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Bleeding Shadows

Bleeding Shadows - Joe R. Lansdale

Bleeding Shadows is a collection of short stories by Joe R. Lansdale. Don't tell anyone but I skipped most of the poems and a couple of the stories I couldn't get into or had read before.

Torn Away: A small town sheriff brings a suspicious man in for questioning and gets a lot more than he bargained for...

Right out of the gate, Lansdale reminds me just how good he is at writing short stories. This one feels like an episode of the Twilight Zone or something. Short and sweet if you like the idea of a man on the run from supernatural forces.

Bleeding Shadows: A PI is hired to find a hooker's missing brother, who is a blues man playing sounds that no human should hear...

I read this one in a Lovecraft anthology once. It's still creepy as hell the second time through.

A Visit With Friends: In a world gripped by a zombie outbreak, a married couple chats about another couple down the street.

This tale is one of suburban creepiness and sexual deviancy. It's pretty crazy.

Christmas Monkeys: This one is a poem about monkeys attacking on Christmas.

Christmas with the Dead: In a world gripped by a zombie outbreak, a man reminisces as he prepares for Christmas.

This one is gory, violent and somewhat sad.

Quarry: A writer acquires a Zuni fetish doll. Carnage ensues when the doll comes to life and goes on a rampage.

This is a sequel to the Richard Matheson story Prey and quite good.

Six-Fingered Jack: The Big O has put a bounty on Six-Fingered Jack and one man means to collect.

This is a noir tale about murder and betrayal. Good stuff.

Mr. Bear: Jim gets stuck sitting next to Smokey the Bear on a plane. From there, things only get worse, with drinking, drugs, dead hookers, and all sorts of other foulness.

Hilarious, dark, and awesome.

Old Man in the Motorized Chair: A cantankerous old retired detective is watching a TV show about snakes when the sheriff arrives, asking for help on a case. Stubby will help but only during commercials...

Love. Imagine Sherlock Holmes living in West Texas and even more insufferable.

Soldierin':
A couple black men head west to join the colored people's army. Inappropriate hilarity ensues.

I could see this story offending the shit out of some people. Still hilarious though.

Hide and Horns: A buffalo soldier encounters a black man with one leg pinned under a dead horse and the white men on his trail. Inappropriate hilarity ensues.

See above, adding Chinese stereotypes to the mix.

The Stars are Falling: A man returns home from the War and finds things have changed.

The Metal Men of Mars: John Carter leaves Helium in search of adventure and encounters a gold dragon. This story was from a John Carter anthology and pretty good. It was even written in a style mimicking ERB's, although easier to read.

Morning, Noon, and Night: A boy meets Lansdale's version of a vampire in the woods. It was pretty good and I'd read a full length Lansdale vampire tale.

Santa at the Cafe: A department store Santa is in a cafe when a robbery happens. This short story had more twists than most novels.

Starlight, Eyes Bright: A man goes for a walk after dinner and finds a glass-like rock from space lying on the sidewalk. It reminds me of a collaboration between Ray Bradbury and HPL and is pretty damn good.

Dread Island: This was the story I actually bought the collection to read. Huckleberry Finn and Jim raft to a sinister island in the Mississippi. Mark Twain + Joe Lansdale = a river of awesome strangeness. How many other stories feature Brer Rabbit and the Necronomicon?

Story Notes: I always find Lansdale's story notes to be nearly as entertaining as the stories themselves.

This wasn't my favorite Lansdale collection but I liked it quite a bit. Most of the stories weren't ones I'd read before and the kindle version was a good deal. 4 out of five stars.