Joe R. Lansdale
Knopf, Aug 2008, $23.95
Reporter Cason Statler has been nominated for a Pulitzer; so when he comes home to Camp Rapture, Texas to work for the local newspaper the Camp Rapture Report even he knows how far back he has fallen. The scandal he caused in Houston over boning his boss’ late forties wife and thirty something daughter ended the Gulf War journalist’s career. Mrs. Margot Timpson editor of the Report gives him a chance to redeem himself though she is unhappy that his best friend seems to be Jim Beam.
He decides to investigate the disappearance of twenty-three years old history major Caroline Allison who vanished six months ago while on a late night food run; her car was found near the creepy Siegel place. As he makes inquiries Cason sees a connection with some more recent odd unsolved felonies that even bring his successful older brother the history professor who knew Caroline as a possible suspect in the student’s disappearance.
Few if any writers bring alive the essence of East Texas as well as Joe R, Lansdale consistently does through his usual endearing eccentric cast. His latest investigative tale stars a reporter who has fallen into disgrace rather quickly and remains in the doo-doo pond even as he struggles to right himself. With a strong support cast especially at the Report, plenty of weirdo humor and pulling no punches from the moment Cason explains his disgrace to Mrs. Timpson until the climax with Belinda the reporter at his side, fans will enjoy Mr. Lansdale’s latest East Texas mystery.