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A Fine Dark Line

Joe R. Lansdale

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A classic coming-of-age murder mystery with corrupt cops, segregation, ice cream and missing lesbians

It is the summer of 1958 in Dewmont, Texas, a town the great American postwar boom passed by. The kids listen to rockabilly on the radio and waste their weekends at the Dairy Queen. And an undetected menace simmers under the heat that clings to the skin like molasses. . .
For thirteen-year-old Stanley Mitchell, the end of innocence comes with his discovery of the mysterious long-ago demise of two very different young women. In his quest to unravel the truth about their tragic fates, Stanley finds a protector in Buster Lighthorse Smith, a black, retired Indian-reservation cop and a sage on the finer points of Sherlock Holmes, the blues, and life's faded dreams.
But not every buried thing stays dead. And on one terrifying night of rushing creek water and thundering rain, an arcane, murderous force will rise from the past to threaten the Stanley and everything he holds dear.
Vintage Lansdale, A FINE DARK LINE brims with exquisite suspense, powerful characterizations, and the vibrant evocation of a lost time.

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Praise for A Fine Dark Line

  • Part detective story, part horror chiller and part Huck Finn adventure yarn... vividly captures the atmosphere of an isolated, backwards little town. - NEW STATESMAN

  • As always Joe Lansdale writes with a gentle reverence for the past and the present. I love his books and this is one of the very best. - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY - MARK TIMLIN

  • Evocative coming-of-age novel - THE TIMES - Christina Koning

  • Entertaining, fast-paced, and bristling with hidden menace. - THE TIMES - KATE SAUNDERS

  • The reader leaves this book not only having experiences a good read and a satisfying ending, but also with a real understanding of a time and place in US history and the timelessness of serious issues fluently argued throughout the novel. This is an excellent book - NEW BOOKS

  • a charming tale about growing up, and a vivid recreation of a world that no longer exists - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - SUSANNA YAGER

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Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than a dozen novels, including Sunset and Sawdust, Rumble Tumble and The Bottoms. He has received the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, the Edgar Award, the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, and seven Bram Stoker Awards. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Visit his website at, follow him on Twitter @joelansdale or find him on Facebook at