read Lansdale knows what to expect: gruesome violence and ribald humor that recall the old horror movies of the late 60s and early 70s. It was a time when classic monsters and campy space invaders were losing ground to the living dead, psychopaths, and demon possession. In fact, it's that same period of horror films that inspired Lansdale to write this story. Low budget, off-the-mainstream cult movies were mixing genres at that time and it's that same kind of weird fun that Lansdale creates here.

Reading Deadman's Road, you can tell that Mr. Lansdale is from east Texas. The dialog, mannerisms, culture, and society... it's like watching The Outlaw Josey Wales, (which, by the way, is probably the best western movie ever made).

However, I eventually became a little bored with the horror elements and the overall darkness that pervades this kind of fiction. There are very few redeeming qualities in most all of the characters, which finally wore me down. But I'm sure horror fans would disagree.

That being said, Reverend Mercer drew me into stories that I otherwise wouldn't have cared about. He is an extremely complex, contradictory, and flawed character that reminds me of one of my favorite heroes created by another east Texan, Robert E. Howard: Solomon Kane. Both Kane and Mercer are fanatic Christians, obsessed with rooting out and destroying evil. But where Solomon uses God's mission as an excuse for his wanderlust and violence, Jedidiah is an unwilling soldier. In fact, Reverend Mercer hates God almost as much as he hates himself, but believes his service to be his only path to redemption for a past insufferable sin. He's hardened and lonesome, and his constant struggle against inner demons makes the reader feel compassion for what would otherwise be an unlikable character. So much so that if there are more stories about Reverend Mercer to follow, I do hope he can one day find peace, if not some measure of happiness.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The only cowboy book I've ever read 31 Aug. 2013
By Scott E Weaver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't dig westerns, they're just not my thing. I do dig Joe R Lansdale however, and I'm always willing to give his fiction a try. Wow, am I glad I did with this book. This is straight up western horror, which was a sub-genre that I didn't even know existed until I read about Reverend Jebidiah. These stories have a pulp fiction feel from back in the 30's and the Rev reminded me somewhat of Robert E Howard's Soloman Kane. The big difference is that Lansdale is a much better writer than Howard was and Rev Jeb is not only much darker than Kane, he's much more interesting. This was fun as hell to read, and I'll be looking for more stories about Rev Jebidiah in the future. If you are looking for some fun, dark horror, this is for you. If you're looking for more serious stuff, Joe can do that to. If that is more your thing check out The Bottoms. I don't like the title, but that is a fantastic novel that shows Joe can write serious scary stuff as well.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Another wonderful Subterranean publication of Joe Lansdale's Work 20 Jun. 2011
By Chris M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book covers the adventure's of the Reverend Jedidiah Mercer as he wanders the old west fighting various forms of evil. It starts with the entire short novel "Dead In the West" and then 4 short stories, one never published before. The cover art is wonderful as with all books published by Subterranean Press. This is Joe at his creepy best!
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