The Thicket

The Thicket

by Joe R. Lansdale


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The Thicket by Joe R. Lansdale

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).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316188449
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 10/14/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 378,865
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

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.

What People are Saying About This

Dean Koontz

"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.

Customer Reviews

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The Thicket 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
Sixteen-year-old Jack and his younger sister Lula have just lost their parents to "the Pox", and their Grandfather is taking them to live with a family member, when further tragedy befalls them, killing Jack's grandfather and leaving his sister kidnapped by ruffians. Jack hooks up with several oddball characters who, with the promise of future payment, set out on a quest to help him track down his sister. I wasn’t a fan of the first half of this story. I even noted at times that it was rather “mundane” early on. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, having been dazzled and thrilled after being exposed to his last book Edge of Dark Water. Even the dwarf in this story, which I thought was a quirky addition, instead felt boring and annoying in the beginning. (By the end, I was in love with him. The handsome Shorty is no joke, and by the end of the story, the fact that he is “a midget” is moot. You almost forget the fact. He is simply an intelligent, thoughtful and loyal hero.) I love the author's turn of a phrase. It courts me. At times his expressions and descriptions can be bawdy and crass, or even offensive, but rarely fail to entertain. Jack is a likable character, caring only about getting his sister back, even if she is changed and damaged by the experience. He is an ethical boy, having been raised with the strong influence of an evangelical grandfather. Jack is joined by a young prostitute Jimmie Sue who decides to leave the brothel in an attempt to go straight. The band of criminals who kidnapped Lula are especially loathsome and ruthless, and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. I have to note that I'm under the assumption that “the N word” is used regularly in Texas. Otherwise I'm not sure why it is used so heavily in the author's writing. I understand that it sometimes must be used for authenticity, which makes me wonder whether the use in his stories is to bring authenticity, because that's just how people talk in much of Texas? (Or at least it was common back when this story took place.) I don't know, but be forewarned. My final word: This is my second Lansdale story, and he is a premier storyteller. Outrageous and raucous, his stories have an offbeat flair and peculiar characters. His stories are not for the easily-offended or overly-sensitive. You have to go into them with humor. I enjoyed the second half of this story more than the first half, and loved the ending (found it very satisfying). For some reason that I can't put my finger on, this story felt like a "short story" that would be found in a collection of stories (although it is actually too long to be a "short story"). Provocative and entertaining, I would recommend this to fans of southern lit who don't take themselves too seriously.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keep thinking about those characters. Hope this is made into a movie. Glad I discovered this gem of a book and hope you will,too
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exciting western, the book is filled with adventure, excitement, and great characters. Excellent. The historical novel includes humor, a hog, gun fights, great dialogue, love, a loyal brother, a complicated grandfather, a soiled dove, a dwarf, loyal friends, and a lot of evil doers. What a great movie this would make!!! This book deserves an A++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great mix of drama and romance, one of my most favorite books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book! I really enjoyed this book! Definitely a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good. From start to finish. Thank you Mr. Lansdale for sharing your gift of story telling. More please
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly one of the best western if nit novels i gave ever read, wonderful characters and dialogue. Must read!!
RazorlinePress More than 1 year ago
I listened to this on audio and this story wasted no time getting to it. A teenaged boy seeks to retrieve his younger sister after his grandfather is murdered. I'd been wanting to read a Lansdale book for a while after reading one of his short stories a year ago and The Thicket just leapt out at me. The Good The writing is awesome. Every character is rich with his own history and you feel like you're behind each characters' eyes. I only knew Lansdale as a horror author, but he is extremely adept at a period piece thriller (I guess that's what you'd call it). And there are several parts that are laugh-out-loud funny. Like Shorty describing the man who came into his story who kept threatening to dress him up in doll's clothes. The Bad Nothing. Honestly, I loved every bit of this story. If anything, I'd like to see another story with some of these characters. And How Did I Feel About That… I'm a new Joe R Lansdale fan. Now I'm going to find as much of his stuff as I can and begin reading. Michael C Hall stars in the movie adaptation of his novel Cold In July. I'm going to pick that one up as soon as it comes available.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
drakevaughn More than 1 year ago
You can’t go wrong with Joe R. Lansdale and The Thicket is no exception. This western tale of rescue and revenge occurs in Lansdale’s usual east Texan setting and includes his typical cast of motley characters (including a surly dwarf, a black grave digger turned inept tracker, an affable prostitute, along with a loyal hog). Right off the bat, the story yanks the reader into the action and keeps escalating until the final resolution. The premise is simple - a young man must rescue his kidnapped sister and learn to become a man on the way, yet Lansdale avoids the obvious clichés and delivers a unique approach to a classic trope. Filled with dark humor and unforgettable personalities (another Lansdale trademark), it is recommended for any fans of Joe R’s pulpy style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As Lansdale gets older he gets better... Like a fine wine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been to "The Thicket" in the thick of it. May I say to Joe Lansdale "It was delicious. More please."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now this is one hell of story!