The Thicket

By Joe R. Lansdale (Hardcover Book, 2013)
ALA Reading List Award for History, Short List

Love and vengeance at the dark dawn of the East Texas oil boom from Joe Lansdale, "a true American original" (Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box).


Jack Parker thought he'd already seen his fair share of tragedy. His grandmother was killed in a farm accident when he was barely five years old. His parents have just succumbed to the smallpox epidemic sweeping turn-of-the-century East Texas--orphaning him and his younger sister, Lula.

Then catastrophe strikes on the way to their uncle's farm, when a traveling group of bank-robbing bandits murder Jack's grandfather and kidnap his sister. With no elders left for miles, Jack must grow up fast and enlist a band of heroes the likes of which has never been seen if his sister stands any chance at survival. But the best he can come up with is a charismatic, bounty-hunting dwarf named Shorty, a grave-digging son of an ex-slave named Eustace, and a street-smart woman-for-hire named Jimmie Sue who's come into some very intimate knowledge about the bandits (and a few members of Jack's extended family to boot).

In the throes of being civilized, East Texas is still a wild, feral place. Oil wells spurt liquid money from the ground. But as Jack's about to find out, blood and redemption rule supreme. In The Thicket, award-winning novelist Joe R. Lansdale lets loose like never before, in a rip-roaring adventure equal parts True Gritand Stand by Me--the perfect introduction to an acclaimed writer whose work has been called "as funny and frightening as anything that could have been dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm--or Mark Twain" (New York Times Book Review).
  • Little, Brown and Company
    • Format: Hardcover Book

    • Price: $26.00 US/$29.00 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780316188456

    • On Sale Date: 09/10/2013

    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Trade Paperback, Electronic Book, Audiobook, Audiobook

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ALA Reading List Award for History, Short List

Love and vengeance at the dark dawn of the East Texas oil boom from Joe Lansdale, "a true American original" (Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box).


Jack Parker thought he'd already seen his fair share of tragedy. His grandmother was killed in a farm accident when he was barely five years old. His parents have just succumbed to the smallpox epidemic sweeping turn-of-the-century East Texas--orphaning him and his younger sister, Lula.

Then catastrophe strikes on the way to their uncle's farm, when a traveling group of bank-robbing bandits murder Jack's grandfather and kidnap his sister. With no elders left for miles, Jack must grow up fast and enlist a band of heroes the likes of which has never been seen if his sister stands any chance at survival. But the best he can come up with is a charismatic, bounty-hunting dwarf named Shorty, a grave-digging son of an ex-slave named Eustace, and a street-smart woman-for-hire named Jimmie Sue who's come into some very intimate knowledge about the bandits (and a few members of Jack's extended family to boot).

In the throes of being civilized, East Texas is still a wild, feral place. Oil wells spurt liquid money from the ground. But as Jack's about to find out, blood and redemption rule supreme. In The Thicket, award-winning novelist Joe R. Lansdale lets loose like never before, in a rip-roaring adventure equal parts True Gritand Stand by Me--the perfect introduction to an acclaimed writer whose work has been called "as funny and frightening as anything that could have been dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm--or Mark Twain" (New York Times Book Review).

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than a dozen novels, including Edge of Dark Water, the Edgar Award-winning The Bottoms, Sunset and Sawdust, and Leather Maiden. He has received nine Bram Stoker Awards, the American Mystery Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas.
  • " Hellish and hilarious . . . It's classic Lansdale, his own self peppered throughout by much piney backwoods philosophizing on everything from religion to whoring, [with] the author's long-ago trademarked heaping helping of wry, often delightfully vulgar humanism. The Thicket is a keeper and then some." --Austin Chronicle

  • "This latest work reads like a dark version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and feels like a Coen brothers movie. It's the perfect mix of light and dark, with plenty of humor mixed in." --Houston Chronicle

  • "Lansdale excels at giving his fans what they want...Many die, but what's really dying here, Lansdale says, is a romanticized way of life." --Dallas Morning News

  • "About a perfect a Western as you'll find . . . Let's say you planned to write a story set in 1916 in Texas. Borrow a little from The Wizard of Oz, a little Mark Twain, and make a nod toward classic western literature. Add humor, some savagery and remove just about everything "PC"-and you might come close to the perfection that is The Thicket. . . .  If you're in the mood for something down-and-dirty but oh-so-enjoyable, here's your book." --The Sun News

