Paradise Sky – Joe R. Lansdale

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“I had learned from Wild Bill to always have the other hand ready to draw, and if you couldn’t shoot left-handed, it was best not to shake. But it wasn’t a way I wanted to live. In spite of all that had happened to me, I was by nature a trusting soul, or at least I wanted to be.”
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This book is just fucking brilliant. Loved it from the first word to the last. Ostensibly, I’m a person who loves westerns. But aside from one or two of Elmore Leonard’s westerns, True Grit, and a handful of Cormac McCarthy books that fit the genre, I haven’t read a ton of westerns. Additionally, the average western section of a bookstore is 4,983 Louis L’ Amour books and not much else. So calling this book the best western I’ve ever read is entirely too easy. But truly, this is one of the best books I’ve read in recent memory, regardless of genre. It’s dark, violent, moving, loaded with sardonic humor, and also surprisingly and beautifully romantic. It’s a first-person book, and the voice of the narrator, Nat Love, is just so authentic. Nat is a black man in post-Civil War Texas. Slavery has been outlawed, but racism runs very, very deep. The book follows his misadventures, as he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s a years-long story of vengeance & justice, right & wrong, honor & dishonor. I literally could not recommend a book any more enthusiastically. Joe R. Lansdale has just turned into a must-buy author for me.

 

-Corey

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