Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

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The Bottoms
336 pages; Vintage
"This one has a lot of hair on it," says Bill Paxton, using his father's expression for a thing of substance. A gothic novel about racially and sexually motivated killings in an East Texas town during the Depression, The Bottoms furthered Lansdale's reputation as a cult hero. "This is an intense book. Like To Kill a Mockingbird, it's seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy and his 9-year-old sister. I think Joe is one of the best living writers of the Southwest."
— As told to Sara Nelson