Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review: Devil Red


If you are a fan of Joe Lansdale's series featuring Hap and Leonard, then all you need to know is that the newest novel featuring them, Devil Red, is out. Go get it.

If you aren't a fan of Lansdale's work, you should be. He writes good, for a white boy. 

He's also a martial arts master who has created his own system, and when he does a fight scene and wants to make it play, you can tell that he knows some stuff.

Other than that, I'm not gonna say much, save for this: In the previous adventure, Vanilla Ride, there was some gun stuff Joe got wrong. I pointed it out, and offered to vet stuff if he wanted. He thanked me, and said he'd consider that.

When I saw the book, not having gotten the call to look at gun stuff, I figured he found somebody else. 

Not exactly ...

On page 75, there is a gun reference, and I'm going to quote part of the graph in this here review:

"I mention is was a Super because if I don't Leonard always says something like, 'They don't actually make thirty-eights in automatic.' And I always think if they don't, then why do they call it a .38 with a word behind it? Shouldn't he know I'm talking about a .38 Super? Gun fanatics make my ass tired ... "

Made me laugh out loud, and is an elegant and unexpected way of dealing with it. Nice. 


Steve Perry said...

Yeah, yeah, I know, Joe is making a point while he misses one -- aside from .38 Super, there are a few other modifiers -- .38 Short Colt, .38 Long Colt, .38 S&W Special (usually just written as .38 Special.) And that .38 is more like .357 .... but at least he addressed it ...

Scott said...

They do, of course, make .38s in automatic, e.g.

Steve Perry said...

Your verb is off a hair: Not "do," but "did." .38 ACP pistols were around during the Prohibition days, but nobody makes one now in semi-auto. I don't think anybody is making that ammo, either, and if you run .38 Super through your grandpaw's old Colt .38, be sure your life insurance is up-to-date. Good chance it will blow apart.

The initial offering was too hot for the Colt 1900, and it was dialed down to an anemic round that led to the 1911 in .45 ACP when the weakened bullet didn't stop attackers.

The most recent production model of a pistol in .38 Special is the S&W M52, a five-shot target pistol that fires wadcutters only. It's a heavy, solid gun, but unless you hotload your own ammo, it's strictly a paper-puncher. Expensive, hard to find, and out of production for years. Used ones go for around a thousand bucks, last I looked.

There have been conversions, custom jobs wherein smiths converted .45 slabsides into .38 Special, but these were also mostly for target shooting.

9mm holds this slot -- the bullets are the same size, and the cartridge available worldwide.

If Our Hero was carrying anything in ".38 auto," as his action piece, it would be an antique or rare enough so merit mention, just as it would if he was hauling around a .31 Navy Colt cap-and-ball. Gun guys know this, and Our Hero, if he is supposed to be a gun guy, would, at the very least, name the piece correctly, and maybe even point out of the oddity of his choice, for it would be remarkable. Gun guys would grin.

Fiction writers who say ".38 auto" almost always do so out of ignorance, just like Joe did.

Shady_Grady said...

I've not read the Hap and Leonard series but I've read some of Lansdale's speculative fiction/horror. I liked it.

Is the Hap and Leonard stuff similar at all to the Bob Lee Swagger/Earl Swagger stuff that Hunter does? I like those.

Steve Perry said...

Yes and no. Hap is a Texas redneck, except that his best friend Leonard is a gay black man. They tend to get beat on a lot, and folks get shot, but Lansdale is a good writer and I've gotten hooked on their adventures.