The Bottoms

Front Cover
Mysterious Press, 2000 - Fiction - 328 pages
17 Reviews
The Great Depression. Deep East Texas. The woods are thick, the rivers wild, the weather ripe with tornadoes, and the Crane family, like most families in that neck of the woods, are eking out a thin living. When young Harry Crane discovers a mutilated body bound to a tree with barbed wire in the river bottoms, the underbelly of East Texas is exposed. Whites fear a renegade Negro. Blacks fear a vengeful massacre or, if the killer is white, that the law will let him slip through their fingers. Harry believes the murderer is the Goat Man, an East Texas monster of legend who, like the Billy Goat Gruffs' troll, lurks in the shadows beneath the swinging bridge on the Sabine River. Harry is not only familiar with the legend, but he and his sister Thomasina (Tom) have actually seen the Goat Man, or something much like him, in his nocturnal haunts.

As the bodies mount up, an elderly black man is lynched, both blacks and whites are terrorized, and Harry's father -- the local law -- and grandmother investigate, searching for a killer who may be a lot closer than they think.

Not only a novel of riveting suspense, "The Bottoms" is a novel of a unique place and time. To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Grapes of Wrath meets Silence of the Lambs.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chibitika - LibraryThing

The Bottoms is a fascinating, superbly written, dark murder mystery by a master story teller. Landsdale's atmosphere skills put you right there in the summer heat, experiencing everything with the characters. Highly recommended. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DougGoodman - LibraryThing

If Edge of Dark Water is a dark, Texas-centric version of Huckleberry Finn, then The Bottoms is a distant, disturbed cousin of To Kill a Mockingbird. Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Joe R. Lansdale was born in Gladewater, Tex. in 1951. He attended Tyler Junior College, the University of Texas at Austin, and Stephen F. Austin State University. Lansdale has also had a varied career, having worked as a bouncer, a bodyguard, a transportation manager, a custodian, and a karate instructor before becoming a fulltime writer in 1981. Lansdale's written work includes several novels and more than 200 short stories. Although his favorite genre is fantasy, with suspense a close second, he has also written mysteries, horror, science fiction, and westerns. Some titles include Rumble Tumble, Dead in the West, The Nightrunners, Cold in July, By Bizarre Hands and The Drive-in (a 'B' Movie with Blood and Popcorn. Made in Texas) . In addition, Lansdale has edited the short-story anthologies Best of the West, The New Frontier: Best of the West 2, and Razored Saddles. Lansdale has received five Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers of America, including one for "The Night They Missed the Horror Show." He has also been awarded the British Fantasy Award and the American Horror Award. Joe Lansdale and his second wife, Karen, have two children. They live in Nacagdoches, Tex.

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