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The Donut Legion


The Donut Legion

Charlie Garner has a pretty active imagination. He’s a writer, after all. But when he has a conversation with his ex-wife, Meg, late one night only to discover she’s not really there, he has to wonder what’s going on. Is it an omen or intuition? He decides to check it out and learns that Meg and her new husband haven’t been seen for about a week. So he goes over to have a little conference with his brother, Felix, who agrees it definitely sounds ominous.

Charlie snoops around a bit more and stirs up some unwanted interest from “The Saucer People,” a nearby cult awaiting a sign that they’re needed to fight for a new world, or something like that. To Charlie, their purpose is a bit fuzzy, and he thinks it probably seems that way to the “true believers” out at the compound, too. But the locals tend to leave them alone, mostly because they bring money to the area and haven’t caused much trouble. At least not yet. But that’s about to change.

"THE DONUT LEGION satisfies on so many levels. Joe R. Lansdale grabs your interest from the first page; he immediately has your attention on high alert and your funny bone working overtime."

Charlie must have hit a nerve with his poking around, because an old --- and very large --- “friend” of Felix pays the brothers a visit with a veiled warning from the leader of the Saucer People, a man called Cowboy. He suggests it wouldn’t be wise to run afoul of Cowboy or his sidekick, Mr. Biggs, a ruthless chimpanzee whose enjoyment consists mostly of extreme violence. In fact, it would be best to just drop the whole search for Meg right now. Yeah, well, that’s not going to happen.

In the meantime, Charlie has picked up another --- much more pleasant --- acquaintance along the way, Amelia Moon, who goes by Scrappy for some reason. She says she is a journalist and wants to write a book (with Charlie, if possible) about the Saucer People. That might actually be fun if their leader didn’t have a hit out on Charlie and Felix. While laying low, the Garner brothers and Scrappy toss around ideas about how to uncover what happened to Meg, particularly if they want to remain among the living. They even consider asking for help from the cops. But it’s hard to know who to trust because there are true believers all over town, even in the police ranks.

However, nothing will stop Charlie and Felix, not when it comes to a good adventure and, more importantly, saving lives. Felix, besides being enormously strong and confident, also has Cherry, his girlfriend and brilliant attorney, to back him up. Charlie has Scrappy, who has a little knife and some killer driving skills. And he also has a torch he’s still carrying for Meg. That may not sound like a well-equipped army to go up against a giant Cowboy and his insane chimpanzee, but you’re forgetting the power of good when fighting evil, and righteousness. True, that still might not be enough, so there’s also tenacity and some luck thrown in.

THE DONUT LEGION satisfies on so many levels. Joe R. Lansdale grabs your interest from the first page; he immediately has your attention on high alert and your funny bone working overtime. It’s not all giggles, though. There’s a serious thread woven in. Haven’t we all had that one friend who truly believed in (what we considered to be) a ridiculous conspiracy or joined a sect that could have turned deadly? This page-turning thriller slaps some sense into the general idea that it’s okay to go that far outside of norms and exposes how crazy concepts can captivate otherwise intelligent people. In addition to all of that, it’s pure entertainment.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on March 25, 2023

The Donut Legion
by Joe R. Lansdale

  • Publication Date: March 21, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Humor, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316540684
  • ISBN-13: 9780316540681