by Joe R. Lansdale

Illustrations by Ted DiLucia

Published by Crystal Lake Publishing, November 21, 2023

Review by Jeani Rector

Buy the book HERE

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Joe R. Lansdale (left) and Ted DiLucia (right)

About the author

Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over sixty novels, plus a slew of short stories, comics, and screenwriting credits. Over the span of his long career, Lansdale holds eleven Bram Stoker Awards and the Bram Stoker Liftime Achievement Award. He has also been awarded the British Fantasy Award, Edgar Award, New York Times Notable Book of the Year, The World Horror Convention Grand Master Award, Inkpot Award, and has nine World Fantasy nominees. His most iconic story Bubba Ho-Tep has been made into a cult classic film by Phantasm director Don Coscarelli. Other film and television credits include Sundance TV series Hap and Leonard, Showtime's Masters of Horror, Netflix's Love, Death, & Robots, Shudder's Creepshow, and Batman: The Animated Series. Lansdale is also a martial arts expert in Shen Chuan, He is a member of the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He teaches the art of this defense at his own martial arts school in Nacogdoches, Texas where he lives with his wife Karen. 

About the artist

Ted DiLucia is an artist working and living in Rhode Island. He is also a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. 





Incident on and Off a Mountain Road was originally published as a novelette in 1991. I read this (longish) short story years ago, so I was given a refresher when I reread it in this new version, which is encased in a very eye-catching, yellow, hard-cover edition. I remembered loving the story, but in reading it again, I had forgotten how much I really, really loved the story.

Ellen loses control of her car because she is driving too fast on a lonely and winding mountain road. She hits a parked car and gets out to see if someone is hurt. When she approaches the damaged parked car, the coppery smell of blood escapes through an open back window to assault her nose. As if that is not enough to alarm her, Ellen sees drag marks in the dirt next to the parked car.

She peers over the railing and sees a man approach her from the forest. She believes it is the driver of the other car and she calls out to him to ask him if he is hurt. “He advanced toward her, and as he came, his lips split and pulled back at the corners, exposing, not braces, but metal-capped teeth that matched the sparkle of his blade,” Lansdale writes.

What follows is an exciting story of survival. Ellen remembers her husband Bruce, who was a survivalist and taught her one-on-one combat skills. She also remembers that Bruce was an abusive husband, so she channels her anger against him into her battles with the villain of this story, a man-monster named Moonface.

Joe R. Lansdale writes in many genres, horror being one of them. This is my favorite pure-horror story that he has ever written, and that is saying a lot. Incident on and off a Mountain Road is fast-paced and the suspense keeps mounting to a level where it soars off the charts. To add to the brilliance of the plot, the ending is such an unexpected twist that I didn’t see it coming, and that is the type of ending that every writer hopes to write but few are able to achieve.

Incident on and off a Mountain Road caught the attention of Don Coscarelli, who directed a film by the same name for the Masters of Horror TV Series in 2005. It was the very first episode of the series and it was positively received by a large audience.

But the book is where it all started. Incident on and off a Mountain Road has it all: great character development, a gripping, action-packed thrill ride, and an ending that will satisfy even the most jaded reader. It is a smart version of the slasher genre because it does not showcase a silly woman that trips as she runs, but instead Ellen is an intelligent, competent street-fighter who, in the end, reminds me of Sarah Connor from Terminator.

As if all of this isn’t enough for you, as they say: “But wait, there’s more!” This book comes in an attractive, bright yellow hard-cover that is filled with the amazing illustrations by Ted DiLucia. If colors are emotions, then DiLucia effectively captures fear, adrenaline, and excitement. His art is a mastery of design. The description on Amazon describes it best: “They are cinematically and technically crafted, unconventionally collaged and composed, heightened by an eerie subtlety that lurks deep within this dangerous world.”

This book has the added bonus of introductions by Mick Garris and Don Coscarelli. All in all, I highly recommend Incident on and off a Mountain Road not only for Joe R. Lansdale fans, but for all horror aficionados.