We have another random review from guest author Sue Rovens. Sue has been a great supporter of Uncomfortably Dark and we greatly appreciate her sharing some of her reviews with us.
Without further ado, let's read her thoughts on THE BOTTOMS by Joe R. Lansdale.
The Bottoms by Joe R. Landsdale
Reviewed by Sue Rovens
The Bottoms, a mystery published in 2000 and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, is many things - a wonderful read, a picturesque story, a book full of realistic characters who are easily imagined, a step back in time that’s as vivid as living it first-hand. What it is not, however, is horror.
With words such as thriller and suspense emblazoned on the front cover, I was led to believe that the story would travel along those lines. I admit I had certain expectations. While it begins with the discovery of a mutilated body (not a spoiler– this information can be found on the back cover), the narrator eventually veers away from anything resembling horror and firmly plants the tale as a reminiscent chronicle of things that happened to their family during the 1930s. It’s a tale that lives on the same street as Of Mice and Men, Paper Moon, To Kill a Mockingbird, and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
This isn’t to say that someone who loves horror wouldn’t enjoy reading this. On the contrary, the writing style and short chapters keep the pages turning. Any reader worth their salt would be very curious to find out what happens to the people of the town and learn exactly who was committing these (murders) atrocities. I wouldn’t say it’s a wild ride or an edge-of-the-seat nail-biter, but the story is amazingly well-crafted and paints image after perfect image, so much so that I was drawn back to the book day after day. (I’m a slow reader)
I was born long after the 1930s, but as I read, it wasn’t difficult to imagine a slice of everyday life during this decade. With Mr. Landsdale’s talents as a writer and architect of storytelling, it’s no wonder that he’s racked up award after award.
While the main story focuses on a handful of murders, there are numerous societal and moral concepts that are dealt with head on such as race relations, stereotypes, alcoholism, poverty, and death. Hopefully, readers will be able to come to terms with such issues and see the book for what it is – the telling of a story that takes place in the 1930s (and not 2024). The language, actions, and expectations of and for certain groups of people weren’t necessarily questioned and confronted at that time as they would be today – but that is our history and that is the world in which Mr. Landsdale wrote The Bottoms.
I would strongly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the four previously mentioned books/movies, historical fiction, mysteries, and period pieces.
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