Dead on the Bones: Pulp on Fire
by Joe R Lansdale
Cover Artist: Timothy Truman
Review by Mario Guslandi
Subterranean Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781596067479
Date: 30 November 2016 List Price $40.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Let's get this straight, if you are a pulp fiction enthusiast this is the book for you. If you don't care for that genre, keep off, or you'll probably end up being bored.
Joe R Lansdale is a widely known and prolific horror writer, endowed with a strong, vivid narrative style. He clearly states in his Introduction to this volume that he has also been an avid reader of pulp authors such as Robert E Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, two of his youth's idols to whom he now pays tribute with a collection of eight of his own stories.
Some of the included tales are strictly linked to the works of the above authors: "Tarzan and The Land That Time Forgot" (expressly approved by the Burroughs estate) is actually a breathtaking new adventure of the famous ape man. Also loosely following Burrough's steps is "Under the Warrior Star" which features Lansdale's own creature, Braxton Booker, now involved in a SF action thriller.
The title story, "Dead on the Bones", is an excellent, colorful piece where witchcraft allows a boxing game to take place between a living scoundrel and his dead, angry brother.
In "Redheaded Dead", we enjoy the return of Lansdale's famous character, Reverend Mercer, who returns to face a difficult task, namely getting rid of a vampire freed from his grave due to a powerful storm.
"King of the Cheap Romance" is a SF piece where a courageous girl has to experience the dangers of moving around on the planet Mars.
"The Wizard on the Trees" is a kind of sword and sorcery piece where a passenger of the sinking Titanic find himself unexpectedly transported to Venus.
"Naked Angel", a crime story revolving around a female corpse imprisoned in ice, shows Lansdale at the top of his game as a skilled storyteller.
In short, if you are a fan of pulp fiction, there's a lot to enjoy in this book.