I’ve always meant to get around to reading some Joe R. Lansdale books after reading some great comic adaptations of his like The Drive-In and Blood and Shadows, but never quite got around to it. I decided to start with The Nightrunners, as my research had suggested that this was a good standalone horror book of his, as well as having some connection to The God of the Razor, a character that was heavily featured in the previously mentioned Blood and Shadows comic.
I found it to be a decent story, but it never really grabbed me and made me repeatedly think “wow, this is great” like say, Snow Crash. The supernatural aspect, which involves The God of the Razor, is a surprisingly minimal part of the whole book. If you were to cut out the one chapter that explicitly features the character and a handful of dialogue references here and there it would remove the supernatural element from the story entirely and I’m not sure it would even make much of a difference.
The antagonists of the story, a gang of teens gone horribly, horribly wrong, are already pretty sinister and disgusting as it is and the vague supernatural presence that’s lingering in the background never really adds to that in any significant way. As it stands, it’s still a pretty decent horror/thriller, but its confusion over its own themes and a build up that’s a big too long for a book that’s so short, prevent it from being what I’d call an essential read.