joe_haldeman (joe_haldeman) wrote,

DEADWOOD, by Pete Dexter

Just finished reading DEADWOOD, by Pete Dexter, for the second time. I read it some years ago in Australia, and it stuck in my mind -- so strongly that when I picked it up again a couple of weeks ago, at random, I kept on reading. It's an unusually rewarding book.
It's sort of in the fake-biography mode, carefully researched but amplified with rumors that brush factuality without surrendering to actual truth. Wild Bill Hickock is the locus, rather than focus, of the book, set in and around Deadwood, South Dakota, in the years after the Civil War.
Dexter is a good and careful writer with more experience with actual trauma than any writer needs, once hospitalized after a truly epic bar fight.
It's commercial writing, but with a real difference. Characters to care about in an authentic setting that unfolds in growing complexity.

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