Acclaimed author Joe Lansdale's landmark tale of love and vengeance at the dark dawn of the East Texas oil boom.
Jack Parker knows all too well how treacherous life can be. His parents did not survive a smallpox epidemic. His grandfather was murdered. Now his sister Lula has been kidnapped by a bank robber.
Alongside bounty hunter Shorty, an eloquent dwarf with a chip on his shoulder, and Eustace, the grave-digging son of an ex-slave, Jack sets off to rescue Lula.
In turn-of-the-century Texas, that quest is likely to turn dangerous. Murderous outlaws find their homes in the remote wilderness. Oil wells spurt liquid money from the ground. And blood and redemption still rule supreme.
Set in early 20th-century East Texas, this satisfying novel from Edgar-winner Lansdale (Edge of Dark Water) takes 16-year-old Jack Parker to darker places than he ever imagined. After Jack's parents die of smallpox, his preacher grandfather determines to deliver Jack and his 14-year-old sister, Lula, to an aunt who lives across the Sabine River. While waiting for a ferry, they're attacked by a band of men, who kill the grandfather, nearly kill Jack, and kidnap Lula. Having lost most of his family, Jack doesn't intend to lose her and sets out after them. Soon he encounters an undersized bounty hunter, Shorty, and Eustace Cox, the grave-digging son of an ex-slave, who agree to help him rescue his sister for a price. As the body count rises, the narrative grows steadily more grim (if, at times, hilarious). Lansdale's humor and skill at characterization come across well, though at moments the reader wishes for just a little more background detail.