By Joe R. Lansdale

Telling the tautly plotted tale of a contemporary Jack the Ripper's spree in Houston, Lansdale creates a strong mixture of crime, police paintings, and social commentary--all with an eye fixed for picture aspect. Act of affection, his first novel, is a collector's merchandise for Lansdale's previous fanatics and crucial examining for his new ones.

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Sample text

It's a tight, black world crowded with both flesh and poverty; a cesspool of despair. Over thirty-four percent of its residents live below the poverty level compared with Houston's ten percent. The median income of The Ward is just over five thousand dollars, while Houston's overall average is almost ten thousand dollars. The people of this ghetto, like ghettoes everywhere, are swamped in the darkness of ignorance, pain and destruction. But for all its seething hatred and explosive violence, it is endowed with a peculiar sort of pride fostered by emptiness and desperation.

He was just the sort of person that demanded respect; begrudging respect perhaps, but respect, nonetheless. Right now Hanson was in one of his least cheery moods. m. phone call had rung him out of Rachel's arms, out of hiswarm bed and out into the night. That, he supposed, was part of the price you paid for being a cop. Constant interruption, discomfort and aggravation. Not to mention ulcers, hemorrhoids and bunions. In spite of his mood, as always, Hanson was an efficient cop, if a bit on the rough side.

Someday an old one though. Most certainly. One like his mother. All sass and filthy mouth with wine breath and dark gums full of rotten teeth, eyes full of past sins . . Yeah, like his old lady. And when he found her . . and he would find her . . Hack! Hack! Hack! He climbed the stairs with the raincoat tucked securely under his arm. He unlocked his apartment and went into darkness. He went to the dining table without bothering with the light. He knew his apartment well without lights, what little there was to know.

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