PARADISE SKY                                         JOE R. LANSDALE

Paradise Sky 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.

This book is loosely based on a real cowboy named “Deadwood Dick”, who actually won the rope, throw, tie, bridle, saddle, and bronco riding contests. The fans of the rodeo gave him the nickname. The author takes this story of a boy Willie, who on his way into town after the civil war stops for a short time to look at a women’s behind as she is bending over. She of course is white and her husband comes out and sees Willie who is African American, and starts to chase him and this will go on for the rest of the story. But along the way he lives with a man named Loving who teaches him how to ride and shot and other things for survival. He comes across other people along the trail that are friends and some who are not. He finds love only to have this ripped from him and the hated he feels he must overcome if he wants to survive. This is a fast pace story but also done with a lot of emotion and you feel like he is on a porch somewhere talking about his life and the people who passed through some famous some just friends and some that just wanted to kill him because of the color of his skin. How he survived and overcame the deaths of his mother and father. Then mister Loving, and then people he just meets. He then goes through the men that he had to kill or be killed realizing some of the lessons that mister Loving told him were not so difficult. He also had to overcome the loss of love when the women he loved was taken from him but still alive she was really dead because she never came back and then her body left, but her soul had already gone. That is what I got out of this book was the soul of the old west, written about an African American cowboy which is true there were more “black” cowboys than white and this story was a fantastic story. The real Nat Love (1854-1921), “Deadwood Dick” died in Los Angeles, in 1921 after being a slave, cowboy, rodeo performer, Pullman porter, and author. Anyway this is a great western tail fabulously written and I am glad I found a good western for a change. i got this book from net galley. I give this 5 stars.

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