Book Review: FREEZER BURN by Joe R. Lansdale

One of those “can’t put down” one-sitting reads. No words were wasted. FREEZER BURN reminds me of the black and white movie FREAKS combined with a few signature details from EAST OF EDEN.

The protagonist, Bill, is not a good person-he’s ignorant and self-centered so being in his head as he narrates is sometimes sad, very offensive, and frustrating but there are a few characters that balance that ugliness out. Bill finds himself in a bad situation so instead of taking ownership of what he’s done, he flees the scene and goes into hiding. Eventually, he winds up at a traveling show and is immediately accepted by the master of ceremonies. He does some odd jobs here and there, blending in with the community of circus people because his body is covered in bug bites from when he was hiding out in a nearby swamp evading the authorities.

When the bug bites go away, he is noticed by the master of ceremonies’ wife, Gidget. She reminds me of the woman that comes between the brothers in EAST OF EDEN. She just has this lustful magnetism and power over weak-willed men helpless to abstain from her temptations.

He definitely gets in over his head with her and all hell breaks loose.

I will never forget this story. All the atmosphere of a vintage freak show carnival, Lansdale’s character development and storytelling style (laugh-out-loud moments/ gross, cringe-worthy scenes), and non-stop action/drama. It’s basically everything I’ve ever wanted from my reading experience.

Sadie Hartmann “Mother Horror”