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Leather Maiden    by Joe R. Lansdale order for
Leather Maiden
by Joe R. Lansdale
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

If you're squeamish, hate coarse language and are uncomfortable around those who aren't quite what they seem, this is still the book for you. I am all of the above and loved Joe R. Lansdale's latest novel, Leather Maiden, in spite of it.

Cason Statler returns home to Camp Rapture, Texas, from Iraq to gain control of his life. Obtaining employment as a columnist for the local newspaper, he sets about putting his ducks in a row. Doesn't work. The girlfriend he thought he had when he deployed discovered she didn't love him; just loved being in love. With that hurdle to get over, he starts dating a fellow co-worker (Belinda) at the same time as he investigates the disappearance of a local college girl.

Cason discovers that another girl has disappeared and that some college kids know something his brother Jimmy wishes no one would ever know. The plot thickens. Could all of this be connected?

While all this is happening, the reader is treated to language and behavior that would normally have offended and caused the book to be hurled across the room. But, believe me, it works. And works well. We are exposed to some characters we are sure we have never met in real life and are glad we never have. But we feel safe reading about them. Booger is one. Casen's friend from Iraq has only three friends of his own Casen, Runt and a gun that he carries everywhere. Crude beyond belief, he proves to be a true friend to Casen.

The plot of Leather Maiden is intricate and its leaves fall one upon the other to create a thriller you won't soon forget. The bonanza ending is especially well worth the read.

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