Totally engrossing southern gothic tale which takes place in the racially segreated South of the depression era. Two children find the body of a dead black woman near the river and fear that the fabled Goat Man is responsible. The ensuing investigation into the murder lead the boy and his family through the many layers of society in the tiny rural community and ultimately into the path of the real murderer. I found it hard to put down once begun. Being from the south and having grown up hearing stories from my parents and grandparents of life in the segregated South, this story really resonated in so many ways. The story is a murder mystery but it is also a coming of age tale and a glimpse of the lives of people affected by racial segregation and prejudice. Joe Lansdale is a wonderful writer and has also written several other Southern mystery books - you might want to check out "The Drive-In" or "A Thin Dark Line".
What a great read! The character's are engaging, the story is captivating. The descriptive language is rich throughout the entire book. The setting is in Texas; in fact, I feel like I just visited Texas after reading the book.
Written in the manner of Harper Lee and William Faulkner, this takes you back to another time and place. Set in the East Texas in the depression of the 30's, murder by a serial killer within this small community becomes turning point of another story of a young boy growing up in rural America. Wonderfully and powerfully written, this will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This was a great book, much like "To Kill a Mockingbird" which I adore... I am so glad I was able to get a copy and read it, I have already passed it on to my mom!!!!
Very well done. I could not put the book down, each page brought a new piece of a puzzle.
Mezmerizing. An East Texas take on how it was for race relations in the 1930s. We've come a long way since then, thank goodness.
I loved this book! This is one of those stories that I didn't want to end. The story is narrated by Harry Collins, who is in a nursing home, reflecting back upon his youth, the years 1933-34, during The Great Depression. He and his family lived in East Texas, where he and his little sister Tom ran wild and played in The Bottoms, an area close to their home, alongside the Sabine River. There was a legendary creature called The Goat Man, and Harry and Tom were always looking for him, hoping to catch a glimpse of this legendary creature. When a series of murders occur, Harry is almost sure it is the work of The Goat Man. What ensues is something that no one in this small town could ever imagine. This is a GREAT read!
The Bottoms is a thriller that really captures the feel of the deep south in the 1930s as seen through the eyes of a child growing up in the backwoods. When black women start disappearing and then showing up dead, racial tensions rise to a breaking point. The local sheriff falls apart when the wrong man is committed of the crimes and is hung by the Klan. Eventually the true killer resurfaces to threaten the sheriff's family in his own backyard.
The tone and the language of this book make it a winner. The Bottoms, by Joe R. Lansdale, is the winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel for good reason.
I love this book! It was a great mystery which kept me guessing, a great coming of age story with very likable kids, a great family drama with wonderful adults as well. I began to suspect the killer, then changed my mind several times. Many twists involved in this. Great book! I'll definitely read more by Mr. Lansdale.
I really enjoyed this book. This book dealt with the ugly face of racism in the 1930"s, while still managing to tell its own story. You came to know the people in the book, while still being amazed at their plight and the unsettled social times. Joe Lansdale takes you on a journey that opens your eyes to some of lifes brutal realities, then waits right up to the final chapters before revealing the identity of his offender. This book is thought provoking, turns you from laughter to action and suspense, and boldly reminds you of mans inhumanity to man. This is one of those dark novels that grip you and forces you down in the depths of distruction, commands you to continue to read, but then takes you back where you began the story, in a much better(?) day and time.
I would not recommend this book for those who cannot read about past racial intolerances because Lansdale does a very good job of bringing to light the injustices of racial inequality of the 1930's.
This is one of my all time favorite stories. Very well written, great characters, I just love Joe R. Lansdale.
As a winner of the Edgar Award I expected a lot more than the book delivered. This is the second Joe R. Lansdale novel that has been a let down for me. i have another Lansdale book on my Wish List but it's coming off right now!
This is a great story about a boy in the country, Could not put it down.
This is probably the best book I have read this year! I recently read Freezer Burn by Lansdale which I thought was great but The Bottoms is so much more. It is a mystery novel, but more than that, it tells the story of what it was like living in the South during the Depression including the racial hatred, trying to scratch out a living, and general day-to-day existence. It is told from the point of view of the main character, Harry, when he is old and living in a nursing home. Harry looks back to when he was a boy in the 1930's, living in East Texas in a small town on the Sabine River. Harry's father, Jacob, is the local constable and is one of the central characters in the novel. Early in the story, Harry and his sister, Tom (short for Thomasina) happen upon a dead black women who is tied to a tree with barbed wire near the river. Since the woman is black, the white community doesn't want to get involved--if the killer is white, no jury would convict him; if the killer is black, well, it's between the blacks. Although Harry's father and mother do not feel this way, the majority of the townspeople do. Then after a second killing occurs, it becomes obvious that a serial killer is at work, although serial killers were pretty much unheard of at the time. Harry and his sister believe that the killer is a supernatural being called The Goat Man. But Jacob knows better, and must try to solve the crime before the KKK gets involved and hurt innocent people.
This book had been compared to To Kill a Mockingbird and is very reminiscent of that wonderful story with Jacob in the role of Atticus and Harry and Tom being like Scout. I also saw a review saying this was a cross between Mockingbird and Silence of the Lambs. Also apropos! Overall, a very enjoyable mystery with fine writing that could be considered great literature. High recommendation!
I enjoyed this book but I kept comparing the characters in the story to those in "To Kill a Mockingbird". 2 children, a father respected by the black community, a death of a woman by a suspected black man, the young daughter attacked, young daughter saved by a man rarely seen. I know the breadth of the 2 stories are different but still there was a lot of similarities for me.