Sugar on the Bones (Lone Star Book Blog Tour)


By Joe R. Lansdale

Private Investigator Mystery / Noir Crime / Hard-Boiled Mystery / Lawyers and Criminals Humor
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Pages: 317
Publication Date: July 16, 2024


In this holy mess of a case for the "perpetual bad boy" (New York Times) sleuths in the beloved Hap and Leonard series, PI Duo Hap and Leonard investigate the untimely death of a woman whose family stood much to gain from her passing.

Minnie Polson is dead. Burned to a crisp in a fire so big and bad it had to be deliberate. The only thing worse is that Hap and Leonard could have prevented it. Maybe. Minnie had a feeling she was being targeted, shaken down by some shadowy force. However, when she’d solicited Hap & Leonard, all it took was one off color joke to turn her sour and she’d called them off the investigation. Wracked with a guilty conscience, the two PIs—along with Hap’s fleet-footed wife, Brett—tuck in to the case. As they look closer, they dredge up troublesome facts: for one, Minnie’s daughter, Alice, has recently vanished. She’d been hard up after her pet grooming business went under and was in line to collect a whopping insurance sum should anything happen to her mother. The same was due to Minnie’s estranged husband, Al, whose kryptonite (beautiful, money-grubbing women) had left him with only a run-down mobile home. But did Minnie’s foolish, cash-strapped family really have it in them to commit a crime this grisly? Or is there a larger, far more sinister scheme at work?



Joe R. Lansdale is the author of nearly four dozen novels, including Rusty Puppy, the Edgar-award winning The Bottoms, Sunset and Sawdust, and Leather Maiden. He has received nine Bram Stoker Awards, the American Mystery Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas.



Sugar on the Bones follows Hap & Leonard as they uncover the mysteries behind a woman's death. This is the second book I've read by Joe R. Lansdale, but the first I've read in this series. It is the thirteenth book in the series. It's possible to read it alone, but I definitely think it would work better for readers who have been reading it and are already familiar with Hap and Leonard's adventures and dynamic. 

As with other books by Lansdale, this is a book for adults. It has adult themes, language, and violence that are consistent with the author's works. That being said, this book won't be for everyone. I enjoy a variety of mystery styles in my reading, and this one could best be described as gritty. This isn't for my cozy mystery readers or casual detective fiction readers. This one is for the readers who want to see some of the dark side and are okay with that. It also dabbles in a fair amount of potty humor, which I'm generally unfazed by - if you aren't into it, that aspect might get on your nerves or put a damper on some enjoyment. 

For fans of Joe R. Lansdale, this is another fun read. It's gritty and grim, but it certainly has its laughs and humorous beats. After reading this book, I am curious about the duo's earlier adventures and I'd kind of like to see how they reached this point in their careers and partnership. I would be open to diving back into the series to start at the beginning. 

I liked the pacing, I was intrigued by the characters, and I've had experience with Lansdale's writing before, so I wasn't too shocked or surprised by his style. For readers who are curious about this book and the author, but don't want to jump into a lengthy series, I highly recommend trying out Things Get Ugly: The Best Crime Fiction of Joe R. Lansdale first to get a really good sample, which I previously reviewed. If you want a grisly crime with a solid pace, and don't mind a dash of potty humor, I recommend Sugar on the Bones and give it a Lone Star rating of ✯✯✯✯ for its unexpected balance of humor and grotesque core.


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