Pete Dexter’s novel, The Paper Boy, 1995


I stayed up last night all night to finish reading Pete Dexter’s fine novel, The Paper Boy. Set in Florida it is an exceptional study of characters turning out the only way they can. The story is backdropped against the correction of a miscarriage of justice, a small town newspaper family, poor white folk living in Florida swamps, and the mechanics and ethics of investigative journalism. But mostly it is a clear view of a handful of fascinating characters. I will never eat vanilla ice cream again without thinking of the Van Wetters. HIghly recommended. The third of Dexter’s novels that I have read, Deadwood and Paris Trout, are also fine books.

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Pete Dexter’s Deadwood (1986)


treat yourself to a great reading experience and seek out a copy of Deadwood by Pete Dexter, published in 1986. I just finished reading it and I enjoyed every page.

My interest in all things Deadwood began with the HBO series. Dexter had nothing to do with that production. The hero of his novel is Charlie Utter. He has become one of my favourite characters of all time. Having read Dexter’s book I feel like I spent the time in the nineteenth century. I think the only other writer who has taken me back in time to that depth of feeling is Patrick O’Brian in the Aubrey-Maturin series.

If you watched HBO Deadwood you will find it interesting to compare and contrast the characters of Bullock, Hickok, Star, Swearingen, and Calamity Jane. Jack McCall, the cat man, and killer of Hickok receives an interesting “life” in Dexter’s novel.

A must read.