Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
The second novel in the Hap Collins/Leonard Pine series by Joe R. Lansdale is Mucho Mojo. The title basically translates into bad magic or evil, while the story itself deals with the actual evil that human beings are capable of perpetrating.
The novel begins when Leonard’s Uncle Chester passes away and leaves his house and a hundred thousand dollars to his nephew. Leonard decides to stay in his uncle’s house in order to fix it up and talks Hap into moving in with him to help with the repairs. Everything is running smoothly until they rip up some old floorboards and discover a trunk beneath the house that has the bones of a murdered child in it, along with magazines of kiddy porn.
At first they think that Uncle Chester was the culprit who killed the child, but as they probe deeper into the mystery it soon becomes apparent that LaBorde, Texas has a serial killer living within its midst…a person who’s still alive and has been killing children for the last nine years. If that isn’t enough, next door to Leonard’s new home is a crack house, occupied by drug dealers who don’t particularly like their new neighbors, but do like selling drugs to kids.
This has all of the makings of a keg of black powder ready to explode; and, when it does, you definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of Hap and Leonard’s anger! Needless to say, the East Texas duo will have their hands full as they do battle on two different fronts, taking names, kicking butt, and driving stakes into the hearts of the human monsters that are killing LaBorde’s children.
Mucho Mojo delivers the same powerful kick of outright fun and fabulous entertainment as the other books in this utterly addictive series, but there’s much more to this novel than meets the eye. Hap and Leonard have dealt with bad people and bad situations throughout most of their lives. This time around, however, they get a taste of what pure evil is like and have to question their own belief system about life, God, and the nature of being human. Neither one of them will come away untouched by what they encounter, knowing deep within themselves that sometimes people become evil by the circumstances of their lives, while others are simply born that way. Whatever the reasons, these are dangerous predators that have to be taken out the hard way, even if it means becoming judge, jury, and executioner.
Mr. Lansdale’s writing is as smooth as melted butter being poured over hot popcorn, his skill at creating believable dialogue is matched only by Elmore Leonard and Stephen King, and his unique ability to weave a suspenseful story line with characters that live and breathe the East Texas air is simply unmatched. Pick up any of the Hap Collins/Leonard Pine novels, and you’ll quickly find yourself hooked on the writings of this remarkable author. This is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for readers searching for that special kind of writer who, not only entertains us, but also causes us to think and question our own day-to-day living.