In Leather Maiden, Joe Lansdales lead character Cason Statler has big troubles. He lost his last job in Houston because of, ah, shall we say, ill-advised love affairs (with both his bosss wife and daughter!). Hes gone home to the oh-so-glamorous Camp Rapture, Texas, to lick his wounds, but he spends most of his time drunk or stalking his ex-girlfriend. Once a Pulitzer Prize nominee, the only job he can now get is at a tiny local newspaper. He just wants to bide his time and stay happily drunk for a while, but no such luck. Almost immediately, Statler stumbles onto an unsolved case about a co-ed who went missing the previous year. Thing is, Statler thinks that disappearance is connected to a current string of kinky crimes and inexplicable events happening in town. The more he digs into the case, the more hes sure that its all connected somehow. It doesnt help that his digging brings his brother, a history professor who knew the victim, under suspicion. Before its all over, Statlers drawn into a deadly game of blackmail and is hoping the next murder victim wont be him.
A master of the Texas crime novel, Lansdale has won umpty-ump awards, according to his Web site. We know about seven Bram Stoker horror awards as well as the American Mystery Award and the Edgar. Lansdale will read from Leather Maiden, then spend some time in an informal Q&A session before he starts signing copies. 6:30 p.m. Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney. For information, call 832-393-1313 or visit www.hpl.lib.tx.us. Free.
Wed., Aug. 20, 6:30 p.m., 2008
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