Edge of Dark Water

Edge of Dark Water

by Joe R. Lansdale
4.3 22

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Edge of Dark Water 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
This story is narrated by Sue Ellen, a young girl living in poverty in a small southern town during the Depression. A local girl is found dead, and Sue Ellen and her friends are joined by Sue Ellen's mother as they head out to take the ashes of the young wannabe starlet to her ultimate goal of Hollywood. Of all of the characters, I think my favorite was probably Jinx. I loved her honesty and found it refreshing. Any scene with Jinx I could see clearly in my head, as Jinx was so colorful and full of life-- a mouthy little firecracker! At times this book made me feel somewhat depressed, but a lot of the time it made me smile with the quaint colloquialisms and honest remarks. And once it actually made me shiver, as a few parts of the story were particularly creepy. A mysterious and dangerous character by the name of Skunk is introduced partway through the story, and this character was presented in such a creepy way that I actually felt a shiver go through me at one point, which is not easy to do. I do not creep-out easily! Part psychological thriller, part pure entertainment, and part cautionary tale, this story held my attention throughout. While not a roaring ride, it kept a nice steady pace, and it kept me guessing. I loved the author's writing style. Shocking, honest, horrifying, and brutal. I can't wait to read more. My final word: Author Joe Lansdale has found a fast fan in me. Honest and genuine writing, quirky southern prose, refreshing characters, and shocking subject matter coalesce into one of the best books I've read thus far this year, and has left me hungering for more!
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
The reader is introduced to sixteen-year-old Sue Ellen and her family on the no-nonsense first page, when Daddy is ‘fishing’ – a chore that combines ‘telephoning,’ i.e., “cranking that telephone to hot up the wire that went into the water to ‘lectrocute the fish,’ dynamiting them, and poisoning them with green walnuts. I might add, as does the author, that the dynamiting doesn’t always work too well, as he attempted it one time when he was so drunk that some of his fingers got blown off. By page eight, Sue Ellen, Daddy and her Uncle Gene, finishing up the fishing project, discover the body of her friend, May Lynn Baxter, at the bottom of the lake, long dead, her hands and feet tied behind her and with a sewing machine weighing the body down. She describes her as “the kind of girl that made men turn their heads and take a deep breath . . . [who] moved like she was hearing music we couldn’t,” a girl with no living family who had dreamed of going to Hollywood and becoming a movie star. Sue Ellen and another good friend, an African-American girl named Jinx [described as having “a sweet face, but her eyes seemed older, like she was someone’s ancient grandma stuffed inside a kid”], and Terry, the fourth member of the group and a boy who was rumored to be homosexual, determine to “burn her up” and take her ashes to California from East Texas, described as a place where “jobs, especially for women, had become as rare as baptized rattlesnakes.” That trip, when it finally begins, fittingly enough in a leaky boat, is like nothing the friends, or the reader, could possibly have anticipated, or even imagined. This author’s writing has been compared to that of Mark Twain, and deservedly so. That said, I should add that I found the writing to be very original, as is the book as a whole, which is [loosely] placed in time by the frequent casual references to the segregation that was then the norm, as were drunken, abusive husbands/fathers, and convincingly captures the vernacular of small-town, little-educated and poverty-stricken Southerners of the period. There is some graphic material [not sexual, I should point out] that seems of a piece with that. “Edge of Dark Water” has been described a “hillbilly noir,” and that captures it as well as anything. Recommended.
JohnPopa More than 1 year ago
Lansdale's gifts are not simply plot or character but the ability to use seemingly simple prose to create a profound and evocative world where his characters reside. This deep south adventure isn't so much a mystery or a glorified chase scene, instead, its a deeply rich story about characters on the run from each other and from outside forces. The questions are more about who will hurt whom the most and how the characters find humanity and peace amongst these seeminbly impossible obstacles. A bit of a meandering pace but, again, Lansdale isn't trying to create a thrill ride. There are some rough, dark waters in this book. so be advised, Lansdale is never one to shy away from the rough stuff. Not quite horror, not quite mystery, 'Edge of Dark Water' is a deeply engaging work set in a world most of us should be happy not to call our own. Lord knows the protagonists pine for a better one.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite Sue Ellen and her uncle Gene were fishing when they found the body of their friend, Mary Lynn, with a sewing machine weighing her down. No one really cared that the girl was dead; they all seemed to think it was a bother. Sue Ellen and her friends, Jinx and Terry, along with Sue Ellen’s mother, dug up the body and burned it. The four set out on a journey to Hollywood, along with Mary Lynn’s ashes and a jar filled with stolen money. Skunk, an evil killer, was hot on their trail. The man was obviously a sociopath. Their journey was beset with danger. "Edge of Dark Water" is a beautiful blend of adventure, horror, and suspense. This review is on the audio version. I was captured from the moment I began to listen. The plot is character-driven. What characters the author has created! The story is narrated by Sue Ellen. It is easy to pick up on her quick wit and sarcastic manner. This book actually had a wee bit of humor woven into it. Much of the humor comes from Sue Ellen’s descriptive comments. It is subtle humor and southern humor. Southerners will understand what I mean. Jinx is a black teen with a major attitude. Terry is rumored to be a homosexual. Sue Ellen’s mother is an alcoholic. Skunk is hard to describe; he wore a dead bird and severed hands tied to his hat. "Edge of Dark Water" is one of the best books I have listened to in quite some time. Angéle Masters perfectly mastered the accent. She moved back and forth through the characters smoothly. The sound quality is very nice. I will be looking for more books by Joe Lansdale.
