A Fine Dark Line

A Fine Dark Line

by Joe R. Lansdale

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A Fine Dark Line by Joe R. Lansdale

During a sweltering East Texas summer, 13-year-old Stanley Mitchel Jr. begins a journey of awakening. His family runs the town’s drive-in movie theater, where Stanley spends his time helping out, reading ten-cent comics, playing with his dog Nub and generally living a boy’s life, circa 1958. When Stanley discovers a cache of old love-letters and starts to unravel a local mystery, however, he finds himself confronting secrets of ghosts, women, sex, race and his own courage. As he tells it, “I felt as if something living inside of me had been stolen, taken away and mistreated, then returned without all of its legs.” Ultimately, it’s a story about taking a clear-eyed look behind the veil and acknowledging the truth of things, without succumbing to them.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013148901
Publisher: Gere Donovan Press
Publication date: 07/28/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 338,111
File size: 678 KB

About the Author

With more than thirty books to his credit, Joe R. Lansdale is the Champion Mojo Storyteller. He’s been called “an immense talent” by Booklist; “a born storyteller” by Robert Bloch; and The New York Times Book Review declares he has “a folklorist’s eye for telling detail and a front-porch raconteur’s sense of pace.”

He’s won umpty-ump awards, including sixteen Bram Stoker Awards, the Grand Master Award from the World Horror Convention, a British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Horror Critics Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, the “Shot in the Dark” International Crime Writer’s Award, the Golden Lion Award, the Booklist Editor’s Award, the Critic’s Choice Award, and a New York Times Notable Book Award. He’s got the most decorated mantle in all of Nacogdoches!

