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Bad Chili (a Hap and Leonard Novel) by Joe R. Lansdale (1997) (read in 2018)

Published by marco on

Disclaimer: these are notes I took while reading this book. They include citations I found interesting or enlightening or particularly well-written. In some cases, I’ve pointed out which of these applies to which citation; in others, I have not. Any benefit you gain from reading these notes is purely incidental to the purpose they serve of reminding me what I once read. Please see Wikipedia for a summary if I’ve failed to provide one sufficient for your purposes. If my notes serve to trigger an interest in this book, then I’m happy for you.

Hap starts off the book with rabies. Leonard starts off the book as a suspect in the murder of a biker who was fooling around with Raul. Hap’s rabies leads him to meet Brett Sawyer, a dirty night nurse with whom he begins a torrid affair. Leonard and Hap investigate to clear Leonard’s name, all the while staying out of the reach of the law—except for Charlie, who’s almost certain that Leonard didn’t do it.

Things get more complicated as the biker turns out to have been not only an undercover cop, but also a dirty (different meaning than for Brett) undercover cop. In the mix is a local Chili King, who’s got a lot of markets cornered and is mixed up in some very sordid businesses. There’s also the matter of some videotapes that show gay guys getting thrashed for being gay. They team up with Jim-Bob Luke—a private investigator with a lot of luck and very loose ethics—to finally crack the case.


“You seem happy enough,” I said.

“It’s smile or die, darlin’.”

“Then why do you do this?”

“’Cause I’m divorced and the landlord won’t fuck me for the rent.”

I laughed and she laughed.

Page 27

Kevin said, “What you gonna do, fuckhead?”

“I can either sit you down and have a nice talk, or punch your lights out. Since I figure you’ll be a boring conversationalist, I like the second idea.”

Page 143