Cold in July - Joe R. Lansdale COLD IN JULY starts out with a bang - literally - when everyman Richard Dane is forced to shoot an intruder intent on robbing and possibly murdering his family. Never having murdered someone, Richard is having a hard time of it. He's replaced the bloodstained couch and painted the wall but he still can't forget that awful night.

Overwhelmed with guilt, he attends the funeral of the small time crook and is spotted by the dead man's dangerous ex-con father. Dear old Dad is none too happy with his son's murderer and while he's not dumb enough to come right out and say it he alludes to what a shame it would be if something were to happen to Dane's four-year-old son. An eye for an eye and all that.

This is only the beginning of Dane's weird introduction into a world chock full of bizarre goings-on. Dane's quiet little life will never be the same as he comes face to face with the darkest side of human nature.

Although COLD IN JULY is by no means a light book - it's dark and as suspenseful as a books gets - the best thing about it is it's well drawn, flawed characters and the wickedly funny dialogue. I would excerpt some of my favorite lines but going back through the book I realize they're all pretty nasty. Lansdale's humor probably isn't for everyone but those who like humorous, earthy dialogue will be in for a good howl.