There's no telling where Joe R. Lansdale is going to go with his next piece of fiction. I have a feeling he might not even know what book will spring forth out of his keyboard next. He's covered the spectrum of genres without losing his unique voice.

Jane Goes North is a small press publication. Well, at this point I consider Subterranean Press to be a medium-sized publisher. Unlike Lansdale's major crime novels, Jane Goes North is one that might seem suited to a smaller sector of his fans. When it was announced it looked to me to be sort of a companion to Fender Lizards, which was one of my favorites.

Jane Goes North features crime, but it has more of a mainstream plot. If your idea of the mainstream involves outrageous situations and laugh-out-loud dialogue and descriptions.

Jane is a pretty, rather nice, if financially challenged woman. A tad over her prime, she is estranged from her more successful siblings. Recently unemployed, and the proud owner of a beat-up car that might die at any moment, Jane wants to head north to her sister's wedding.

Jane accepts a ride with Henry, a hard-edged woman with a car not a lot better than her own. They embark on a journey that will test their health, sanity, and their very freedom. I am tempted to hint at the struggles they endure, but that would give away too much of the delicious surprises this wonderful novel has in store for readers.

No one mixes the outrageous with depth of heart as well as Joe, and he has rarely delivered as well as he does with Jane Goes North. You'll laugh your head off, but you might be wiping your eyes by the end of the book.

Jane Goes North is a beautiful story of courage, and it also a darkly comic peek at the underbelly of America. It's a road story with a destination of personal discovery and strength. The novel is ultimately a story of maintaining dignity in the most oppressive and demoralizing circumstances.

I loved Jane Goes North, and I believe most readers will, too. I hope those who only know Joe's work through the Hap and Leonard stories, and his suspense fiction, will take a chance on it.

Jane Goes North was published as a deluxe signed and limited edition from Subterranean. It is available as an ebook, and there is an audio edition. The audiobook is narrated by Kasey Lansdale, who did such a bang-up job reading Fender Lizards.

Written by Mark Sieber



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