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By Joe R. Lansdale

Telling the tautly plotted tale of a latest Jack the Ripper's spree in Houston, Lansdale creates a robust mix of crime, police paintings, and social commentary--all with a watch for photo element. Act of affection, his first novel, is a collector's merchandise for Lansdale's previous lovers and crucial studying for his new ones.

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Sample text

I can tell you this much. " "Sonofabitch," Clark said. "And he just took his time," Hanson said. " "People aren't exactly the investigative type down there," Doc Warren said. "Besides, that's part of the thrill for this guy. The fear of discovery. Sex offenders—and this is a sex crime, I'll stake my reputation on that—get off to that sort of thing. It heightens the act for them. It was probably that way with Jack The Ripper, The Zodiac Killer, The Boston Strangler and The Skid Row Slasher. All those crimes were committed right under people's noses.

Pearl Harbor is not just the place the Japanese bombed; it has a namesake, so christened for the blood that's been shed there—more blood than the original Pearl Harbor ever saw. It's a vicinity in the Houston, Texas ghetto called The Fifth Ward. It's just off Lyons Avenue (Soul Street) and Jensen, and if you're thinking of suicide, or if you want to get cut from ear to ear, it's the place to stroll late at night, jingling your money. For that matter, you don't need money. " So death, blood and violence are no strangers to Pearl Harbor and The Fifth Ward ghetto.

The hell with them. Let them be black in the ghetto. He'd be black here in Pasadena in his cozy two-story brick house. It wasn't a fancy house. It wasn't really different than the others on the block, but it was his and The Savings And Loans'. Tonight, however, these thoughts were merely fleeting diversions. The color scheme of Pasadena was the least of his worries. There was that nagging slab scene whirling around in the back of his brain. He hated it. He tried to cover it with other thoughts, but like a drowning victim, it eventually surfaced.

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