Review: “The Elephant of Surprise”

Sit down and hang onto your goddamn hat.

Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Elephant of Surprise” is a Hap and Leonard novel that brings the unlikely pairing of a white-as-white ex-con and his blacker-than-black gay best friend as private investigators facing off against a crew of Texas gangster trash hellbent on revenge.

Rural noir set deep in the left lung of East Texas. Hap (who’s handy with a gun) and Leonard (who can hold his own) are just trying to make it home in one piece through a deluge and raging storm of biblical proportions when a half-naked Asian woman stumbles across the flooded road, bleeding badly on account of her tongue being cut out. And pursued by bad men armed to the teeth.

Bullets are soon tearing, ripping, scraping and splatting heads open. Things go from bad to really bad to impossibly bad as the rain slices the night like cold razor blades.

It’s a thrilling, dark and hysterical page-turner.

Packed full of twists and turns and one-liners.

And the mother of all surprises.

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