Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Drive-In 3 by Joe R. Lansdale

I'd say that this third and final installment of The Drive-In Trilogy was the best, as the third in any trilogy should be. Although, unlike the first two installments, it did lack a colorful central villain. We are given a baddie named Bjoe, but he's not really in the same category as The Popcorn King and Popalong Cassidy. He's more mundane. But I would argue that the real villain in this final volume is the Drive-In world itself. This is more of a man against an uncaring, insane universe type of story than a take down the bad guy story. And it was excellent.

With The Drive-In series, Lansdale expertly combines elements of horror, adventure, science-fiction, absurdism, social satire, and post-apocalyptic survival. And running throughout there is a deep thread of dark, dark humor that I greatly appreciated.

I think readers' opinions will be divided on how Lansdale wraps this whole crazy thing up. Some will hate the ending, some will love it. I doubt many would fall anywhere in between. I loved it. Although the way things worked themselves out wasn't entirely unexpected, it was unexpectedly thought-provoking. Suddenly, the laughter just stops, and you're left stunned, unpacking an infinite series of Russian nesting dolls fashioned out of cruelty, suffering, and abuse.

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