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Extended Audio Sample Sunset and Sawdust, by Joe R. Lansdale Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (733 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joe R. Lansdale Narrator: Joe R. Lansdale Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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He has been called “hilarious…refreshing…a terrifically gifted storyteller with a sharp country-boy wit” (Washington Post Book World), and praised for his “folklorist’s eye for telling detail and [his] front-porch raconteur’s sense of pace” (New York Times Book Review). Now, Joe R. Landsdale gives us a fast-moving, electrifying new novel: a murder mystery set in a steamy backwater of Depression-era East Texas.

It begins with an explosion: Sunset Jones kills her husband with a bullet to the brain. Never mind that he was raping her. Pete Jones was constable of the small sawmill town of Camp Rapture (“Camp Rupture” to the local blacks), where no woman, least of all Pete’s, refuses her husband what he wants.

So most everyone is surprised and angry when, thanks to the unexpected understanding of her mother-in-law—three-quarter owner of the mill—Sunset is named the new constable. And they’re even more surprised when she dares to take the job seriously: beginning an investigation into the murder of a woman and an unborn baby whose oil-drenched bodies are discovered buried on land belonging to the only black landowner in town. Yet no one is more surprised than Sunset herself when the murders lead her—through a labyrinth of greed, corruption, and unspeakable malice—not only to the shocking conclusion of the case, but to a well of inner strength she never knew she had.

Landsdale brings the thick backwoods and swamps of East Texas vividly to life, and he paints a powerfully evocative picture of a time when Jim Crow and the Klan ruled virtually unopposed, when the oil boom was rolling into and over Texas, when any woman who didn’t know her place was considered a threat and a target. In Sunset, he gives us a woman who defies all expectations, wrestling a different place for herself with spirit and spit, cunning and courage. And in Sunset and Sawdust he gives us a wildly energetic novel—galvanizing from first to last.

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Quotes & Awards

  • [Sunset and Sawdust is] filled with turns and twists, nastiness, broad humor, moments of grace. . . . Lansdale is a storyteller in the great American tradition. The Boston Globe
  • A wonderfully nasty piece of work [that] inspires I-can’t-believe-this laughter. . . . Very entertaining. Newsday
  • The opening . . . will grab unsuspecting readers by the lapels and pull them right in. . . . Lansdale's prose--laconic and sarcastic--is so thick with slang and regional accent that it's as tasty as a well-cured piece of beef jerky. The Denver Post
  • Lansdale is an exceptional storyteller . . . readers will feel the Texas heat and hear the story in the author's unique East Texas drawl. The vivid characterization will make readers cheer for the protagonist and boo the villain. Rocky Mountain News
  • Delivers the unexpected and bizarre that his fans have come to expect. . . . The narrative is entertaining, but Lansdale’s patently unvarnished storytelling–backwoods and brash all at once–is the real reason to crack this cover. Texas Monthly
  • Funny, bloody and bizarre. . . . Another five-star doozy of a tale from an immensely talented and original storyteller. The Flint Journal
  • Sunset Jones is the kind of woman that men who drink in East Texas bars would call a ‘pistol.’ As a tornado rips through the sawmill camp town of Rapture, in the rousing opening scene of Joe R. Lansdale’s historical barnburner Sunset and Sawdust, Sunset finally puts a stop to her husband Pete’s bloody beatings. . . . Soon Sunset has her own posse, including a wonderful dog whose abject adoration of the fiery gunslinger pretty much sums up this reader’s feelings. The New York Times Book Review
  • A first-rate whodunnit. . . . [Lansdale] knows how to tell a story. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
  • Sly, easy-paced and so comfortable in its setting that it becomes almost seductive. This is what good storytelling is all about. Arizona Republic
  • Lansdale can catch that meandering East Texas twang in his writing, but just as quickly he can tighten the plot and our stomachs with a turn of phrase. . . . Lansdale gives us both atmosphere and action. Winston-Salem Journal
  • Surrealistic. . . . Unpredictable. . . . A darker kind of storytelling. Pittsburg Tribune-Review

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Deb Mjaatvedt | 1/4/2014

    " I'd give this 3.5 if I could. It's pretty raw and quirky, but I was definitely entertained. I'll give Lansdale another try in the future. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Andrew | 1/3/2014

    " One of the rare Lansdale books I hadn't read. Nice little yarn. Always a good time with Joe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jjsteele | 12/26/2013

    " This is a good quick read. Just like most of Joe R. Lansdales books. I would recommend it, just don't be bothered by the use of the N word as it is on just about every page. But it was in the old south so just don't be offended by it. All in all it is a good story. About a woman who must take back the power taken from her by a wife beating rapist. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Dan | 12/14/2013

    " My first Lansdale book. The characters are interesting. Situations in the book vary from humorous to brutal. Lansdale seems to have a grasp of creating sensible motivations for his characters whether they be protagonists or antagonists. I especially enjoyed how he created a picture of Depression-era Texas that didn't require any foreknowledge. "

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