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Mucho Mojo    by Joe K. Lansdale order for
Mucho Mojo
by Joe K. Lansdale
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2009 (1994)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Hap and Leonard return in Mucho Mojo by Joe K. Lansdale. When opening the first page, get ready for a read that will keep you on the edge of your seat and turn you into an insomniac, as you find it impossible to put this book down.

Leonard, black and gay, asks Hap to attend his uncle's funeral with him. Hap, white and straight, agrees and they dude themselves up in Wal-Mart clothes. Leonard finds himself heir to his uncle's estate, which includes a ramshackle home next door to a crack house, and a large sum of money. In cleaning out the house, the unlikely duo discover a box containing, among other items, the bones of a young child.

Discovering that young boys have been disappearing in the area over a ten year span, Leonard refuses to believe his uncle is responsible for the pitiful pile of bones under the floor. One clue leads to another and the action heats up. Hap and Leonard are very close and insult each other with impunity, but getting a good laugh from the reader. Their friendship is unusual, not because they are poles apart as far as society is concerned, but because they have a concern for each other that transcends society's expectations. Anyone would cherish such reliance between two people.

The two main characters have real meat on their bones and are people I would like to know. Their actions may be a little all right, a lot shaky and not those of which the police would approve, but they get the job done. The job is to prove that Leonard's uncle was not the killer responsible for that pitiful skeleton found under the floorboards.

Author Joe K. Lansdale has the ability to choose just the right words as well as the right amount of words to convey characters' surroundings and movements. His work is reminiscent of an old Bogart movie. Note that I say only reminiscent. Lansdale has a voice of his own that is most eloquent. No wonder he is an Edgar Award winner and has such praise heaped on him from Newsday and People as well as the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Times Book Review. Well-deserved honor, indeed.

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