Summary and book reviews of Paradise Sky by Joe Lansdale

Paradise Sky

by Joe R. Lansdale

Paradise Sky by Joe R. Lansdale
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  • Published:
    Jun 2015, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
James Broderick

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Book Summary

A rollicking novel about Nat Love, an African-American cowboy with a famous nickname: Deadwood Dick.

Young Willie is on the run, having fled his small Texas farm when an infamous local landowner murdered his father. A man named Loving takes him in and trains him in the fine arts of shooting, riding, reading, and gardening. When Loving dies, Willie re-christens himself Nat Love in tribute to his mentor, and heads west.

In Deadwood, South Dakota Territory, Nat becomes a Buffalo Soldier and is befriended by Wild Bill Hickok. After winning a famous shooting match, Nat's peerless marksmanship and charm earn him the nickname Deadwood Dick, as well as a beautiful woman. But the hellhounds are still on his trail, and they brutally attack Nat Love's love. Pursuing the men who have driven his wife mad, Nat heads south for a final, deadly showdown against those who would strip him of his home, his love, his freedom, and his life.


Chapter 1


Now, in the living of my life, I've killed deadly men and dangerous animals and made love to four Chinese women, all of them on the same night and in the same wagon bed, and one of them with a wooden leg, which made things a mite difficult from time to time. I even ate some of a dead fellow once when I was crossing the plains, though I want to rush right in here and make it clear I didn't know him all that well, and we damn sure wasn't kinfolks, and it all come about by a misunderstanding.

Another thing I did was won me a shooting contest up Deadwood way against some pretty damn fine shooters, all of them white boys, and me as shiny black as obsidian rock. There was some dime novels written about me as well, though there are some that argue with that and say I've merely latched onto the name Deadwood Dick, the Dark Rider of the Plains, as a way of giving myself a higher standing in life, and that those stories wasn't based on me at all. That isn't ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Paradise Sky ticks off all the requisite checkmarks one expects to find in the genre: wide-open spaces, cattle stampedes, crooked poker games, whores with hearts of gold, bounty hunters, Indian raids, laconic cowpokes sitting around a campfire, shooting contests, racist posses, frontier preachers bringing God to the godless, and larger than life legends like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Amid the ebb and flow of all this frontier flotsam is a fairly simple story, set in motion by the lingering racism of the Reconstruction era.   (Reviewed by James Broderick).

Full Review (839 words).

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Media Reviews

Los Angeles Times

Fantastic . . . Lansdale has pulled out all the stops to deliver a rip-roaring tale.

Houston Chronicle

[A] breakout novel . . . Addictive fun . . . A rollicking ride that's suspenseful, hilarious and satisfyingly redemptive. . . . Lansdale at his funniest and most energetic, with some of the most engaging writing you'll read this year. . . . Lansdale has unleashed something remarkable.

New York Journal of Books

Beautiful literary prose . . . He fills each page with heartbreak, suspense, hope, and laughter.

Kirkus Reviews

How did Deadwood Dick get his name? Readers can learn this, and a whole lot more, in this picaresque Western from a master of the form ...Paradise Sky goes down smooth and easy as a vintage sarsaparilla.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Folksy, cinematic ... Lansdale fills his pages with true-hearted heroes, dastardly scoundrels, and rollicking adventures.

Booklist

Starred Review. Paradise Sky is a rowdy, funny, suspenseful, and often quite moving yarn.

Library Journal

Starred Review. This fast-paced Western with its multicultural cast of characters is a winner.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Calamity Jane

Few figures encapsulate the myth-making impulse of The Wild West better than Calamity Jane, whose appearance in Joe Lansdale's Paradise Sky is just the latest in a century-long fascination with this shadowy woman on the fringes of western heroics.

According to Calamity Jane – whose real name was Martha Jane Cannary – she came from about as humble a beginning as can be imagined. Born in the prairie town of Princeton, Missouri in 1852 to poor parents (reputed to be petty criminals) she was the oldest of six children. By age 15, both her parents were dead. As the de-facto head of the family, Martha took her siblings by covered wagon to Wyoming Territory, where she found odd jobs (including a likely stint as prostitute) until ...

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