  • "The Bard of East Texas is back. . . . He has been writing brilliantly about East Texas for three decades, but never has the region appeared stranger or more violent than it does here. . . . Memorable characters, a vivid sense of place, and an impressive body count make The Thicket another Lansdale treasure." --Booklist (starred)

  • "Lansdale offers up a coming-of-age Western adventure as captivating as the best of Larry McMurtry and written in a style reminiscent of Mark Twain. With intriguing, sometimes bumbling characters and storytelling laced with bravado, good humor, action, and heart...this title cannot help but captivate readers." --Library Journal (starred review)

  • PRAISE FOR EDGE OF DARK WATER:

    "A cast of unforgettable characters....a terrific read. From its pages waft memories of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, and even As I Lay Dying with its journey to lay a soul to rest. When I reached the final page, something happened that I can't remember ever happening with a book I've read for a review. I wanted to read it again." (Boston Globe).

  • "A gently legendary quality makes this tall tale just about perfect." (Kirkus Reviews).

  • "As funny and frightening as anything that could have been dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm-or Mark Twain."
    (New York Times Book Review
    ).

  • "Satisfying . . . Lansdale's humor and skill at characterization comes across well." (Publishers Weekly ).

  • "A doozy of a read, the kind of book we call an 'all nighter'...It's that kind of great, and it's pure-blood Lansdale, crammed to bursting with plot twists that recall the snaky bends of the Sabine River...This sucker moves...It's our favorite book of the year so far, and one of Lansdale's best, ever." (Austin Chronicle).

  • "The Thicket presents Joe Lansdale at his finest-which is to say, at the high-water mark of all storytelling."
    (Michael Koryta, author of THE PROPHET).

  • "Reading Joe Lansdale is like listening to a favorite uncle who just happens to be a fabulous storyteller. This book deals with dark and strange material, but it is hugely appealing as narrated in the first person by young Sue Ellen, who shines." (Dean Koontz).

  • "THE THICKET is a novel that earns a place on the same bookshelf as Charles Portis' TRUE GRIT and Cormac McCarthy's ALL THE PRETTY HORSES. Joe Lansdale is a supremely gifted writer, and his novel is one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had in years." (Ron Rash, author of the bestselling SERENA and THE COVE).

  • "Entertaining, eerie and soaked with the East Texas period atmosphere Lansdale owns like no other writer....Along the river chase, readers will pick up on nods to homer, Dickey, Twain and others, but the brooding East Texas atmosphere is all Lansdale....Joe R. Lansdale could fall into the Sabine River at its filthiest point and still come up dripping nothing but storytelling mojo."

    (The Dallas Morning News).

  • "It has been a while since I have read a book which is such fun, not fun but the thing next to fun where there's a big rolling story -- dark and light -- told in a voice so alluring and deadpan that it makes you smile and then look around to see who saw you smile. Lansdale takes us on a wicked, charming journey." (Ron Carlson, author of THE SIGNAL and FIVE SKIES).

  • "A coming of age story peopled with original and fascinating blood-and-bones characters. A chillingly atmospheric tale of good and evil and adolescent angst. EDGE OF DARK WATER has all the potential of becoming a classic, read by generations to come." (New York Journal of Books).

  • "THE THICKET starts off with a bang and ends in a shootout as thrilling as anything since Shane. It's set in a time and place in Texas-the Big Thicket, at the turn of the 20th century-where anything can happen and usually does. This is classic American storytelling:  Mark Twain leavened with dashes of William Faulkner, Charles Portis, and Cormac McCarthy. The result is all Lansdale, and he mixes good and evil, along with generous portions of laughter and even love, like nobody's business. God, can he tell a story." (Jim Donovan, author of THE BLOOD OF HEROES).

  • "Too often overlooked in American literature is that lineage descending from our early humorists such as Bierce, and from Twain: regional, darkly comic, bizarre.  That's where Joe Lansdale lives.  He's very Texan, very American, very funny -and a stone brilliant writer." (James Sallis, author of DRIVE).

Product Details

The Thicket
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $26.00 US/$29.00 CAN
  • Pages: 352
  • Physical Dimensions: 5-1/2" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316188456
  • On Sale Date: 09/10/2013
The Thicket