Sugar on the Bones ~ Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tour and Giveaway!


By Joe R. Lansdale

Private Investigator Mystery / Noir Crime / Hard-Boiled Mystery / Lawyers and Criminals Humor
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Pages: 317
Publication Date: July 16, 2024


In this holy mess of a case for the "perpetual bad boy" (New York Times) sleuths in the beloved Hap and Leonard series, PI Duo Hap and Leonard investigate the untimely death of a woman whose family stood much to gain from her passing.

Minnie Polson is dead. Burned to a crisp in a fire so big and bad it had to be deliberate. The only thing worse is that Hap and Leonard could have prevented it. Maybe. Minnie had a feeling she was being targeted, shaken down by some shadowy force. However, when she’d solicited Hap & Leonard, all it took was one off color joke to turn her sour and she’d called them off the investigation. Wracked with a guilty conscience, the two PIs—along with Hap’s fleet-footed wife, Brett—tuck in to the case. As they look closer, they dredge up troublesome facts: for one, Minnie’s daughter, Alice, has recently vanished. She’d been hard up after her pet grooming business went under and was in line to collect a whopping insurance sum should anything happen to her mother. The same was due to Minnie’s estranged husband, Al, whose kryptonite (beautiful, money-grubbing women) had left him with only a run-down mobile home. But did Minnie’s foolish, cash-strapped family really have it in them to commit a crime this grisly? Or is there a larger, far more sinister scheme at work?



Joe R. Lansdale is the author of nearly four dozen novels, including Rusty Puppy, the Edgar-award winning The Bottoms, Sunset and Sawdust, and Leather Maiden. He has received nine Bram Stoker Awards, the American Mystery Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature. He lives with his family in Nacogdoches, Texas.



Sugar on the Bones was my first foray into the world of Hap and Leonard, and this “irreverent, wise-cracking” mystery had me laughing out loud from the first chapter.

So much so, that I stopped every few minutes to read excerpts to my husband. He was barely able to understand what I was saying through my laughter.  

The humor was a welcome contrast not only to the mystery Hap and Leonard were solving but also to the cast of characters Lansdale crafted.

Having grown up in southeast Texas myself, I can confidently say that he captures the deeply ingrained prejudices and resistance to change that exist in pockets of the area.

Yet he does it in a way that shows the complexity of people with big opinions that fly in the face of political correctness who also act in ways that contradict their intolerance.

Lansdale challenges today’s either-or extremism, calling out both sides with statements like, “Common sense needed a turn at the table.” Then he shows us what that common sense looks like, with characters who face their own bias, like Hap’s wife, Brett, who initially rejects their current case because of the client’s gender pronoun declaration.

This is the impressive underpinning of the larger story, the mystery of who killed Minnie Polson and the search for her missing daughter.

The progression of Hap’s relationship with Brett, his wife, and his friendship with Leonard, his crime-solving partner, are deftly woven through the twists and turns of a case that takes them from Texas to Colorado and back.

The loose thread at the end of the story foreshadows another book in the Hap and Leonard series – one that I will read if and when it’s released. In the meantime, I plan to get to know Hap and Leonard better by reading the first twelve books. 

If you loved this story, you’ll enjoy the following shows: Hap and Leonard, Psych, Moonlighting, True Detective, Only Murder in the Building, Perry Mason

You might enjoy listening to the album, Jazz in Film


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