The Nightrunners by Joe R. Lansdale

The NightrunnersDean wrote the Introduction to this classic horror novel…

Everybody remembers their first Joe R. Lansdale story.

Mine was “Night They Missed the Horror Show,” which I read in the anthology Splatterpunks in 1991. To say I was unprepared for this black-hearted tale of racist hillbilly snuff-film purveyors and the high-school hellraisers who inadvertently stumble upon their doings is an understatement. Like a sucker punch to a soft belly or a club to the base of the skull, “Horror Show” leaves you stunned, out of breath, a hurt growing inside you that you know won’t be leaving any time soon. Hasn’t left me this quarter-century later. I know Lansdale would have it no other way.

Funny thing was, I craved that feeling. Sought it out. So within a couple months I’d finally tracked down Lansdale’s 1987 novel The Nightrunners (published in paperback by Tor, March 1989). I recall coming home one afternoon from the bookstore I worked at with my brand-new copy, going into my room, locking the door and then reading it in one white-hot unputdownable session. That had never happened to me before; I usually savored my horror fiction over several late nights. ButThe Nightrunners wouldn’t let go. Lansdale’s skill in doling out suspense and the threat/promise of the horrible things to come is unbeatable. He even tells you flat-out, after quoting a newspaper article about victims of a “Rapist Ripper,” that “no one knew there was a connection between the two savaged bodies and what was going to happen to Montgomery and Becky Jones.” You know you got to keep reading after that!

Read more @ Tor.com.

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