Landsdale has been a bit of a legend in East Texas for more than a decade as the local boy who done good. I’ve always intended to pick up and read one of his novels and thanks to the Senator and KMK’s kind Christmas gift, I was able to read through The Bottoms over two beautiful, relaxing, sunny days in The Heights just before Christmas of 2012.
In The Bottoms, Landsdale has written a murder mystery with a little horror and a lot of southern gothic homage. A black woman is found murdered. The local constable, our hero’s father, begins an investigation. Since this is East Texas in the early 19th century, no one in the white community is particularly bothered by the slaying.
A few more bodies appear, and the small, segregated East Texas towns begin to respond with fear, lynchings, etc. Ultimately, the identity of the killer is predictable, as is the not-very-surprising third act twist, but the novel is still a satisfying little bit of Thomas Harris meets Harper Lee. The writing is decent overall, though the use of truly corn-pone dialect throughout is a bit much on occasion.