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Vanilla Ride: A Hap and Leonard Novel    by Joe R. Lansdale Amazon.com order for
Vanilla Ride
by Joe R. Lansdale
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Hal White and Leonard Collins are as different as could be Hal is white and heterosexual while Leonard is black and happily gay But they share something that most siblings lack. As close as brothers, they insult each other with impunity, are apt to finish each other's thoughts, guard each other's back without question, and belittle each other's sexual life. But they are tight and would lay down their lives for each other. Hopefully, that need won't arise.

However ... their friend Martin Hanson shows up at Hap's front door and begs a helping hand. His granddaughter has run off with a questionable character, as well as a big bunch of money. Drug dealers want that money back and Hap and Leonard embark on a mission to recover the money and the girl. The guy is on his own. Vanilla Ride becomes part of the story and is that person ever one to avoid.

Vanilla Ride is a great read once you get past the language. And that becomes ho-hum after a few pages. It's a good book with well-fleshed out characters. I'd like to meet a real-life Hap and Leonard some day. They have their own set of codes and rules and live by them unhesitatingly, believing others are off-base more than they are.

You want action? Action abounds around almost every corner and if there's not action, there is suspense to keep you turning the pages of this highly readable, raunchy and downright belly-laugh funny novel.

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