Act of Love by Joe R. Lansdale

By Joe R. Lansdale

Telling the tautly plotted tale of a contemporary Jack the Ripper's spree in Houston, Lansdale creates a strong blend of crime, police paintings, and social commentary--all with an eye fixed for photo aspect. Act of affection, his first novel, is a collector's merchandise for Lansdale's previous enthusiasts and crucial interpreting for his new ones.

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Twisted, disbelieving, the eyes losing their fire, falling away into the distance of her dead mind. The dead eyes had been fascinating! When he had finished, he had simply removed the raincoat, folded it inside-out over the bayonet and his little prize, and left the body to the night. Delicious. It had been delicious, and best of all, the smell of death was still with him. MONDAY . . m. High on wine and ready to piss, looking for the darkness of a back alley to let it go, the black wino known only as Smokey found the first hacked body, and upon seeing it through wine-filmed eyes in the half-light of a bug-swarmed streetlamp, lost not only the wine in his stomach, but the remains of a sardine and cracker meal as well.

One caught his eye: Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing. He hadn't read that one in years. When he had the farming bug the book had attracted him. They had a lot to say about homesteading, its joys and benefits. They were a bit eccentric, but there was good material there, a lot to be said for their simple existence. That reminded Hanson of his granddaddy's farm. Weedy, lifeless, weathered. He took Living the Good Life down and opened it to the fly page. " Hanson turned to look at his daughter, JoAnna.

As a child he had owned one prize possession: A library card. It was hell for him to get to the library, but when he made it he always checked out his limit. In the summers he practically lived there behind one of those long, wooden tables; a world tucked firmly between his fingers; a world made up of paper, ink and imagination. His brother Evan couldn't even read and write his name. He had become a boxer. He wasn't very successful at his trade. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't great either, just second- rate.

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