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Sunset Jones has just killed her husband. Never mind that he was raping her. Pete Jones was constable of a small sawmill settlement called Camp Rapture, where no woman refuses her husband. So everyone is angrily surprised when, thanks to the amazing understanding of her mother-in-law - who owns three-quarters of the mill - Sunset becomes the new constable and begins to investigate the murders of a woman and unborn baby in which her late husband might be implicated. Yet, no one is more surprised than Sunset when ...
Sunset Jones has just killed her husband. Never mind that he was raping her. Pete Jones was constable of a small sawmill settlement called Camp Rapture, where no woman refuses her husband. So everyone is angrily surprised when, thanks to the amazing understanding of her mother-in-law - who owns three-quarters of the mill - Sunset becomes the new constable and begins to investigate the murders of a woman and unborn baby in which her late husband might be implicated. Yet, no one is more surprised than Sunset when the murders lead her - through a labyrinth of greed, corruption, and unspeakable malice - not only to the conclusion of the case, but to a well of inner strength she never knew she had.
The opening . . . will grab unsuspecting readers by the lapels and pull them right in. . . . Lansdale's prose--laconic and sarcastic--is so thick with slang and regional accent that it's as tasty as a well-cured piece of beef jerky." --The Denver Post
"Lansdale is an exceptional storyteller . . . readers will feel the Texas heat and hear the story in the author's unique East Texas drawl. The vivid characterization will make readers cheer for the protagonist and boo the villain." --Rocky Mountain News
“Delivers the unexpected and bizarre that his fans have come to expect. . . . The narrative is entertaining, but Lansdale’s patently unvarnished storytelling–backwoods and brash all at once–is the real reason to crack this cover.” --Texas Monthly
"Funny, bloody and bizarre. . . . Another five-star doozy of a tale from an immensely talented and original storyteller." --The Flint Journal
“Sunset Jones is the kind of woman that men who drink in East Texas bars would call a ‘pistol.’ As a tornado rips through the sawmill camp town of Rapture, in the rousing opening scene of Joe R. Lansdale’s historical barnburner Sunset and Sawdust, Sunset finally puts a stop to her husband Pete’s bloody beatings. . . . Soon Sunset has her own posse, including a wonderful dog whose abject adoration of the fiery gunslinger pretty much sums up this reader’s feelings.” --The New York Times Book Review
"A first-rate whodunnit. . . . [Lansdale] knows how to tell a story." --The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Sly, easy-paced and so comfortable in its setting that it becomes almost seductive. This is what good storytelling is all about.” --Arizona Republic
"Lansdale can catch that meandering East Texas twang in his writing, but just as quickly he can tighten the plot and our stomachs with a turn of phrase. . . . Lansdale gives us both atmosphere and action." --Winston-Salem Journal
"Surrealistic. . . . Unpredictable. . . . A darker kind of storytelling." --Pittsburg Tribune-Review
She was on her back wearing only the top half of her dress, because the bottom half had been ripped away when Pete, during the process of beating her, had stepped on it, and the dress, rotten as politics, had torn and left her clothed only from waist to shoulders.
It went through her mind that she was down to two dresses now, and that she hated to see this one go, as it, though faded, had a flowery pattern she liked and the colors blended well with the stains.
But this was a passing thought. She was mostly thinking: How can I stop him from hitting me? She was trying to do this by holding her hands up, but he was beating them down, and her own arms and hands flying back into her face were doing near the damage his fists might have.
Finally, he hammered her to the floor, followed her down, spread her legs, went to tearing and clawing off the rest of her clothes.
When the top of her dress ripped open and he jerked loose one side of her bra, revealing her, he said, "There's that tittie." His speech was slurred and his breath seemed to bleed alcohol.
He raked at her undergarments, tore them and tossed them. When he snapped his gun belt free, he tossed it nearby, and while he was on her, tugging at his zipper, trying to put the mule in the barn, Sunset reached over and slipped his .38 revolver from its holster, and without him being aware, put it to his head, gave him one in the temple.
When she pulled the trigger the shot was loud as Gabriel blowing her up to heaven, but it was Pete who went to heaven. Or departed anyway. Sunset liked to think he got a nice chair in hell, right next to the oven.
But in that moment, the shot made her scream, once, sharp and hard as if she had taken the bullet, or as if she had just received a slap on the bottom at birth.