wolfie1 More than 1 year ago
Very well done. This author never disappoints!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book the twist and turns are never ending and the character are full of life and well rounded the journey on the river you felt like you were there with them and felt what they felt
kirkley60 More than 1 year ago
This was an exceptional read. You will not be disappointed. I have become a fan of Mr. Lansdale and plan on purchasing three more of his novels.
Mallory_SupernaturalFan More than 1 year ago
Review of Edge of Dark Water by Joe Lansdale 5 stars I think there must be close to 1000 reviews and blurbs already for this book, which just published on Feb. 12. Many of them are from writers and reviewers far more articulate than myself. Every blurb and comment I’ve read is positive, and I have to second that. Joe R. Lansdale is a Master, by any criteria. I’ve never forgotten his set “The Drive-In” and “The Drive-In II” and I never will. Now I will never forget “Edge of Dark Water” (and his debut novel, “The Bottoms,” which I plan to read very soon).  Mr. Lansdale has so recreated the structure and milieu of East Texas during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, a typically Southern region, and made it so real even to those of us who didn’t actually live this era, that it becomes an ongoing, perpetual, mindset. Youngsters (actually adolescents now) May Lynn, Sue Ellen, Jinx, and Terry live a very hardscrabble, rock-bottom life. The only one of the four who has a decent parental set is Jinx, and because she is resident in the extended South, and African-American, she has her share of troubles not akin to the other three. But May Lynn, Sue Ellen, and Terry all have domestic difficulties; it is fortunate that the four do share this close and abiding friendship, and the taut nature of this bond becomes intensely apparent when Sue Ellen and Terry discover May Lynn’s drowned body in the Sabine River—the river that becomes a character in and of itself, the river that will change all their lives in immense and unending ways. “Edge of Dark Water” is an incredibly heartrending novel, but it is one I cannot imagine not reading. 
Eric_J_Guignard More than 1 year ago
REVIEWED: The Edge of Dark Water WRITTEN BY: Joe R. Lansdale PUBLISHED: March, 2012 One of the best new novels that I've read in a long time. It's described as being half "Huckleberry Finn" and half "Deliverance," which is about as accurate a comparison as I could come up with. Lansdale's descriptive prose and imagery is absolutely breathtaking and the dialogue alone is pitch-perfect: Quick, funny, and poignant. It's a coming-of-age novel set in the dark badlands of east Texas in which three teenagers who feel trapped in their small town lives along the Sabine River come across an opportunity to leave and realize their dreams. Their friend is found dead and along with her a map to stolen loot. Hot on the teenagers' trail are their abusive and drunk kin and the gruesome hired killer, Skunk, whose legend is too great for them to believe... until he shows up after them. Yet another Lansdale masterpiece. Five out of Five stars
drakevaughn More than 1 year ago
Edge of Dark Water is a perfect summer read. This morbid thriller is filled with terrific characters, loads of action, and an ideal setting for horrific fun. Channeling Mark Twain from the dead, Lansdale flips the coming-of-age story boating down a river onto its head, straying just shy of Deliverance territory. It is an ideal balance of murder mystery, adventure, and pulp. Three outcast teenagers and an addict mother journey together in order to escape their Depression era lives in East Texas, and come to realize the truth of the warped world they inhabit. And in typical Lansdale style, their journey is filled with vicious drama, upbeat laughs, and peculiarities that only he can deliver. A fun ride down a rough stream. Four and a half stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a gripping historical novel with three friends on a mission to get the ashes of their deceased friend to Hollywood. Set during the depression era, the novel includes murder and more murders. Death is at every turn of the river. Great characters: an addicted mother, a "sissy" boy, a "mouthy" black girl, a tomboy, a cruel husband, a man who smells like a shrunk, and more. This is a wonderful and exciting book and would make a great movie. Gritty and great. Highly recommended! This book deserves an A+++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful!!! I loved this book......couldn't put it down. Anyone familiar with the east Texas piney woods and the Sabine River will feel like you're right there. Loved all the 'good' characters......you just know they'll all be fine after the story ends. I'll never forget this book. Lish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A chilling atmospheric and gothic coming of age story that is very well told. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a lot of fun reading this book. Great characters, that have been compared to Mark Twain's characters, and I see why now. The story kept me reading and not wanting to put the book down.
kyohin More than 1 year ago
The comparison to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn made me have to read it and decide for myself. Know what? It was a fair comparison. I was proud of the characters in this book because they just keep bravely putting one foot in front of the other.
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