By Joe R. Lansdale
Telling the tautly plotted tale of a contemporary Jack the Ripper's spree in Houston, Lansdale creates a robust mix of crime, police paintings, and social commentary--all with an eye fixed for image aspect. Act of affection, his first novel, is a collector's merchandise for Lansdale's previous lovers and crucial studying for his new ones.
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You don't look good for it. " Smokey interrupted. Hanson shook his head. "I was assigned to this case, instant like. A phone call and Higgins says the Captain wants me on this one. So I'm on it. That's all I know. Higgins said it was messy. Okay, Smokey? All your questions answered? I'm supposed to ask the questions here. " Smokey nodded. Hanson took a bulky King Edward from his coat pocket, fired the cigar with a paper match and sucked smoke, blew it out his nostrils lazily. " Hanson paused and made a production of puffing his cigar.
At first he thought (wanted to think) he was seeing a mannequin surrounded by garbage. Garbage was a common sight and smell in Smokey's world, and for that matter, so was blood and sudden death. He had narrowly escaped Old Man Death a few times himself. But this was something much worse than a Saturday night knifing or bottle beating. This was mutilation for the sheer joy of it— sickness, not frustration or anger. For the mannequin was no mannequin at all, but what was left of a local poke and hop head, Bella Louise.
Yeah. But this one was different. Pressure is getting to me, I guess. It'll pass. " "Yeah. Maybe it's just an accumulation of years and bodies. " "Honey, it's nothing ... " "If it's bothering you let me hear it. " Hanson put his arm around her waist, pulled her off the chair arm and into his lap. He ran his fingers through her hair, wondering as he often did, what a beautiful woman like Rachel saw in a gorilla like him. He took the book from her hand and dropped it on the carpet. " Smiling she did, but briefly.
Act of Love by Joe R. Lansdale