Joe Lansdale, author of several horror novels, Westerns, and some outrageous thrillers, is something of a cult writer. The Bottoms, which may be the breakout book that moves Lansdale beyond the genre category, is a resonant and moving novel. Though there is a mystery at its core, it is at heart a coming-of-age story, with a more literary bent than Lansdale usually demonstrates. Harry, an elderly man, tells the story of a series of events that occurred in his 11th year, when the mutilated, murdered bodies of Negro prostitutes began turning up in the county where his father was the local constable. Harry and Tom, his younger sister, find the first one. Only their father, Jacob Crane, seems to care about finding justice for the victims, who are dismissed out of hand as unimportant by the local branch of the Ku Klux Klan, which warns Jacob off any further investigations. Harry and Tom think they know who's responsible: the Goat Man, a creature who's said to lurk beneath the swinging bridge that crosses the Sabine River, where the first body was found. In fact, the Goat Man has something to do with the murders, and the secret of who he is and what he really did is the key to the unsolved slayings. But that takes second place to the artfully explicated character of Jacob and Harry's changing relationship with him in the course of the loss of his boyish innocence. This is a masterfully told story and a very good read.
I loved this book! This is one of those stories that I didn't want to end. The story is narrated by Harry Collins, who is in a nursing home, reflecting back upon his youth, the years 1933-34, during The Great Depression. He and his family lived in East Texas, where he and his little sister Tom ran wild and played in The Bottoms, an area close to their home, alongside the Sabine River. There was a legendary creature called The Goat Man, that supposedly inhabited The Bottoms and Harry and Tom were always looking for him, hoping to catch a glimpse of this legendary creature. When a series of murders occur, Harry is almost sure it is the work of The Goat Man. What ensues is something that no one in this small town could ever imagine. This is a GREAT read!
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (December 7, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307475263
- ISBN-13: 978-0307475268