By Bizarre Hands - Lewis Shiner, Joe R. Lansdale

Wow! What a collection of stories. This was my first Lansdale, but it certainly won’t be my last.


This is grisly stuff. Blood, guts, sex with corpses. It’s all on full display here; Lansdale’s stories come with sharp edges and a dark, maniacal energy. Published in 1989, this book stands with the best horror of that era.


I must admit, however, there are a couple of stories that didn’t work for me — “The Fat Man and the Elephant” and “Fish Night,” mainly. I don’t think these are bad stories, really, I just found my attention wandering a bit while reading them. As for my favorite? Oh, I can’t choose.


This isn’t much of a review, and I apologize for that. Reviewing story collections is a little challenging, for me. Just pick this up if you’re a horror fan and don’t mind your scares to erring on the sacrilegious and violent side. A warning: the “N-word” is used frequently, though Lansdale does make it clear it is despicable people using that sort of language. And if necrophilia ain’t your thing, you might want to avoid this collection — that very topic is featured heavily in two stories.


Horror not for the faint of heart, these tales combine the emotional depth of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King and the unashamed graphic sensuality of Clive Barker and Poppy Z. Brite. I should have read Joe R. Lansdale long ago.


I’ve had a lot of luck lately — this is yet another 5-star read. Let’s hope that streak continues through the end of the month!


Read for ‘80s Horror’ in Halloween Bingo.