Title: Vanilla Ride
Author: Joe R. Lansdale
Vanilla Ride is the eighth book in author Joe R. Lansdale's fantastically popular Hap and Leonard Series.
I've only recently discovered Lansdale, and within the short period of time since my finding, I've quickly devoured all of the Hap and Leonard novels, and am now well on my to finishing the rest of his surprisingly long bibliography. When I got to the end of Captians Outrageous, I started jonesing for more, and to my surprise found that there was still one more book in the series to go before I had to officially begin the agonizing wait for another adventure with Hap and Leonard.
Hap Collins, -- a smart ass who has an affinity for southern women (also his one true weakness) -- and Leonard Pine -- a gay, black Vietnam Veteran whose still looking for the right man -- aren't your typical duo. And although they might not see eye-to-eye on everything, they both share the same passion for causing trouble and making things right, even if it might be wrong.
When an old buddy asks Leonard to rescue his daughter from an abusive, low-life drug dealer, he agrees. Inviting Hap along for the ride, the duo heads out on a wild quest. One that will pit the two men against the Dixie Mafia, which elusive, sexy and dangerous Vanilla Ride.
Although this wasn't my favorite Hap and Leonard novel, it was one hell of a ride! The storyline was slightly recycled from some of the duo's past experiences, but Lansdale makes up for this by mixing it up just enough to keep me hooked. I was really excited to learn just what exactly Vanilla Ride was, and after learning what it was, I'm looking forward to seeing what Lansdale does with it.
However, naturally, I have a few issues with Vanilla Ride. Firstly, it seemed as though it took forever for anything major to take place. Lansdale does a marvelous job with building the story, but nothing really happens until you've read a third of the book. However, from there things do pick up and it's a typical Hap and Leonard adventure: edge of your seat, no holds-bar, nonstop ass kicking, wisecracking romp that doesn't let up until the final page.
The second issue that I have with Vanilla Ride is probably the reason for my first problem with it, which is that there seemed to be large amounts of talking between the infamous duo. Maybe it's Lansdale's way of showing the reader that no matter how much the reader doesn't want Hap and Leonard to be getting older, -- a feeling I'm sure the duo shares with the reader -- they really are.
And the most ridiculous of my issues with Vanilla Ride -- even though it minute -- is that Leonard, whose known to have an affection for sawed-off shotguns, doesn't obtain said firearm until well near the end of the book.
In reality, all of these issues are probably ridiculous and minuscule, but they're things that I've come to expect from these characters, and from the author, therefore I'm giving Vanilla Ride 8.0 TARDIS's out of 10.
If anyone is interested in starting from the beginning of the series, you can pick up a copy of Savage Season here, and here.