This is one of the best and most diverse story collections I've ever read. Period.
I've heard all kinds of great things about Lansdale's work and I had read a few of his short stories and enjoyed them quite a bit. But then I got caught up in this reading slump that I couldn't shake and I had this collection on hand. I picked it up, and WHABAM, I'm a Lansdale convert. More than that...I'm a Lansdale proselytizer!
These stories vary widely, there's some flat out humor, brilliantly combined with horror, as in Bubba Ho-Tep. This is a wild story about a guy in a nursing home who thinks he's Elvis along with a black man who thinks he's JFK and their attempt to stifle a soul sucking mummy. Hilarious, poignant and a bit scary all at once. That has to be hard to pull off.
The Big Blow which takes place in 1900 is about a boxing match during a hurricane. It doesn't sound like much, but this story was so full of detail and richness that I felt as if I were there.
The Events Concerning a Nude Fold-Out Found in a Harlequin Romance was flat out funny. What a great story that went nowhere near where I thought it was going to go.
White Mule, Spotted Pig is about some mule races. And a guy that fucked a goat. "Okay", Leroy said. "Okay, I fucked a goddamn goat. What of it?"
Cowboy A short, sweet tale of a black boy that wants to be a cowboy.
Fish Night I believe this is my favorite story of the collection. It's whimsical and fun, but those things hide the teeth hidden within.
A few more things-this book will not be for everyone. It is NOT politically correct in any way whatsoever. A lot of these tales took place during times in this country where racism was rampant, and the language and actions vividly depict that history. There are also nuns dressed like hookers. There is the previously mentioned goat fucking. There is death and destruction and the n word. Lots of n words, really. This book is definitely not for the easily offended or for those of delicate sensibilities.
I think this book is for lovers of American history, but also lovers of stories. That's it. If you love stories of a wide and diverse nature, this might be the book for you. If you're not offended by the snippets I've posted above, I think you should give this collection a shot. You can hit me with it, if you don't like it, but I think you will.
My highest recommendation!