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[Joe Lansdale Appreciation Day] ‘The Drive-In: The Bus Tour’ Review


Written by: Vitina Molgaard    

Come along once again into the mind of Mr. Lansdale and his unorthodox world of the Drive-In. I am starting this off with a quote from this book itself. “Well, there goes the third person and here comes me, the first person narrator. I can’t keep me out of it. I should. But, hell, this is all about me and all about them, and that means it’s all about us, but mostly, since I’m telling it all, writing it down, it’s about, you guessed it. Me.”  “Jack The Great.” We are about to go places in this last book of The Drive- In series that will surprise and entertain. Prepare yourself for a bumpy ride.

Our adventurers have arrived at the end of the road and that once again is, The Orbit. Life is not really any better now (with a few exceptions), since Jack and his fellow travelers first left to explore, searching for… well, whatever they could find. Jack has become known as quite a leader of the people. He has found a bus, that to his astonishment works. After making up his mind that it is time to again explore the altered world outside the community they currently call home, the offer is made to others that should they want to leave, they are welcome to join him. This collection of people head out with the hope of finding out what is and is not left of what they once knew. Perchance to find some answers to their many questions. Immediately after they leave things take an awkward turn and they all have the sense that something is both watching and following them. The travelers begin to experience peculiar alterations and bizarre creatures in new terrain that switches in abstract ways. A major change occurs when rain begins to fall in abundance.  An extreme amount that could be compared to that which Noah had to contend with in the Bible; A fact not lost on our collection of lost souls. They find themselves sailing in what appears may well be an ocean. While floating along the vast water the group notices a number of other things appear occasionally, and it is on one such sighting they meet up with a leviathan. These weary depressed voyagers have been exposed to many sightings… but they are in no manner equipped for what ultimately awaits.

This band of travelers consist of a number of new and most certainly “different” characters. We have Jack as the main motivator once again pursuing the unknown, wishing that he could shake off his questioning of just who or what is in charge in the world. Grace and Steve are still with us. But now the band has included new people. When Jack decided it was time to leave the drive-in and extended the offer of joining him we began to meet a series of new focal figures. There is the quirky Reba, another female to come along as one of the collective ensemble. Homer, a gentle man who is mostly kind and willing to do whatever is needed to succeed, is along for the ride. Included in with these inquisitive explorers are Cory and James, two totally different personality types. Lovers of heavy metal music, with attitudes that reek of a desire to be alpha males. They definitely bring an antagonistic sense of tension amongst the others.

And then there’s still the assortment of the peculiar that entwine through-out the land. The cannibals still run rampant, and many other unusual things inhabit the world. There are a number of other characters here that are important to this tale that I am not going to mention because they contain the ability to be spoil this one.

Now, how do I feel about this book and what impact did it have on me? Personally, I loved how Mr. Lansdale carried this through to the end. The way he ties things together while leaving a slip knot here and there is fascinating. This story is generally similar to each past installment. There is gore in moderate amounts, and big shocks to be found by the inhumanity of the beasts that what once were considered humans. Their changes are not necessarily physical or aesthetical, but rather how they behave; beastly lacking in emotions, with the exception of fulfilling their own self-gratification. Not to say that there are no horrors here, there most definitely are. But one of Lansdale’s talents is to express all the ugliness while keeping the reader involved with enough humor and hope for his characters.

The Bus Tour had enough questions and answers to keep me reading the whole story in one night. Would I recommend this? Not only will I say yes, I will do so emphatically. Pick this up and devour it fully. If this is your first time to read any of Lansdale’s work then you have been missing out on a man with true talent. Get out from under the rock. This is an intoxicating read. Before I get to my rating, allow me to share another quote from Jack that expresses a philosophy I find myself sharing regarding life.

“It’s really nothing new,” I said. “It’s just like the way we thought life was, and certainly must be. Unknown. Unfocused. Unpromised.” -Jack

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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.

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