72. The Two-Bear Mambo – Joe R. Lansdale
Florida is missing and Hap and Leonard have to go deep into racist-ville to figure out what the hell happened to her. Dealing with super racist southern towns (even in Texas, which is, of course, its own very special place) seems quite apropos in the current decade… It’s weird to know that racism still affects so much of how the country is run. It’s damn depressing and I don’t even know the half of it. Lansdale always deals with “the way things are” in these areas with frankness and I’ve always appreciated Leonard’s take on things I never had reason to contemplate within the corners of the world I’ve occupied.
I can easily agree with the other characters that the way Leonard destroys the crack house in this one is definitely “the best one yet” though- that’s for sure. A shiny spectacle for Christmas if ever there was one involving a crack house. Plus there’s a seriously dark and rotten scene dealing with an exhumation and a full on flood in here. This very dark entry in the Hap and Leonard series is dealt with in the third season of the Sundance network show and I’m definitely a fan. The first episode of this season gave me the impression that they’re definitely playing up some of the caustic humor and that’s important when everything gets as dire as it does in this book, but they still don’t stay away from that Leonard Pine-frankness (or the Christmas ants, even though I’m undermining my own point there) that makes it not a dodge or minimized. It may be material from the 1990s, but it’s always going to be timely as long as the bullshit that is the KKK keeps being an existing thing instead of just a terribly stupid and horrific part of history.
This season was just amazing even if I didn’t especially like the ending’s changes from the book. This show definitely hits the spot that Justified left open for crime and cleverness, and I sincerely hope they continue to have seasons. All the seasons.