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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book, 7 Oct 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Thicket (Kindle Edition)
I love a crime mystery that tries to do something a little different and whilst this book is set last century it has all the wonderful delight of bringing an old west to the modern reader as the principle protagonist brings together perhaps the strangest posse to help rescue his captured sister.

Its definitely quirky, has hints of Louis L'Amour and to be honest was definitely something that I had a lot of fun reading. I loved the principle character and the interactions between the supporting cast, add to this an author who clearly has a love of the old west as he weaves magical story bringing the best as well as the worst to the fore. Add to this great pose and pace, some wonderful turns of phrase as well as a colourful use of dialogue and all round I was more than a happy reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, 17 Nov 2013
By 
Dh Rees - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Thicket (Kindle Edition)
Joe has done it again. This book drips with the sweat of the times. Engaging and engrossing.well crafted and a page turner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, intelligent, violent, moving- Lansdale at his best!, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Thicket (Kindle Edition)
I have read most of Mr. Lansdale's stories and novels and enjoy them all. This novel is one of his best.
A moving "revenge" western peopled with wonderful characters and awash with trademark Lansdale turn of phrase.
An excellent book highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly enjoyable East Texas adventure yarn, 29 Nov 2013
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Thicket (Paperback)
Set just as oil is being discovered in Texas and the first cars are bumping along unpaved roads, The Thicket is an adventure yarn that is a mix of Tom Sawyer, Stand by Me and True Grit, with a solid dose of the comic, dark humour that populates Lansdale's Hap and Leonard books. The strengths of the tale is its voice, characterisation, sense of place and time, and plot. The story is told as a form of a reminiscence through a very engaging narrator's voice that makes it feel as if it's the transcript of porch-told tale. Jack Parker is a wonderful character, just on the cusp of becoming an adult, but still naive and unworldly, though brave and determined. And Lansdale puts in his company a colourful band of bounty hunters, who are ranged against an equally colourful band of dispicable villians. The plot is a boys own adventure with a large dose of spice and grit, that is perfectly paced with the right balance of action and reflection, and the reader is placed into the landscape of East Texas in the early twentieth century and its social relations and rhythms. Overall, Lansdale is on fine form and The Thicket is a thoroughly enjoyable escapist yarn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lansdale is the king of story telling, 4 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Thicket (Kindle Edition)
I've usually eaten through Lansdale books like they're candy laced poppers but I've taken my time with this one and it's a solid piece of brilliance. Packed full of funny and interesting characters, it's heart warming, it's grim, it's exciting and most of all it's funny as hell. Lansdale never does obvious, all of his books have strange and varied elements that make reading them a surprise. I've never read any other author who is able to take such a 'left of field' approach to their work and make them believable and honest, the banter between the characters is golden. Another example of Lansdale's unique gift for writing is being able to make a pig (Hog as he's called) have a life and character all of his own and be a major piece of the story pie, it's a skill in its own right. The themes that are tackled are subtly done and are part of the characters and story. As always this has left a mark and a hunger for his next creation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As thicket as thieves, 26 Jan 2014
By 
Arch Stanton (Cornwall, England.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thicket (Paperback)
Jack Parker's folks die of the pox, and along with his 14yr old sister, both of them are soon being chaperoned by their grandfather up to an aunties they've never met. That is until their journey is interrupted by three nasty outlaws, who murder Jack's grandfather and kidnap his sister..
So in an effort to rescue his little sister, Jack high~tails it to the nearest town in order to get some form of posse together. Which is where he meets two bounty hunters, one a big bloke with a four gauge and a vicious pet pig, the other a sharp~shooting midget with an often ornery attitude, who offer to help catch the bad men at a price.
And when it appears that Jack's sister has been taken into the titular 'Thicket', an infamous den of thieves, rapists and vagabonds, the price of her rescue may just have gotten a little higher for everyone...

A highly entertaining western written by Joe R Lansdale. Complete with his usual brand of colourful characters, imaginative plot twists, humorous dialogue and violence. And as is often the case for this author's work, there are also themes featuring a little moral food for thought, a coming of age vibe and also as we (his readers) have come to expect, high adventure, woven together in a fine storytelling style..

