Edge of Dark Water

Joe R. Lansdale. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-18843-2
Edgar-winner Lansdale (Devil Red) channels Mark Twain in this chillingly atmospheric stand-alone set in Depression-era East Texas. When 16-year-old Sue Ellen Wilson finds the body of her friend May Lynn Baxter in the Sabine River, weighed down by a sewing machine, she’s appalled that May Lynn’s father, “a known hot-head and knife fighter,” and uncle would rather ignore the crime than report it. Sue Ellen and her two best friends, Terry Thomas, whom everyone thinks is a sissy, and Jinx Smith, a feisty “colored” girl, soon hatch an elaborate plan: burn May Lynn’s body and take her ashes to California, since May Lynn dreamed of Hollywood. When the trio discover money squirreled away by May Lynn’s dead bank robber brother, they decide to take it with them on a raft down the Sabine en route to California. Soon they must contend with more than just the current. Lansdale’s perfect ear for regional dialogue and ability to create palpable suspense lift this above the pack. Agent: Danny Baror, Baror International. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 03/01/2012
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