Monday, February 13, 2012

Edge Of Dark Water-Joe R. Lansdale

Edge Of Dark Water

Joe R. Lansdale

Little, Brown/Mulholland, Mar 25 2012, $25.99

ISBN 9780316188432

In Depression devastated East Texas, sixteen year old Sue Ellen Wilson finds the body of her friend May Lynn Baxter in the Sabine River. A sewing machine was used to hold the corpse under the water. Sue Ellen is stunned by the reaction of May Lynn’s family; as the victim’s normally ill-tempered father and her less hostile but bellicose uncle prefer to pretend nothing happened than report the homicide to law enforcement.

Sue Ellen enlists the help of her two best friends (sissy Terry Thomas and colored Jinx Smith) and her alcoholic mom Helen on an odyssey to pay homage to May Lynn. She plans to dig up the interred corpse and incinerate the body so she can spread May Lynn’s ashes in Hollywood where the deceased dreamed of becoming a star. The trio finds money hidden by May Lynn’s dead bank robbing brother, which they take with them as they raft down the Sabine for California. However, others want that stolen loot and are willing to kill three bratty teenagers and a drunk to obtain it.

This is a great historical regional suspense that grips the audience from the opening moment when Sue Ellen discovers the murdered corpse of her friend and never slows down until the final altercation. With a nod to Huck Finn, fans will enjoy rafting down the Sabine as feisty Sue Ellen guides us over the edge of Dark Water into deadly currents.

Harriet Klausner

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