Pete went limp, not only in the organ he had intended to use, but all over. He said not a word. No "Ouch," "Oh shit," or "Can you believe that?" Things he liked to say under normal circumstances, moments of surprise and duress.
He just took the hot load, cut a fart near loud as the .38 shot, collapsed, and rode on out on Death's black horse.
If it wasn't bad enough she had lost her dress, underclothes, and dignity, now all the windows on the east side shook like Marley's chains, then exploded. The door leaped apart as if it had never been anything other than a loosely connected puzzle, and the wind took the roof away.
She lay there on her back, fragments of clothes fastened to her body, her old flat-heeled shoes still on her feet, a piece of window glass poking out of her shoulder, Pete lying heavy against her. She still had the gun in her hand. The shot had gone in small and hadn't come out big like she expected. It must have been a bad load, jumping around in his brain, making jelly of it. Blood ran from the wound, out of his nose and onto her.
She rolled him off and looked at him. No mistaking. He wasn't going to recover from this.
"Surprised you, didn't I?" Sunset said.
She studied Pete for a long moment, then started to scream as if a banshee were inside of her. But it wasn't screaming you would have ...
Posted June 25, 2013
REVIEWED: Sunset and Sawdust
WRITTEN BY: Joe R. Lansdale
PUBLISHED: January, 2005
This is classic Lansdale: Well-written, gripping, and at times poignantly funny. Sunset Jones kills her abusive husband in self-defense in the middle of a cyclone. It’s really quite symbolic as not only her home and husband are gone, but her entire life is torn apart. From the very beginning, it’s a story of her reconstructing everything around her, including her own world views. Through the assistance of her wealthy mother-in-law, Sunset becomes Sheriff of the town, a small logging camp in the 1930’s depression. One of her first orders of business is to solve a brutal double murder that her late-husband (the former Sheriff) buried. The book effortlessly cuts across genres of mystery and thriller, horror, western and humor. Lansdale, as common for him, deals with race and gender issues and takes a progressive stance against commonly held clichés. Great read overall. The only complaint was that Lansdale built up such a pair of clever and creepy villains, but then rarely used them. He needs to write a prologue story stat, just about McBride and his half-brother, Two!
Four out of Five stars
Posted March 25, 2011
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It has been six years since I first read this book. It's one of those things that was "lost in the divorce." AKA he threw a bunch of my stuff out. I've never been able to remember the title but the story has lingered in my brain all these years. A couple times a year a craving for it would begin and be dismissed because I had no title to put with the story. Until just yesterday...something about sawdust. And there it was and I can't tell you how excited I am to read this gritty, vintage crime novel again. Have you ever read a really good book, where the characters and emotions seeped into you and became part of your memories? This is one of those books and I am thrilled to get reacquainted. It has been far too long. ....One scene has always stuck in my mind, it involves rope, a bed, and a baseball bat. And one very angry wife.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2009
Not the kind of book I usually pick but...loved it! The descriptions of landscape, scenes and characters were 3-d without wasting paragraphs and paragraphs. I expected a "beach-book" but it was much more. Great plot that unfolded perfectly. It kept me turning pages without getting bored and jumping ahead.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2004
Better served reading Harriet's review but this is one of the better books that came out during the 2004 year but its not surprising as Joe R. Lansdale is now in the ranks of our nations finest writers, this is just another well written gem.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 11, 2004
In Depression Era East Texas, Constable Pete Jones assaults his wife Sunset before he rapes her. Badly abused and bruised, and in fear that he will one day kill her and beat the rap, Sunset takes Pete¿s gun and kills him. While she murders her spouse, a cyclone destroys most of their home. She is not charged with homicide not because she was protecting herself, but because no one liked the abuse of power pistol Pete.............................. After healing, Sunset is elected to complete Pete's term as constable though most doubt her capability to do the job. As she sets out to prove her worth, Sunset investigates the corpse of a baby that leads to a second dead body, crazy grasshoppers and Klansmen, and unethical oil dealers all leading to her beating the bushes questioning folks who seem more at home in a chainsaw massacre........................ The setting is typical Lansdale, which means East Texas. The cast is also typical Lansdale, which means eccentrics running loose outside the asylum.¿ The era is atypical Lansdale as he takes the audience back to the 1930s. The results is typical Lansdale, which means a wacky wonderful tale that seems just out of control yet somehow comes together to provide readers especially the author¿s fans with a fabulous crazed time................................. Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 13, 2011
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Posted May 5, 2011
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Posted October 30, 2008
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