Joe R. Lansdale's THE UNLIKELY AFFAIR OF THE CRAWLING RAZOR—An Excerpt and a Review

28th Jan 2024

The Unlikely Affair of the Crawling Razor by Joe R. Lansdale

As we've mentioned, Joe R. Lansdale's most famous—and feared—horror creation, The God of the Razor, returns in the novella, The Unlikely Affair of the Crawling Razor.

We're pleased to present you with a couple of things, an excerpt from the novella, and part of early review from respected horror reviewer and editor, Stefan Dziemianowicz.

The Unlikely Affair of the Crawling Razor

One of our more bizarre investigations happened shortly after we moved to our new location.

My friend and employer, Auguste Dupin, had of recent taken on some highly profitable cases, and therefore we were able to acquire a large house on a less busy street in a somewhat better neighborhood of Paris.

Dupin always reminded me that the move had been my idea, and as his assistant, and manager of finances, he was correct in that allegation. I had indeed convinced him that a nicer place, bought instead of rented, was a keener choice, not only for comfort, but for the attraction of new customers. And, the very money he paid me for my work, would be partly reinvested in our new home by way of my portion of the monthly payment.

Downstairs we had our bedrooms and the kitchen, and a section I suppose one might call a parlor. It contained three large, deep-cushioned chairs, including a ragged one that Dupin insisted be retained from our previous quarters. He treated that chair with its squeaky springs and much exposed stuffing as if it were the throne of Charlemagne and the warmth of the old boy’s posterior was still contained within its time-worn seat cushion.

The upstairs lodgings, where we spent much of our time, had large windows that faced the street. When the dark curtains were pulled back, the horseshoe-shaped projection that housed the glass resembled the prow of a ship, even more so on a wet day. You could sit near the window and look out above the lower buildings across the street and feel as if we were slowly sailing toward them.

Quite pleasant.

The upstairs room was primarily a large chamber for wall-to-wall shelved books. Some of the tomes were quite old, some rarer than piano concertos composed by mice in formal dress. There was a long table with chairs placed around it, and a small burner and utensils for tea or coffee.

On the morning in question, Dupin was up early, and as usual, hadn’t practiced even the smallest consideration in terms of noise and the disruption of my sleep.

I greatly admired Dupin, but his courtesy to others could have been put in a seamstress’s thimble, and room would have been left over for one’s thumb, unencumbered.

From Stefan Dziemianowicz, on NetGalley:

“Joe R. Lansdale’s impressive body of work includes what are sometimes described in popular parlance as 'mashups': homages to the work of other authors that mix and match characters and ideas from a variety of sources in pairings whose incongruity often makes for wildly inventive storytelling. The Unlikely Affair of the Crawling Razor is one such story…

“The story is set in 19th-century Paris and narrated by the same nameless sidekick who relates the three Dupin tales as Poe wrote them. Aline Moulin, a beautiful but distressed young woman, shows up in their rooms one morning with their latest case. Aline’s brother Julien, a sensitive writer, has begun acting peculiarly since he was first allowed to visit the Paris Catacombs for scholarly research. A series of gruesome murders have occurred around the city since Julien’s first visit—atrocities that have prompted him to have Aline locked in her room nightly. And now, after the latest murder on the siblings’ front doorstep only the night before, Aline’s brother is missing.

“The reader will guess fairly soon that Julien’s visits to the city’s subterranean ossuaries have unleashed something nasty. And in time the redoubtable Dupin—who always knows more about such matters than he reveals, initially—proves that he has the mettle to counter it. His course of action will necessitate a brush with the Hounds of Tindalos—extradimensional entities contributed to Lovecraft’s mythos by his friend Frank Belknap Long—and a showdown with the Lord of the Razor, a straight-razor-wielding monster who walks the world in footwear fashioned from the heads of his victims… The story is great fun, pulpy in all the right places, and it shines a light on some of the many influences that Lansdale has incorporated seamlessly into his proliferating bibliography.”