BAD CHILI by Joe R. Lansdale
Kirkus Star


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Think your love life is complicated? Leonard Pine, fired from his job as the Hot Cat Club's bouncer (don't ask why), is mopey because his boyfriend Raul has taken a shine to biker Horse McNee. After threatening and cold-cocking the Other Man, Leonard is naturally the number one suspect when Horse is found in his car, run off the road, shotgunned to death by a weapon a lot like Leonard's--though Lt. Charlie Blank has no way of comparing them until he finds out where Leonard's hiding. Leonard's only hope is his old buddy Hap Collins, who's just started his own little romance with Brett Sawyer, the forthright night nurse who offers to give him a shot in the rear while he's in the hospital getting treated for rabies (don't ask why). Raul seems to he the man to find, Hap and Leonard agree during an unauthorized sabbatical that Hap's taking from the hospital--and find him they do, hideously tortured, presumably by the gang of video artists whose line of gay stalk-and-rape tapes is headlined by Kickin' Fairies, which Hap and Leonard have been lucky enough to purchase. Jim Bob Luke, a can-do shamus visiting LaBorde to avenge one of the video victims, is convinced the ringleader is Charles Arthur, the Chili King; Hap isn't so sure. What everybody agrees on, though, is that the gay-bashing auteurs really want that incriminating videotape back, and they don't care what they have to do to get it. Hap's effortless talent as a downscale East Texas raconteur (The Two-Bear Mambo, 1995, etc.) makes him the funniest of Travis McGee's widely dispersed sons, even when he's writing about truly menacing bad guys.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1997
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Mysterious