Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
Hap and Leonard return In Captains Outrageous, and once again Joe R. Lansdale proves that he has no equal in the field of writing within the great state of Texas. He is to East Texas what Stephen King is to Maine. Both authors have a particular style of writing that appeals to the “everyman” in its simplicity; yet, forceful and soul-searching deliverance.
In this novel, the hilarious, dysfunctional, butt-kicking duo of Hap and Leonard return for another outing of outrageous bantering, not to mention going the distance to help those who are in trouble. Hap and Leonard are now security guards in a chicken processing plant.
One night after work, while walking to his truck, Hap hears a desperate cry for help. He sees a man stomping the living daylights out a girl near the trees that border the plant and quickly goes to her rescue. Jumping a chain-link fence like an avenging angel, Hap charges the guy and swiftly finds himself in a fight to the death, using everything he’s been taught in the martial arts to put this drugged-out psycho down.
After Hap saves the life of the young girl, her father (he happens to be the owner of the plant) rewards him with the gift of a hundred thousand dollars. Accepting the money against his better judgment, Hap decides to take a vacation with his buddy, Leonard. They sign on for a cheap cruise down to Mexico and the Caribbean.
As usual, Leonard’s mouth gets them into trouble on the boat, and they eventually find themselves stranded in a place called Playa Del Carmen. When a group of muggers from a bordering town attack our two heroes with knives and a machete, wounding Leonard in the process, an old fisherman comes to their rescue.
The fisherman and his daughter, Beatrice, allow Hap and Leonard to recuperate at their home. While Leonard is recovering from his knife wound, the fisherman’s daughter uses sex to lure Hap into helping her scam a local mobster.
Things, however, don’t go quite the way Beatrice expects.
Her actions lead to death on a major scale, and it follows Hap and Leonard back to Texas in the form of a giant killer named Hammerhead, who likes to skin people alive and then cut their hands and feet off. A close friend of the duo will be murdered because of what happened in Mexico.
From that point on the name of the game is revenge for our boys. Hap and Leonard, with the help of Jim Bob Luke, will return to Mexico to take out the mobster and his henchman. A lot of people are going to die before the ending of this novel is reached; and, if Hap has his way, he’s going to be the one doing the killing!
Captains Outrageous had me laughing and crying. Never was a novel funnier; yet, at the same time, sadder. The violence is intense, and a lot of good people die this time around.
Mr. Lansdale’s prose is “mojo” writing at its best, capturing the pure essence that breathes life into Hap and Leonard, holding the reader within its tight grasp from the first page to the last. These are guys that will put their lives on the line time and time again to help others, risking everything to right a wrong and to bring a little justice into this mixed-up world.
Even the secondary characters (Jim Bob Luke, Veil, Charlie Blank, Marvin Hanson, Beatrice and her father, Ferdinand, Brett Sawyer, and the Mexican mobster, Juan Miguel) are written with the same precise detail and strength as the primary ones.
The twists and turns are more numerous than a giant pretzel, offering surprises for the reader every few pages. Captains Outrageous isn’t just a novel; it’s a grand adventure with two guys who love each other as brothers and who are heroes in the strongest sense of the word.
This book will run you through the gamut of emotions, leaving you with an inner feeling of being alive and that the world isn’t such a bad place after all. I can’t thank Joe R. Lansdale enough for the books he’s written, including this fabulous series about friendship, love, honor, and a willingness to put your life on the line for what you feel is right.
As I stated in a previous review, I only wish that Mr. Lansdale could write a “Hap and Leonard” book every year, along with one of his stand-alone novels. It’s hard saying goodbye to friends like this for a lengthy period of time.