Poe Boy

East Texas author Joe Lansdale rises to the top of a bloody literary heap

"Joe's finally ready to break out, big," says Alvin-based author and college professor Bill Crider. "I've known him for over 20 years and saw the ability and the ambition way back when. It's just taken a while for the reading public to catch up to him. If the publishing industry had a Billboard Top 100, he'd now be on it--with a bullet."

"It was time," Lansdale says, "to see if I could stretch things a bit." So he's stepped back from the routine of machine-gun output and is focusing his attention on his next mainstream effort that is tentatively titled Sunset and Sawdust, which has the East Texas sawmill industry as its backdrop.

What, no more creepy-crawler stuff? No more off-the-wall comic book writing? No more Hap and Leonard crime-solving frolics?

"Well..." Lansdale says, "there are a few things still in the works." Like Captains Outrageous, another in his mystery series, due out next year. And Mad Dog Summer, a collection of short stories that's ready for publication. And Zeppelin West, a fantasy now finished. And, oh yeah, did he mention that the movie version of his novella, Bubba Hotel, starring Ossie Davis, will be coming to a theater near you soon? Or that the paperback edition of The Bottoms is on the way?

Not shy, he is quick to admit that he'd like nothing more than to climb past some of the brand-name writers onto the Times' bestseller list. "That's greed and ego talking," he admits. "The simple fact is, the more people who buy your books, the more are likely to read you. That's what I'd like to see happen."

But, whether it does or not, it still beats all to hell assembling aluminum furniture.

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