With only 100 pages and with 7 of that being a flashback Hap story at the end of the book I was worried that this book could actually give me a true Hap and Leonard fix or if I'd be left with just a tingle and not a climax. The book delivered.
Goodreads informed me this is the 10th Hap and Leonard adventure. This is an expensive way to try the Lansdale series as it was published by the small press Subterranean, and the cheapest version is $25 which is pretty steep for 100 pages. I would hope that at some point in time it will be collected with other novellas in a much more affordable format. If you want to try your own dose of Hap and Leonard I would go back to the beginning with Savage Season.
I don't want to sum up the plot of this short little gem, but thought it might be useful to those of you that haven't been introduced to the duo from Texas to read an interview conducted by Lansdale with his two favorite fictional characters.
Joe R. Lansdale Interviews Hap Collins and Leonard Pine
as published in VEIL'S VISIT
Q. Hap, I'm going to start with you. You strike me as an intelligent guy. Why don't you try and make a little bit more of your life?
Hap: Haven't a clue. I keep thinking I will, but I seem to take wrong turns.
Q. Why not back off from the situations you get yourself into? You deserve a little better, don't you?
Hap: I get into them before I mean to. It's like they're kind of lurking out there. I turn left to avoid them, there's more trouble comin' the other way.
Leonard: And he drags me in after him. Can I say something?
Q. Be my guest.
Leonard: Hap's bright, but doesn't fully believe it. He thinks because he hasn't come up with the formula for something like Coca-Cola, or has done him some brain surgery, or cured a disease, he hasn't lived up to his expectations. Problem with Hap is, he coasts. Ain't sayin' he's lazy. He works hard. When he works. But he hasn't got any rudder.
Q. Now, don't take this wrong, Leonard, but what's your excuse?
Leonard: I don't make any. I'm doing what I want to do. That's the difference between me and my brother here. He isn't entirely happy being him. I'd damn ecstatic about being me. I work hard. I don't worry that much about the future. A little. But nothing serious. Hap, he's nothing but a big ol' bag of worry.
Hap: I thought I was a love machine.
Leonard: You're a love machine can't keep a woman.
Hap: You've had a bit of a problem maintaining relationships yourself, my good man.
Leonard: Yeah. But, you know what. I think I've found a man finally.
Q. That's another thing. Don't the people you guys care about seem to...Well, you know?
Leonard: Yeah, they seem to give us bad luck. We haven't figured that one out yet.
Q. Well, they're the one's get killed.
Leonard: Yeah. We haven't figured that out either.
Q. This one's for you, Leonard. Do you feel that as you get older you're gettin' your temper under control?
Leonard: What temper?
Leonard: Hey, answer the question. I didn't stutter. What temper?
Q. I was merely sayin'...
Leonard: You haven't said anything yet. You asked if I had a temper. I don't have any damn temper.
Hap: Yes you do.
Leonard: Hey, you want a piece of me, brother? You want to wake up with a crowd around you?
Hap: Hey, bubba. You and me get into, you better brought yourself a sack lunch, cause we're gonna be here all night.
Q. Let's change the subject. You guys seem to survive through pure tenacity and a feeling of quarrelsome brotherhood...
Leonard: Quarrelsome. Who you callin'-
Hap: You're right. We do. There's this, Lansdale. You can have all the money there is, every damn thing, and what it comes down to finally, like it or not, you got to have someone to lean on. Leonard and I aren't brothers by birth. But we are brothers. Like our lawyer friend Andrew Vachss says, "It's the family you choose that counts." We stand by that. It can be your blood kin, certainly, but it doesn't have to be. Way we see it, we can argue and fight with each other, but no one else better think they can. Least not in any serious manner.
Q. All right. Let me ask this. What are future plans?
Hap: Hard to say.
Leonard: Charlie Blank and Hanson have some ideas for us. They've got a little Private Investigator's agency, and we may be picking up a few jobs from them. Nothing technical. Just little stuff, you know. Hap here, he'll still be looking for a date. Watching his weight. Sticking to non-alcoholic beer and losing his hair. I'll still be cool and calm in my J. C. Pennys suit.
Hap: You may be calm, but that cheap suit is enough to make anyone else nervous.
Q. I have just a few more questions.
Leonard: Actually, we got to go. We borrowed the truck we're in to get over here, and we promised to have it back. Our junkers are in the shop. Guy needs this one back to go to work.
Hap: And there's a monster movie showing on channel 38 I want to see.
Leonard: Not that he hasn't seen it about a hundred times.
Q. Well, thanks, guys. And be careful out there.
Leonard: Hell, careful's our middle name, man.
I did keep wondering as I read this book how Spencer and Hawk would stand up against Hap and Leonard. It would be hard for me to bet against Hap and Leonard. What they lack in expertise they make up for in dumb luck. Highly recommended to read this with a beer or two or a few fingers of bourbon.