Edge of Dark Water Paperback – 14 Feb 2013
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The pace never slackens, the writing is elegance personified, and the story tugs at the heartstrings (Daily Mail)
Joe Lansdale is one of the dark kings of modern mystery fiction, a master of the genre. His name deserves to be whispered with the greats. (John Connolly)
Lansdale has the delight in language of the best raconteur; he also delivers some wince-inducing violence and can crank up the tension to screaming point. (Metro)
A terrific and memorable novel that sticks in the mind long after it is finished (Canberra Times)
A charming Gothic tale...an adventure as funny and frightening as anything that could have been dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm - or Mark Twain (New York Times Book Review)
EDGE OF DARK WATER describes a trip downriver that is one-half Huck Finn, one-half Deliverance, and entirely Joe Lansdale. (Joe Hill)
The strongest, truest, and most pitch-perfect narration since Huck Finn's. Marvelous and terrifying, EDGE OF DARK WATER is the result of real genius at work. A masterpiece. (Dan Simmons)
Alternately scary, funny as hell, disturbing, but always (and most importantly) memorable. (Bruce Campbell)
Joe Lansdale has long been one of our finest and most difficult to classify writers... In EDGE OF DARK WATER he offers a beautifully spun tale of life in the sticks, friendship and mortality, and tells it with the wit, humor and pure-deep power we've come to expect of him. (Daniel Woodrell)
Dark and comic, bleak and terrifying, romantic and endearing...This, I kid you not, is the Great American Novel of the year. (CrimeTime)
Mark Twain crossed with crime fiction - a Depression-era noir by fan favourite Joe Lansdale.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Three teenage dirt poor kids wish to fulfil the dreams of their murdered friend the local beauty and take her ashes to Hollywood where she had dreamed and longed to go.
First they have to exhume her body, burn it to ash and travel from East Texas to California. An unlikely trio of a young sassy black girl an intelligent and strong willed abused white girl and the local good looking young man suspected of being and humiliated for being gay. There is also a pot of money they have acquired.
There are many problems and characters some good , but mostly bad along the way. The worst of all is tongueless , recluse tracker, Skunk engaged to bring them , but more importantly the money back. One of the most fearful , stinking characters I have read in a long time. A sadist who likes to torture and remove his victims appendages which he wears as a garland round his neck.
The climax involves the three youngsters final confrontation with Skunk and a final shocking revelation.
I read it over two nights as I found it difficult to put it down. A truly great read.
Set in rural East Texas in barely post-depression years, this is the story of 3 teenagers, and the mother of one of them, living in a society of poor whites, and blacks, who are soon caught up in an often horrific adventure following the apparent murder of one of their friends. Sue Ellen, Terry and Jinx may be poor and at the mercy of abusive fathers and relatives, but they are not downtrodden. Sue Ellen's mother, Helen, is downtrodden and dependent on the 'cure-all' (a mixture of alcohol and laudanum) to separate her from the misery of her life with Don. Jinx is black and though her family life is better than the whites she is seen, casually, as inferior, even by her friends.
It is discovered that the dead girl, May Lynn, had a secret stash of money, buried by her brother who robbed a bank shortly before dying of natural causes, and it had always been her ambition to go to Hollywood and become a film star. The friends decide to get away, and to take her ashes and the money and go to Hollywood themselves. They are chased by various unpleasant relatives and a corrupt lawman and find themselves on a helter-skelter ride down the Sabine River on a raft, with Helen, who fights her way clear of the cure-all, and for a time with the Reverend Jack Joy, a preacher with bad secrets of his own. Tailing all of them is the Skunk, a backwoods killer who is a legend in his cruelty and has never been known to give up.
There are storms, a raftwreck, killing, heroism, and many secrets coming to light along the way. The whole thing is edge of the seat stuff, but the characters shine through, developing as they go.
Great tale, great author.
Whilst out fishing the river Sabine one day, along with her scum-bag father and uncle Gene, teenager Sue Ellen, reels in her dead friend May Lynn.
Who it appears has died from a severe case of drowning, having gone swimming whilst hog-tied to a Singer sewing machine.
Reluctantly her father calls the law, and May Lynn receives a paupers burial..
But dissatisfied with the lack of concern and outcome for her dead pal, Sue Ellen and her friends (Terry a well educated effeminate young man, and Jinx a rather uncouth, straight talking black girl), decide to give her a proper send off in the style she might have wanted (May Lynn was an extremely pretty young lady who had ideas of starring on the silver screen!), by digging up her corpse and incinerating it, so that they might transport her ashes to the Elysian Fields of Hollywood.
Unfortunately though, as well as containing her dreams of super stardom, May Lynn's diary also harbours the secrets of some buried bank heist money, which the trio locate and dig up... and then decide to keep as a way of funding their trip to California, whilst quickly realising that they're not the only ones with their eye on the prize, and that several bad men are prepared to kill in order to get their hands on the score....
I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am still to find a book I don't like by Lansdale.
This reads a little like Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird', crossed with Mark Twain, and oddly enough John Carpenter's 'Halloween'.Read more ›
Lansdale is a lyrical writer and he vividly evokes his East Texas setting and the grotesques who inhabit it. The horror is always lurking in the background making this a scary read which nevertheless has real depth. I've always enjoyed Lansdale's short stories (some of which are available free for Kindles) but "Edge of Dark Water" is the first novel of his I've read: I am now eager to explore his world further.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great great book. Really enjoyed this one, right up there with The Thicket. Cold in July to read next .Published 21 months ago by cupcake
One of my favourite writers, who deals with taboo subjects exquisitely without trivialising them. I hadn't read his books for a few years but was rewarded with an exciting and a... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mrs. C. E. Etchells
Review of Edge of Dark Water by Joe Lansdale
I think there must be close to 1000 reviews and blurbs already for this book, which just published on Feb. 12. Read more
This book is a sparkling and understated work of genius. This is the first Joe R Lansdale novel I've read but it assuredly won't be the last. Read morePublished on 1 Jan. 2013 by Rachel
I am a huge fan of Joe R Lansdale. Both of his Hap and Leonard series Mucho Mojo Savage Season: A Hap and Leonard Novel (1) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)Devil Red (Hap Collins and... Read morePublished on 15 Oct. 2012 by The Steel Remains
When May Lynn, the prettiest girl in the county, is found dead in the Sabine River with a sewing machine tied around her ankles, her three closest friends -- maybe her only friends... Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2012 by ratscat13
A harrowing tale of poor, post-Depression American life. The story is a tremendous, and sad, tale of a murdered girl who's ashes are taken to Hollywood by her friends. Read morePublished on 29 Jun. 2012 by Coincidence Vs Fate
Yet another poorly chosen book by myself... I couldn't get beyond the first chapter of this book. The language / writing style of the book just didn't really appeal to me. Read morePublished on 24 Jun. 2012 by E. Chittenden