************************************************************************SPOILER******************************************************************************

With the story's downsides being, that even at 240 pages, I nailed this in only a couple of sittings, and it easily could have spent another 100 pages plus in the Thicket, having our heroes coming up against all manner of murderous ner~do~wells.
And I also didn't like the fact that at the end of the book, Lansdale wraps everything up in a sort of epilogue chapter, which was kind of disappointing, as I was hoping he might write at least a couple more novels featuring the same characters...

*****************************************************************************OVER******************************************************************************

None the less, the book is highly recommended, for both Lansdale (think Hap & Leonard in the west) and western fans alike.
4.5/5
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Texan tale!, 26 Sep 2013
By 
col2910 (Bedfordshire,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thicket (Paperback)
Synopsis/blurb............

Jack Parker thought he'd already seen his fair share of tragedy. His grandmother was killed in a farm accident when he was barely five years old. His parents have just succumbed to the smallpox epidemic sweeping turn-of-the-century East Texas--orphaning him and his younger sister, Lula.

Then catastrophe strikes on the way to their uncle's farm, when a travelling group of bank-robbing bandits murder Jack's grandfather and kidnap his sister. With no elders left for miles, Jack must grow up fast and enlist a band of heroes the likes of which has never been seen if his sister stands any chance at survival. But the best he can come up with is a charismatic, bounty-hunting dwarf named Shorty, a grave-digging son of an ex-slave named Eustace, and a street-smart woman-for-hire named Jimmie Sue who's come into some very intimate knowledge about the bandits (and a few members of Jack's extended family to boot).

In the throes of being civilized, East Texas is still a wild, feral place. Oil wells spurt liquid money from the ground. But as Jack's about to find out, blood and redemption rule supreme. In The Thicket, award-winning novelist Joe R. Lansdale lets loose like never before, in a rip-roaring adventure equal parts True Grit and Stand by Me--the perfect introduction to an acclaimed writer whose work has been called "as funny and frightening as anything that could have been dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm--or Mark Twain" (New York Times Book Review).

"This latest work reads like a dark version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and feels like a Coen brothers movie. It's the perfect mix of light and dark, with plenty of humor mixed in." --Houston Chronicle

"The Bard of East Texas is back. . . . He has been writing brilliantly about East Texas for three decades, but never has the region appeared stranger or more violent than it does here. . . . Memorable characters, a vivid sense of place, and an impressive body count make The Thicket another Lansdale treasure." --Booklist (starred)
"Storytelling laced with bravado, good humour, action, and heart . . . As captivating as the best of Larry McMurtry and written in a style reminiscent of Mark Twain. . . This title cannot help but captivate readers." --Library Journal (starred)

"A gently legendary quality makes this tall tale just about perfect." --Kirkus Reviews

"Satisfying . . . Lansdale's humour and skill at characterization comes across well." --Publishers Weekly

Another book I have read through the Net Galley site. I have enjoyed Lansdale before, most notably his Hap and Leonard series which is about 9 books long, though I'm lagging behind with it and will in all probability start at the beginning again whenever I do get around to it.

The Thicket at 240-odd pages long was a quick blast through rural Texas a century ago. Violence, gun-play, casual racism which was the norm for the period, death both by natural and unnatural causes, an abduction, a pursuit, an ex-Circus performing dwarf, a career-changing prostitute, bars, faith and religion, jails, sheriffs, family and friendship all figure in a superb tale of a boy's passage into manhood whilst seeking to save his sister from a ruthless, lawless gang of rapist, bank robbers.

Whilst I enjoyed reading about Texas of 100 years ago, I wouldn't care to have been around there then or have spent much time in the company of Lansdale's outlaws. The Thicket had a great setting with a fantastic story, populated by marvellous characters - both good and bad. Highly recommended.

Time to dust off the earlier Lansdale books I think.

4 from 5

As mentioned earlier I accessed this book through the Net Galley website.
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The Thicket
The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale
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