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Week Four: In Anticipation of HNR’s Joe R. Lansdale Appreciation Day, ‘Bad Chili’ Review


Written by: Wayne C. Rogers

Bad Chili by Joe R. Lansdale is the fourth novel in the Hap Collins and Leonard Pine series.  It’s also the first Hap/Leonard novel I read.  All it took was one book to hook me.  After Bad Chili, I had to read every other novel in this extremely addictive series.

I remember that I after I read the first four pages in Bad Chili, I found myself laughing so hard that I literally started crying and then got stomach cramps. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to read this unbelievable series.  I must’ve had my head buried in a hole of sand.

What about Bad Chili?

Well, it’s about Hap Collins and Leonard Pine (a couple of schmucks as Leonard would say of himself and his friend) who find themselves getting caught up in the most outrageous and dangerous situations, usually because they’re trying to help someone. Hap is white, in his mid-forties, hates violence, dislikes guns, tries to stay within the law, has a bald spot on the back of his head, and is generally the calmer of the two. Leonard on the other hand is black and homosexual, trained in the martial arts, tougher than any five guys put together, and the first to lose his temper.

When Hap returns home after working on an off shore oil rig for several months, he and Leonard go out into the woods to shoot cans and play catch up on each other’s life. It isn’t long before a big, mean squirrel with rabies comes bouncing out of the woods and chases Hap around the field before finally latching onto his arm. While Hap goes to the hospital, Leonard attempts to find his boyfriend, Raul, who’s left him for another man.

Both Raul and his new lover end up dead, and Leonard is blamed for their murders. This leads Hap and Leonard on a quest to find out who the real killer is, not to mention the person behind a sex/video ring who films homosexuals being beat up by several guys and then sexually abused by them.

Hap will soon encounter one of the most dangerous and biggest men he’s ever met–a slightly deranged ex-wrestler who likes to apply electricity to a person’s genitals before beating them to death with a baseball bat. If Hap thought the squirrel was deadly, waits till he meets Big Man Mountain!

Bad Chili is the most fun I’ve had with a novel in an extremely long time. I immediately loved the characters of Hap and Leonard, feeling as if these were two guys I’d like to know in real life. I couldn’t get enough of the bantering between the two of them. Both men proved to be tough hombres who knew when to cross the line for payback. These are guys you’d want covering your back, or tracking down the killers after you’re dead. They’re like dogs with a bone that won’t let go, no matter what the cost. Hurt them or one of their friends, and they’ll track you down to the ends of the earth to get a little helping of revenge.

Brett Sawyer, a nurse who long ago bonked her husband on the head and then set him on fire, is Hap’s new love interest, and she’s just as tough as he is. Then, there’s Jim Bob Luke, a professional P.I. who reminded me just a little bit of Steven Seagal in his ability to go in and take out the bad guys in less than thirty seconds.

Mr. Lansdale’s writing in Bad Chili is like a cold Corona going down on a hot Texas day.  I’ll make you sigh with pure happiness when the last drop is finally swallowed. This story has more twists and turns than the Sabine River; and, as my late grandpa would say, the trials and tribulations that Hap and Leonard go through would be enough to make a preacher cuss.

Bad Chili is the real thing. It’s the kind of book that adds a strong sense of joy to one’s life and makes a reader glad that he’s alive to have these kinds of experiences.

Don’t own Bad Chili? Well, get some! Right here!

Rating: 5/5

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

1 Comment on Week Four: In Anticipation of HNR’s Joe R. Lansdale Appreciation Day, ‘Bad Chili’ Review

  1. Wayne C. Rogers // March 13, 2013 at 12:39 am // Reply

    Just to let you know that in Italy and Germany, the Hap/Leonard series are number one sellers at the bookstores. They should be #1 sellers here, too. What’s wrong with our country? Are we going to let Italy and Germany beat us in this? Hell, no. Let’s all go out and buy just one Hap/Leonard novel. Let’s show Europe that we know good writing when we read it!!!


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