Cover image for Freezer burn
Freezer burn
Lansdale, Joe R., 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Mysterious Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
245 pages ; 24 cm
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Hideously disfigured during a bungled firecracker stand hold-up, Bill joins a traveling freak show to evade police. He doesn't stand out too much among the dogmen, bearded women, hermaphrodites, and the mysterious frozen man whose sinister aura seems to link them all.

Author Notes

Joe R. Lansdale was born in Gladewater, Tex. in 1951. He attended Tyler Junior College, the University of Texas at Austin, and Stephen F. Austin State University. Lansdale has also had a varied career, having worked as a bouncer, a bodyguard, a transportation manager, a custodian, and a karate instructor before becoming a fulltime writer in 1981.

Lansdale's written work includes several novels and more than 200 short stories. Although his favorite genre is fantasy, with suspense a close second, he has also written mysteries, horror, science fiction, and westerns. Some titles include Rumble Tumble, Dead in the West, The Nightrunners, Cold in July, By Bizarre Hands and The Drive-in (a 'B' Movie with Blood and Popcorn. Made in Texas) . In addition, Lansdale has edited the short-story anthologies Best of the West, The New Frontier: Best of the West 2, and Razored Saddles.

Lansdale has received five Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers of America, including one for "The Night They Missed the Horror Show." He has also been awarded the British Fantasy Award and the American Horror Award.

Joe Lansdale and his second wife, Karen, have two children. They live in Nacagdoches, Tex.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Bill Roberts is reduced to eating canned beets in the dark because he can't pay the electric bill or buy food. It's his mother's fault. She died in the back bedroom months ago, and Bill can't finagle her signature on the social-security checks. She's still in the back bedroom, stinkin' to high heaven, when Bill decides to rob the firecracker stand across the highway. Bill couldn't plan a trip to the fridge, let alone a robbery, and he leaves behind death and destruction as he escapes through the swamps. He can't escape the mosquitoes, though, and the thousands of bites leave him looking like a circus freak. He finally gets lucky and falls in with a traveling circus. The owner of the circus, John Frost, takes a shine to Bill. So does Frost's wife, Gidget. Bill, knothead that he is, forsakes friendship for sex, and the result is a backwater tragedy in which only the clever survive. Lansdale collects awards like Mark McGwire collects homers, and in the last few years, he has been expanding his readership through the misadventures of his amateur Texas sleuths, Leonard Pine and Hap Collins. This stand-alone comic novel turns on the theory that not all crimes are high crimes and one woman's vision of paradise can create a hell on earth for guys whose hearts are in the right place but whose brains have slipped south of their belt buckles. Lansdale may have a screw or two loose, but he is a master storyteller and an immensely talented writer. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Professional loser Bill Roberts's mother has died, and if he buries her he'll lose her pension checks, which he's also afraid to cash. Out of money and food, he joins two idiot friends and concocts a robbery of a neighboring firecracker stand. They botch the job and flee into the swamps, where Bill escapes, his face so swollen with mosquito bites that John Frost, manager of a traveling carnival and freak show, takes him in. Frost is married to the gorgeous, blonde Gidget, a virtual sex-machine and the most desirable woman Bill has ever seen. Bill is soon immersed in a world of freaks, where he makes friends with Conrad the Wonder Dog and U.S. Grant, the bearded lady, and quickly becomes embroiled with Gidget in a Double Indemnity-style plot to kill Frost and take over the business. Lansdale outdoes himself in rendering sophomoric sexual fantasy and graphic, stomach-turning passages of lurid behavior. There's also an inordinate amount of concern with penile size, bouncing breasts and tiny jeans shorts. As protagonist, Bill is not as much a hero as victim of circumstance, a man who "everywhere he turned is socked by the mallet of stupidity." But at the story's climax, Lansdale reveals Bill to be a true sucker, and unfortunately, readers may not be sympathetic to or appreciative of his folly. The details of East Texas swamps and forests seem on target, although the humor often misfires with overloaded similes and strained attempts to be outrageous. Still, this a page-turner suitable for bus or beach and for anyone with a predilection for tacky raunchiness and a yen for what teenagers call "gross-outs." (Sept.) FYI: Lansdale is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award and five Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers of America. He has written or edited 31 books, including 16 novels. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

While not dumber than a fence post, Bill Roberts is not noticeably smarter either. When his mother dies abruptly, Bill douses her remains with cologne, swathes the whole in plastic bags, and hopes that he can continue to cash her social security checks. His next brainstorm involves recruiting two buddies to rob a fireworks stand. During the holdup and its aftermath, the storeowner is shot, one of the accomplices gets a Roman candle lodged in his brain, and the other is bitten to death by water moccasins. Bill ends up as part of a traveling freak show, where he gets acquainted with a pair of African American Siamese twins, the Dog Man, and the Ice Man, a shadowy presence and the show's star attraction. This menagerie is presided over by a benevolent beardless Santa Claus whose curvaceous wife uses her manifold charms to persuade Bill that they ought to murder her husband. The irrepressible Lansdale (Rumble Tumble) continues to amuse and astonish with his outrageous storytelling. Definitely not for the squeamish, but highly recommended for those who enjoy the worm in their mezcal.ÄBob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.