Despite his life being glamorized throughout dime novels, Deadwood Dick needs to set the record straight—including how he got his name, how he saved Wild Bill Hickok, and how his life changed by looking up at exactly the wrong time.
Deadwood Dick – also known as Willie Jackson – was born in East Texas and spent his childhood in slavery. The war between the states changed that, but not enough to make survival easy. When he’s caught looking at a white woman’s backside, Willie inadvertently steals what may be the slowest horse in East Texas to escape said woman’s furious husband. Escape he does, barely, but his father and farm do not.
From there, Willie is kindly taken in, nearly caught again, and then begins a new life as Nat Love, and then eventually Deadwood Dick. Only those who set out hunting him in the beginning are not quite finished with him… Joe R. Lansdale truly is a master storyteller and Paradise Sky is no exception. It’s delightful, funny, and full of the best tall tales – very readable and so, so good. I would highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list and it’s absolutely a must read if you enjoyed The Thicket or Edge of Dark Water.
There is a surprising variety of foods to choose from in Paradise Sky*, but Willie had some meaningful meals involving both eggs and tomatoes. So I’m pairing this book with eggs in hell (or eggs in a spicy, cheesy tomato sauce, as found on The Cooking Jar). I’m actually fairly certain Willie-Nat-Dick ate eggs in hell….(read to find the scene I’m referring to, or just ask)
Anyone else a diehard Lansdale fan? Anyone not read a novel by this master storyteller yet? Because if you haven’t, we may need to reevaluate your reading priorities….**
*I received a review copy of this novel from Mulholland Books. It did not influence my already high opinion of Joe R. Lansdale or his writing.
**Not even the tiniest bit serious… Okay, maybe a tiny bit. Because book pusher.