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Sunset and Sawdust

Cover of Sunset and Sawdust

Sunset and Sawdust

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In the middle of a cyclone, beautiful, red-haired Sunset Jones shoots her husband Pete dead when he tries to beat and rape her. To Camp Rapture's general consternation, Sunset's mother-in-law arranges...More
In the middle of a cyclone, beautiful, red-haired Sunset Jones shoots her husband Pete dead when he tries to beat and rape her. To Camp Rapture's general consternation, Sunset's mother-in-law arranges...More
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Description-
  • In the middle of a cyclone, beautiful, red-haired Sunset Jones shoots her husband Pete dead when he tries to beat and rape her. To Camp Rapture's general consternation, Sunset's mother-in-law arranges for her to take over from Pete as town constable. As if that weren't hard enough to swallow in depression era east Texas, Sunset actually takes the job seriously, and her investigation into a brutal double murder pulls her into a maelstrom of greed, corruption, and unspeakable malice. It is a case that will require a well of inner strength she never knew she had.Spirited and electrifying, Sunset and Sawdust is a mystery and a tale like nothing you've read before.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    She was on her back wearing only the top half of her dress, because the bottom half had been ripped away when Pete, during the process of beating her, had stepped on it, and the dress, rotten as politics, had torn and left her clothed only from waist to shoulders.

    It went through her mind that she was down to two dresses now, and that she hated to see this one go, as it, though faded, had a flowery pattern she liked and the colors blended well with the stains.

    But this was a passing thought. She was mostly thinking: How can I stop him from hitting me? She was trying to do this by holding her hands up, but he was beating them down, and her own arms and hands flying back into her face were doing near the damage his fists might have.

    Finally, he hammered her to the floor, followed her down, spread her legs, went to tearing and clawing off the rest of her clothes.

    When the top of her dress ripped open and he jerked loose one side of her bra, revealing her, he said, "There's that tittie." His speech was slurred and his breath seemed to bleed alcohol.

    He raked at her undergarments, tore them and tossed them. When he snapped his gun belt free, he tossed it nearby, and while he was on her, tugging at his zipper, trying to put the mule in the barn, Sunset reached over and slipped his .38 revolver from its holster, and without him being aware, put it to his head, gave him one in the temple.

    When she pulled the trigger the shot was loud as Gabriel blowing her up to heaven, but it was Pete who went to heaven. Or departed anyway. Sunset liked to think he got a nice chair in hell, right next to the oven.

    But in that moment, the shot made her scream, once, sharp and hard as if she had taken the bullet, or as if she had just received a slap on the bottom at birth.

    Pete went limp, not only in the organ he had intended to use, but all over. He said not a word. No "Ouch," "Oh shit," or "Can you believe that?" Things he liked to say under normal circumstances, moments of surprise and duress.

    He just took the hot load, cut a fart near loud as the .38 shot, collapsed, and rode on out on Death's black horse.

    If it wasn't bad enough she had lost her dress, underclothes, and dignity, now all the windows on the east side shook like Marley's chains, then exploded. The door leaped apart as if it had never been anything other than a loosely connected puzzle, and the wind took the roof away.

    She lay there on her back, fragments of clothes fastened to her body, her old flat-heeled shoes still on her feet, a piece of window glass poking out of her shoulder, Pete lying heavy against her. She still had the gun in her hand. The shot had gone in small and hadn't come out big like she expected. It must have been a bad load, jumping around in his brain, making jelly of it. Blood ran from the wound, out of his nose and onto her.

    She rolled him off and looked at him. No mistaking. He wasn't going to recover from this.

    "Surprised you, didn't I?" Sunset said.

    She studied Pete for a long moment, then started to scream as if a banshee were inside of her. But it wasn't screaming you would have heard if you had been in the other room. It was loud enough, but the storm was louder. The house rocked, squeaked, squealed, and whined.

    Then, except for the floor, two ugly chairs, an iron cookstove, Sunset and the dead man, it was all sucked up and thrown lickety-split on down country.

    Sunset, screaming, clung to the floor while the storm raved on.

    The moment the storm passed, the sky turned clear and the sun poked out and stoked up the heat. It was as if the cool...

About the Author-
  • Joe R. Lansdale has written more than a dozen novels in the suspense, horror, and Western genres. He has also edited several anthologies. He has received the British Fantasy Award, the American Mystery Award, six Bram Stoker Awards, and the 2001 Edgar Award for best novel from the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas, with his family.

Reviews-
  • The Boston Globe

    "[Sunset and Sawdust is] filled with turns and twists, nastiness, broad humor, moments of grace. . . . Lansdale is a storyteller in the great American tradition."

  • Newsday "A wonderfully nasty piece of work [that] inspires I-can't-believe-this laughter. . . . Very entertaining."
  • Rocky Mountain News "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."
  • Texas Monthly "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."
  • The Flint Journal "Funny, bloody and bizarre. . . . Another five-star doozy of a tale from an immensely talented and original storyteller."
  • The New York Times Book Review "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 Globe and Mail (Toronto) "A first-rate whodunnit. . . . [Lansdale] knows how to tell a story."
  • Arizona Republic "Sly, easy-paced and so comfortable in its setting that it becomes almost seductive. This is what good storytelling is all about."
  • Winston-Salem Journal "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."
  • Pittsburg Tribune-Review "Surrealistic. . . . Unpredictable. . . . A darker kind of storytelling."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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