Blood Dance

January 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, )

danceBlood Dance by Joe R. Lansdale

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Lansdale has written a lot of weird westerns. It’s sort of what he’s known for. He’s written fewer straightforward westerns, but Blood Dance is one of those. It features a man seeking vengeance for a murdered friend, train robberies, Indians and scalping, mining for gold, and a whole mess of other western cliches. It also brings in Wild Bill Hickok and General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, so in true Lansdale fashion, he brings all he can to the party.

The story isn’t anything special, either as a western or as a Lansdale novel, but Lansdale is at least reliable. You know what you’re getting with him, and even though the stories don’t usually stray far from his usual formula, you’re going to be entertained. That our erstwhile narrator runs into two legendary figures of the Old West strains credibility, but it at least cements the book into “western” territory.

The foreword goes into weird places, as Lansdale writes about reading an adult western, which is to say a western written with lots of sex as opposed to a western written for an adult audience. It’s a backward way of telling us how he got interested in reading and writing westerns at all, which I guess is the connection between the memory and the story. Still, it was kind of odd.

Blood Dance is a decent enough read, with enough Lansdale touches to keep me interested, but it’s no classic by any means. Lansdale even acknowledges this fact in his foreword, which makes me wonder why he issued it for publication at all. I respect Lansdale’s skills, and that he can now release material based on his name alone, but all these do is make me wish for the next Sunset and Sawdust. I have yet to read The Bottoms or The Thicket, so I may still find one yet.

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