Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{February 7, 2013}   {Review} Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale

13521498From Goodreads: Mark Twain meets classic Stephen King–a bold new direction for widely acclaimed Edgar Award winner Joe R. Lansdale.

May Lynn was once a pretty girl who dreamed of becoming a Hollywood star. Now she’s dead, her body dredged up from the Sabine River.

Sue Ellen, May Lynn’s strong-willed teenage friend, sets out to dig up May Lynn’s body, burn it to ash, and take those ashes to Hollywood to spread around. If May Lynn can’t become a star, then at least her ashes will end up in the land of her dreams.

Along with her friends Terry and Jinx and her alcoholic mother, Sue Ellen steals a raft and heads downriver to carry May Lynn’s remains to Hollywood.

Only problem is, Sue Ellen has some stolen money that her enemies will do anything to get back. And what looks like a prime opportunity to escape from a worthless life will instead lead to disastrous consequences. In the end, Sue Ellen will learn a harsh lesson on just how hard growing up can really be.


This novel is divided into three parts, and I wish I had known that going in, because if I had, I would have read it much faster, instead of taking a break after the first section.  While superbly written, the first section of the novel didn’t draw me in as far as I wanted it to, and so I took some time off to read other things before picking the novel back up.  But once I started the second section, the story picked up fairly quickly and I was swept away down river with the characters.  Add in a psychopath killer at the end of section two and all of section three, and I couldn’t read fast enough.  Hence, I’m glad that I always finish a book, no matter what. I never know if I’m going to find a gem like this one after wading through it for a while.

While part one sets the stage for this novel, parts two and three are really what make it a must read.  The publishers got it right when they said this was a story in which
“Mark Twain meets classic Stephen King.”  You have all the elements and dialect from the deep South you’d expect from Twain, as well as the added fear factor you’d expect from King.  I was floored, especially when I realized this wasn’t just a novel of coming of age, but a real down and out fight to the death kind of story.  Wow!  It really gripped me and wouldn’t let go.  That is, once I passed the first section.

I highly suggest reading this novel.  The characters are great, and it’s an adventure that you don’t want to miss.  Stick with it because it just keeps getting better and better.  Four stars.

4 stars

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher during NCTE, 2012.


et cetera
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