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Collection of dark short tales for your summer enjoyment

By James Argendeli
CNN Headline News

"Bumper Crop"
HLN Book Lizard
Joe R. Lansdale

(CNN) -- Time to revisit the to-do list:

•The "Friends" have shared their last cup of coffee (finally) and ended their decade-long run -- check.

• Big budget movies -- same as they ever were -- check

• Gone to the ol' ball park to see the boys of summer -- check.

What to do with your time now? Never fear, the Book Lizard is here with the cure for your "been there, done that" blues.

For your entertainment greenbacks, you get 26 stories all told by that East Texas yarn spinner "hisownself" Joe R. Lansdale in the collection "Bumper Crop." Although the stories have been previously published, this collection features DVD-style bonus introduction tidbits by the author.

Here are a few highlights: In "The Dump," Lansdale gives us a dump yard supervisor who tells a story about what exactly is in the local landfill. It seems that the supervisor's pet Otto has vanished in the bowels of the fill. But if he has, what is that slithering sound slowly making its way toward the office?

"I Tell You It's Love" takes the old cliché about birds of a feather and gives it the Lansdale tweak. Maybe opposites should attract.

The story "Bar Talk" is about a stranger trying to strike up conversation at the local watering hole. The key word here is stranger.

My favorite story in the collection has to be "Bestsellers Guaranteed." Just ponder the question. What would you do to have every book you wrote end up being a huge bestseller? What would you do to get all the perks that go with being a brand name author such as movie deals, fame and being the envy of millions?

Each story is about eight pages in length. When you finish one, you can't help but reach for another one.

"Bumper Crop" by Joe R. Lansdale has been published by Golden Gryphon.

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