Deadwood by Pete Dexter

The adventures of Wild Bill Hickcock and his friend Charlie Utter as they ‘settle’ in the town of Deadwood. You get to meet all the weird, and wonderful people who live in Deadwood. To me, it feels like an approximation what it must’ve felt like to live in a frontier town in the wild west.

This is not your ’typical’ western. There are no good guys, or bad guys. There are just people who do good and bad things. Everyone has an agenda and have their own tribes. There are the miners, ‘upstairs’ girls, townsfolk, cowboys, and Chinese immigrants. These characters get into seemingly extreme situations but it all comes together the way this is written. The author has a knack for making even the most horrific, or weird situation feel ‘authentic’, and funny. This is a funny book if you like a bit of dark comedy with a lot of swearing.

Deadwood seems to have inspired the TV show Deadwood but I don’t see any attribution to this fact on the Deadwood (TV show) Wikipedia page which seems odd. Reading the plot of Deadwood (TV show) reminds me an awful lot of the book. I’m not sure how they got away with that.

This book is a great Western that has some dark themes. There is prostitution, drinking, swearing, rape, murder, gun fights, dog fights, and more! This isn’t for everyone but this is the freshest, most interesting character driven Western book I’ve ever read. I would even rate this more exciting than some Western movies I’ve seen. I am highly motivated to watch Deadwood (TV show) now as it feels the show’s creator took many cues for the TV show from this book.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book #37 in my 2022 Reading Challenge

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