Written by: Vitina Molgaard
Here we find ourselves about to explore the very abstract world of Mr. Lansdale’s mind. As Joe himself puts it, this is “Not just one of them sequels.” While he has provided a prologue to set the story up, you would be doing yourself a great disservice by ignoring the wild insanity of the first novel in this little franchise, obviously titled, The Drive-In. Now, let us venture on and begin with a very appropriate quote from Mark Twain,”Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of Humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.”
When last we left The Orbit Drive-In, our maniacal duo – Bob and Jack – are about to set out on their journey. Jack, the brightest of the two travelers (and I use that term lightly) almost immediately senses that the world no longer is right. Besides the obvious things like the twisted roadways, and the occasional crossing of a dinosaur, there are subtle, unsettling things disturbing our adventurers. There’s a sensation that they are living on a stage set. A queasy feeling of being watched and even controlled by some kind of other world power. Our young men settle down on a tranquil patch of land that feels almost right. It is here where one afternoon a car crashes into their peace and we as the readers meet Grace. This story is basically the tale of our lady Grace and where that leads to…the end of the road.
Again, our key players aren’t exactly the quickest of humans. While greatly relieved to be away from The Orbit Theater they have paid quite the price for their freedom. Crier, another refugee from the theater that’s become a part of this special group. He is a young, strong buck, but he’s not any brighter then his newfound friends. Next we meet the aforementioned Grace, a force of nature, in her own rights. Schooled in mixed martial arts, we have a woman that few would want to tangle with. Like the other remnants she has led a hard life and there is not much that she could not and would not do to succeed at completing her own agenda. Revenge is on the mind of this female.Her drive to achieve said goal introduces us to Popalong Cassidy. Now should you remember Max Headroom, the talking T.V. head from the show of the same name that aired in 1987 thru 1988,you already have a fairly appropriate idea of what to expect from Popalong. What he is capable of doing and how he came to exist this way is something I will leave for you to discover. I will however disclose the fact that he is a major part of Grace’s mission. While there are other characters which you will find important, I would be remiss to not give a brief mention of Steve.As a new character, he brings to the table some very interesting concepts and plays center to some incidents that surprise and shock. Pay attention to this most recent addition’s contributions, since he is here to stay.
I am a fan of Lansdales’ work, so it makes my opinion here easy. Personally this second trip through the trilogy has been another joy for me. The horror here is real, again bringing to the story varying degrees of gore and atrocities. Bizarre behavior and abstract actions amongst the characters, this flows smoothly with a subtle taste of humor. The ability to bring forth laughter out of these horrid circumstances amazes me… I admire how successfully it is done. Kudo’s to Mr. Lansdale for that particular talent. This tale will meet full expectations of anyone who has traversed through the complex eccentricities of most any Lansdale novel. Should this be your first time to pick up a book by this writer, prepare for one exciting trip…it will encourage you to add another author to any favorite, must read list.
What’s the skinny? I enjoyed it The Drive-In2, completely and throughly. Would I read it again? Yes without a doubt. If you are starting here in the second book, again I admonish you to start at book one. You will find yourself with a clearer vision of just how wild our two protagonists really behaved as they tried to survive The Drive-In. That said, pick up this story and lose yourself in a place like no other. I am rating this story the way I am because it is very well written and deserves it, flat out. Have a good time with it.