A raunchy tale of perversion and murder with a distinctly East Texan twist. Chester Pine has just died, leaving his house and property to the care of his gay nephew, Leonard. When Leonard, who's black, and his white friend, Hap Collins, begin repairs on the dilapidated house, they find a box beneath the floorboards containing a rotting baby skeleton sandwiched between pages of Psalms and kiddie-porn magazines. When they look further, they find more skeletons. Local police lieutenant Marvin Hanson suggests that Chester murdered the children. The trail of the exploration leads them to a close friend of the deceased named Ilium Moon, who might be able to give them some insight into the death of the children. They find Moon's corpse at the bottom of a lake. Next on Hap and Leonard's trail lies the local reverend, whose edginess in the face of questioning and probable association with the Psalms sheets make him a likely candidate for villainhood. And so he is: During a village carnival, Hap and Leonard catch him before he can spirit away a busload of toddlers for seemingly innocent purposes. Other plots include Hap's destruction of a crack house and a failed love affair between Hap and Florida Grange, a black lawyer. Although the book drags a bit, it tantalizes with its odd syntax -- characters say such things as ""I'd been younger, I'd did it,"" a reproduction of the fractured grammar native to Lansdale's (Dark at Heart, 1992, etc.) imaginary East Texas town of LaBorde. Also, Chandler-esque oddballs pop up throughout the book, providing refreshing breaks from the darkness of the plot. A hybrid between a thriller and a comedy of manners that is imaginative and chilling.