Hell's Bounty by Joe and John Lansdale


The Lansdale Bros. Classic is Coming to BookVoice in a New Edition

Five years after its initial release, HELL’S BOUNTY - the Weird Western tale from brothers Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale - is returning to print in an all-new paperback edition from BookVoice Publishing.

In HELL’S BOUNTY, the reader will join bounty hunter Smith as he begins his search in the town of Falling Rock, in what Daniel Robichaud at ConsideringStories calls “a fast-paced, intense and enjoyable work…The images are striking and strange and as convincing as a lucid dream.”

HELL’S BOUNTY will be released later this year in a new paperback edition, along with the digital eBook version.

Below is the first chapter of the book:


    A full moon hung at the peak of a shadowy mountain like a gold coin on a pedestal, shining thin light into the narrow canyon below. Above it all, shimmering white dots filled the dark velvet sky. A lone wolf’s howl echoed across the canyon as if it were trying to call up the dead. When the howl faded, the ground began to shake, rumbling louder and louder.
    At the summit of a narrow, rising grade, an old boarded up mine shaft trembled and dripped dirt. The boards in front of the mine cracked and blew out in a spin of splinters and dust. A dark cloud coughed out of the shaft, soared toward the sky, temporarily blotted out the moon. The cloud tore apart with a screech, burst into a horde of chattering bats flying in all directions, once again revealing the gold doubloon moon.
The bats flew a short distance, merged, and raced toward a smattering of lights from the town of Falling Rock. In one elegant swoop they dove, soared above the dusty street that centered the town, fluttered past the sound of a plinking piano and shrill laughter spilling out of the dimly lit Sundown Saloon.
    Horses out front, tied to the hitching post, began to snort. The twisted mass of bats rose up and appeared to swim through the sky, toward a church belfry, toward the tall bell tower there, gathered in it thick as wet rot, and once collected there, there was a puffing sound and a thick twirl of black shadow. The shadow hardened, formed a dark image with eyes like wounds. Wings flapped from the shape’s back, gathered up moonlight and folded it into the wings and tossed it out again. It flexed its hands and took in a breath so deep the night sky seemed to shudder.
    With a flip of a dark hand, a small box became visible. With a touch of its other hand, the box lid sprang open and red lights jumped out of the box like inflamed grasshoppers. The lights twisted into odd shapes and the little shapes darted about the tower and ricocheted off the huge bell like gunfire. Then they slowed and went for the inside of the bell and clung to it, hissed like ants on a hot skillet, burned themselves into its interior. Finally, they were still and the hissing stopped and the glowing stopped and what they left imprinted deep in the metal of the bell were hieroglyphic-like impressions.
    The shadowy thing snapped the box closed and let out with a sound like it had just eaten something tasty. The box was deftly put away and the great winged shadow leaped from the tower, fell for a long distance, then flapping its leathery wings, rose up against the moonlight briefly, sailed away, filling the air with a whiff of sulfur.

John L. Lansdale has released ten novels and novellas with BookVoice Publishing — from the action-packed Slow Bullet, which Publishers Weekly compared favorably to the works of Mickey Spillane; to the four-book Mecana detective series, which follows a private eye on the hunt for serial killers in the Lone Star State; and most recently, Beyond Imagination, a collection of original short stories (and a few fan favorites) spanning different genres. He has also co-authored two books with his brother Joe R. Lansdale, Shadows West and Hell’s Bounty.

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of the Drive-In series, Bubba Ho-Tep and its prequel, The Magic Wagon (all BookVoice releases) along with about fifty novels and about 40 short-story collections and comic-book adaptations. His stories have won ten Bram Stoker Awards. a British Fantasy Award, an Edgar Award, a World Horror Convention Grand Master Award, a Sugarprize, a Grinzane Cavour Prize for Literature, a Spur Award, and a Raymond Chandler Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and several of his novels have been adapted to film.