Best 2000 Adventures (5)
November 23, 2020
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 2000 adventure novels.
Joe R. Lansdale’s crime adventure The Bottoms.
Harry, an 11-year-old growing up on an East Texas farm during the Depression, is the son of Jacob Collins, the local constable — who is also a barber. When Harry, who as an old man narrates this story, finds a mutilated dead woman in the woods, his father’s investigation takes him out of his own jurisdiction. The local doctor, a racist, won’t bother examining the woman’s body, because she is colored… so Jacob consults a talented black doctor in a nearby community. Harry and his younger sister, “Tom,” suspect that the woman was killed by the Goat Man — a legendary local figure who lives in the Big Thicket. (There are a couple of tense moments, during the course of events, when Harry and Tom are tracked through the Big Thicket — by the Goat Man?) When other women are killed in a similar fashion, the white members of the community place the blame on an innocent black man, whom Jacob temporarily rescues; there is a To Kill a Mockingbird vibe to this coming of age story. There is a lynching, which deeply affects both Jacob and Harry. And the killer remains at large. Whom will he kill next — and can Harry and his sister help bring him to justice?
Fun facts: Winner of the Edgar Award, presented by the Mystery Writers of America. Before Bill Paxton died in 2017, he was co-producing a movie adaptation. Its fate currently remains uncertain.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.