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A Fine Dark Line 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WOW!! This novel grabbed me from the first sentence!!! Absolutely loved the characters. You will fall in love with the dog!!! The novel includes murder, attacks, race relations in the 50s, true friendships, a wonderful family, a wonderful dad, an awful dad, beheading, a fire, a broken leg, a drive-in movie theater, a flirty sister, a drunk, a kind old man, and a truly awesome young boy. Highly, highly, recommended! This book deserves an A++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an endearing tale that will always be with me. Thank you Mr. Lansdale for sharing your gift. For all you fellow readers, this is the 5th book of his I have read ( I am a constant reader ) and this guy is a master storyteller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
pjpick More than 1 year ago
A nice suprise! I really enjoyed this novel of Lansdale's (much more than The Bottoms. I found it to be a very entertaining and nostalgic coming of age/mystery story told in the folksy style of a 13 year old in the 1950s. The 1950s seem to be a great time of which to write due to it's innocence and it's conflicting darkness (in this case, racism, child abuse, spouse abuse) and this one has it all...it sounds dark, but it made me laugh on several occassions. I was sold early on in this story for two reasons: first Lansdale's dedication, "In memory of Cooter. Brave, True, and Nobel Protector. Friend. Family dog." (as those who know me are aware, I'm a big believer of dogs being part of the family); and second, after reading this passage, "Like Huckleberry Finn, Richard wasn't the sort that would make a great adult, but he was one hell of a kid. He could ride a bike faster than the wind, could toss a pocketknife between his toes and not stick himself, knew the woods, could climb a tree like a gibbon, and juggle four rubber balls at a time." This is just one example of the Lansdale's simple prose you will find in this story--and the tale "ain't" bad either!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
As one review printed on the book jacket says: 'an x-rated version of the Andy Griffith show, but as memorable as Harper Lee's 'To Kill A Mockingbird'' is the shortest way to describe the moving yet disturbing plot of this Lansdale novel. I chose this book at random in the library, and I haven't been able to put it down yet. Lansdale is definetly one of the authors I will now be following.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like his previous Edgar winner "THE BOTTOMS" Joe R. Lansdale has again delivered the goods with "A FINE DARK LINE". Chock full of his one liners and one heck of a great nostalgic mystery, A fine dark line ranks rights up there with Joe's best. Just read the reviews from Harriet and Wayne above, they tell it all. Loved the characters and the history and the charm of this wonderful story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the summer of 1958, the Mitchel family moves to Dewmont, East Texas to run the drive-in movie theatre, which they just bought. They hire half black-half Indian Buster Lighthouse Smith to operate the projector and a black woman Rosy to help Mrs. Mitchell with the cooking and the cleaning. Thirteen year old Stanley Jr. becomes closer to Buster and Rosy than he does to his parents because they listen to his dreams and fears. While playing with his dog Nub, Stanley finds a half-buried chest. When he opens it he discovers inside a bunch of love letters written in 1942. There are no signatures on the letters only initials and Stanley becomes obsessed with finding out who wrote them and what happened to them. He figures out who the writers were by questioning various townsfolk. He and Buster, a former Seminole police officer, investigate further, an action that puts him, his family and his two friends in danger. A FINE DARK LINE is a powerful coming of age tale set in a place and time when people of influence can get away with murder. The summer of 1958 is a traumatic time for the protagonist as he learns about sex, incest, homosexuality, and wife beating while someone tries to kill him. He successfully blackmails the town¿s most powerful citizens yet understands his experiences are meaningless in the greater scheme of life. Joe R. Lansdale once again transcends genre to write a haunting historical novel focusing on the human condition. Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Joe R. Lansdale¿s newest novel, A FINE DARK LINE, the reader is carried back to the summer of 1958 when thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchell, Jr. and his family move to Dewmont, Texas to take over the ownership of the town¿s only drive-in movie theater. This is the summer that Stanley will lose his childhood innocence and learn that there¿s no Santa Claus, what sex is really about, the ugly truth concerning racism, and the painful reality about death, murder and the human monsters that hide behind the masks of one¿s next-door neighbors. It¿s also the summer that young Stanley begins to learn about the power of friendship, family, love, and the unrelenting courage that¿s needed in the face of horror. Stanley¿s journey into adulthood begins when he finds a half-buried metal box filled with old love letters near a burnt-down house in the woods behind the drive-in theater where he and his family now live. The letters belonged to a young girl who was gruesomely murdered almost two decades before. The fact that the crime was never solved triggers Stanley¿s curiosity. With the help of his older sister, Caldonia, and his new friends Richard Chapman and old Buster Lighthorse Smith, he begins to slowly, but persistently, dig into the past, not knowing that what he discovers will change his life forever. Brilliantly written by one of America¿s top authors, A FINE DARK LINE carries us back to when comic books were a nickel, Tarzan movies played on TV in the mornings, and a young boy could believe that the fictional John Carter of Mars actually existed. This was a time when anything seemed possible, and small-town life during the hot, sweltering summer months was slow and relaxed, and the local teenagers flocked to the drive-in theater at night to see the newest movies and to make out in their cars. Mr. Lansdale is able to capture the pure ambience of these forgotten memories with a simplicity of words that draws the reader into the story as if he/she was walking the streets of Dewmont with Stanley and his dog, Nub. Each of the main and supporting characters are fully developed individuals that you either love or hate, and one can¿t help finding themselves laughing out loud as Stanley learns about the ¿birds and the bees¿ from Caldonia and Buster, or feeling the soul-wrenching emptiness as he experiences first hand from the Mitchell¿s housekeeper, Rosy Mae, how terrible men can be toward the women they love. This is not only a journey for Stanley, but one for the reader as well. You¿ll come away with a little more knowledge of what it means to be a human being in all of its mixed-up aspects. Like Mr. Lansdale¿s previous award-winning novel, THE BOTTOMS, this book is what I would call a ¿life experience,¿ and it¿s one I would highly recommend to any person wishing more than a casual read. Entertaining, thought provoking, and nostalgic, A FINE DARK LINE is a true masterpiece from one of America¿s most gifted writers.