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The Two-Bear Mambo (1997)

The Two-Bear Mambo (1997)

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4.13 of 5 Votes: 5
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0575400374 (ISBN13: 9780575400375)

About book The Two-Bear Mambo (1997)

This is the best of Lansdale's Hap and Leonard novels I have read, and the first I read out of sequence. (It's the third in the series and the fourth or fifth I have read.) Reading it clears up some details of the Hap and Leonard relationship that has always bothered me in the other novels. They are two, downwardly mobile residents of East Texas. Hap is the white, ex-student radical still hanging on to some of his ideals for all the good they do him. Leonard is a black, gay, Viet Nam vet. It is supposed to be cool and funny that they are friends, and I suppose it is, but I have never been too sure just why they are friends. Do they just enjoy bickering like a particularly foul-mouthed old married couple who occasionally get in a situation where they have to kill somebody? It has also been the case that whereas Hap, the narrator, has a love interest in each book, Leonard has been strangely celibate. But this time around, Leonard has taken up with Raul, a rather feckless young man that he is crazy about. Finally Hap comes clean and admits that he likes Leonard better when he doesn't have to think him about actually having sex with men. It's the most honest and refreshing conversation the two protagonists have had.Two-Bear Mambo sends them Grovetown, Nowheresville in East Texas, looking for Florida Grange, the young African American attorney Hap had a brief affair with in an earlier novel. She had gone to Grovetown to investigate the jailhouse suicide, insert quotation marks here, of a black blues singer who was the son of a much more famous black blues singer. Florida has gone missing. The racist atmosphere in Grovetown is toxic. Some splinter Klan group has a strong presence. No one likes the looks of these two outsiders nosing around. One of the supposedly endearing qualities of Hap and Leonard is their smart mouths. Sometimes they can be very funny, but at other times I have wondered why they don't regularly get the crap beaten out of them. Come to think of it, they often do get the crap beaten out of them, but this novel includes a scene of a beating so brutal that even by the Lansdale standard it is a shocking episode. But it is also one of his best written scenes ever, and it prompts a level of reflection on the part of Hap and Leonard that has never entered the narratives before, They know now that they are not bulletproof. The beating leaves them damaged and scared, but they also have a job to finish.They return to Grovetown, which is under a flood watch from winter rains and is literally turning into one vast swamp. Their investigation continues, but the almost fatal mistake they make it to focus on the racist aspects of the situation while forgetting the basic motivations of lust and greed.

Another great adventure with my buddies Hap Collins and Leonard Pine! Leonard has a new boyfriend but is still surly, having just burnt down the neighborhood crack house for the third Christmas Eve in a row. But to stay out of jail this time, Leonard and Hap agree to help their friend Marvin locate his girlfriend Florida Grange, who happens to be Leonard's old lawyer and Hap's former sweet thang. The stakes are pretty high though this go round because Florida, an attractive black woman, was last seen in Grovetown, which is not only being threatened by heavy rains and flooding, but which also happens to be the most scummy hotbucket of racism this side of Texas, which doesn't bode well for an ex-hippie and his black, gay best friend with a hot temper. "Hell, I can't figure Raul. He's all mopey and shit. Today is the anniversary of when we met, and he wanted us to go out to dinner, go to a movie, do some serious fucking. I wanted us to do that too, but I didn't want it getting in the way of me killing somebody." Lansdale does it once again, creating a thoroughly entertaining country romp, that's well-balanced with great dialogue, action, laugh-out-loud comedy, surprising insight and depth, and even a somber bleakness this time as our heroes realize that they may have stepped into some serious shit that they might not be able to handle. Again, there's a great cast of colorful characters that really stand out (Charlie really flew off the page this time) and in three books I've developed a real fondness for Hap and Leonard, I don't want them hurt, and I'm invested in their adventures. Mr. Lansdale created something special with this series and these characters so far. "No one is anything better than human. Just some humans are better humans than others, but the best humans are still just human."

Do You like book The Two-Bear Mambo (1997)?

PROTAGONIST: Hap Collins and Leonard PineSETTING: East TexasSERIES: #3 of 10RATING: 4.0WHY: Hap Collins, straight and white, and Leonard Pine, black and gay, at first seem an unlikely duo, but they have a strong friendship that has endured for years. At one time, Hap was involved with a black woman, Florida Grange, whose current lover has asked Hap and Leonard to find her. She went to a Klan-infested town in East Texas called Grovetown to interview a reclusive singer and hasn't been heard from since. The boys face a lot of trouble and are brutally assaulted. Excellent characterization. Although much of the book is dark, Lansdale injects a lot of humor as well. Not for the politically correct.

The Two-Bear Mambo (Hap and Leonard #3) by Joe R. Lansdale, has the two vigilantes looking for a very attractive black woman, who has gone missing in Grovetown. Hap’s former girlfriend, Florida Grange, was inquiring about the jail-cell death of a famous black musician in the KKK-controlled town. Of course, Lenard, a black homosexual, and Hap, his white best straight friend, tangle with both the sheriff and the Klan in Grovetown, and their demise seems certain. This is Lansdale’s third Hap and Leonard novel and it is another great read for those who can withstand East Texas good-ole-boy behavior, extremely colorful/crude language and customs, and brutal violence. Hap and Lenard are two great characters and Lansdale provides wonderfully written dialogue for them. Of course, Lansdale is also an exceptional story teller, and this compelling story maintains the reader’s interest and anxiety. This is my fifth Hap and Leonard novel and I will certainly being visiting them again.
—Clark Hallman

The third installment of the Hap and Leonard series is a strong addition but is also the darkest and most disturbing. While Lansdale is never afraid to break boundaries, Two Bear Mambo mixes suspense, mystery ad action with a social realism that can be downright uncomfortable. The stark depiction of racism and violence tends to overshadow the sharp dialogue that has always graces this series. There are plenty of hilarious lines throughout and Leonard continues to be my favorite black gay Republican. Yet Lansdale refuses to play safe. Our heroes' unlikely friendship continues to be challenged, the East Texas region still shines in its varnish and rust, and anyone who become Hap and Leonard's friend should make sure their will is written up. Another good addition to my pick for the most perfect crime novel series.

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