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Blood Dance [Kindle Edition]

Joe R. Lansdale
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Confederate veterans in a Yankee’s world, Melgrhue and Bucklaw haven’t had much post-war success. Family, friends and farms lost in the conflict, they’ve been drifting for the past decade—driving sheep here, punching cattle there. It’s work that pays a man’s bills, mostly, but just mostly. More than panning for gold, it turns out, though that had seemed like a good idea at the time. And so they find themselves washed up in the Dakota Territory, staring a cold December in the face with empty pockets and emptier prospects. Which is how otherwise mostly-upstanding gentlemen come to contemplate signing-on as hired guns in a train robbery.

If the robbery came off well, no one was double-crossed, and the boys retired to live a comfortable life south of the border, it wouldn’t be much of a Western. Fortunately, Lansdale, who’s turned his hand at so many genres—and invented a few new ones of his own—knows better, and has written a rip-roarer. Long-unavailable, having fallen between the cracks of the publishing industry, Blood Dance is a genuine Western Adventure to rival any of the classics.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2943 KB
  • Print Length: 175 pages
  • Publisher: Gere Donovan Press; 1.1 edition (10 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005UHJQ0S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #353,624 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Dance (2000) 25 April 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Melgrhue and Bucklaw are Confederate veterans living in a world governed by Yankees. Since the war, in which they lost family and friends and land, they have been drifting. For the last decade they have been sheep and cattle driving to survive. They wind up in Dakota, destitute and with no future prospects. Their only chance to survive is to become hired guns in a train robbery, which could see them set for life. But life is never perfect. Lansdale has written a cult classic western here, a novel that has until now been long out of print, save for a signed limited hardcover. The Kindle version is perfect and with great cover art. Blood Dance (2000) is part of The Lost Lansdale, and is Vol. 3 in the series, sold to publishers throughout the 1980s but never published until the turn of the twenty-first century. Enjoy!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great One for Lansdale Collectors 4 Jun. 2000
By D. Read - Published on
This is another in Subterranean Press's "Lost Lansdale" series. I really like this series so far. The first two that I've read, Waltz of Shadows and Blood Dance, have been very entertaining and satisfying. They are not perfect books, but that is not the intention. In the case of Waltz of Shadows, Lansdale simply decided not to publish it when he finished it years ago. Blood Dance, though, was an early Western novel that just had a lot of bad luck through multiple planned publications.
Blood Dance is pretty much a traditional Western. Lansdale stays within the structure of an off-the-drugstore-rack pulp-style Western yarn, which is what I think he set out to do. Lansdale readers, though, will recognize plenty of Lansdale's stylistic trademarks. The book has some very minor flaws, and I won't get into them for fear of spoiling anything, but they were for me very easy to forgive. Generally, this is a very polished piece of writing. The story pulls you right along, and Lansdale knows that it's all about the characters anyway, and there are plenty of interesting and well-drawn characters here.
I like that Lansdale resisted the urge to revise these "lost" novels (although I think he cleaned up Waltz of Shadows a little for publication). As a long-time fan, it's enjoyable for me to read an early novel, warts and all. Waltz of Shadows is not likely to be published again any time soon, but this book, Blood Dance, might be in paperback someday for those that miss this limited edition.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Wayne C. Rogers - Published on
As I said in my review of THE MAGIC WAGON by Joe R. Lansdale, I'm not really a big fan of Western novels, though I have read a few over the years. Because I'm now such a huge fan of Mr. Lansdale's writing, I'll read anything by him, no matter what the genre. BLOOD DANCE is no exception. It's one of his earlier Westerns that was written back around 83 or 84 and finally saw publication two years ago with Subterranean Press. Since I loved THE MAGIC WAGON so much, I decided to pick up a copy of this short novel, and I have to say that I definitely got my money's worth out of it. BLOOD DANCE takes place in the Dakota Territory, ten years after the Civil War, and is the story of Jim Melgrhue, an ex-Confederate soldier and Louisiana boy. When he and his best friend, Bob Bucklaw, decide to join a gang a train robbers, led by Beau Carson, Jim's instincts tell him that there's nothing but trouble around the corner, which proves to be the case. The train robbery turns out to be a fiasco, and when Carson orders the execution of all the passengers, Jim and Bob quickly decide to take a stand against the gang and its leader. Though they valiantly try to save the passengers, the gun battle that ensues leaves Bob Bucklaw dead and Jim seriously wounded. When Jim eventually comes to, he has to once again fight in order to save himself from a Sioux war party that's investigating the train and its dead passengers. Only through luck and the unexpected appearance of John Johnston the Crow Killer (think of the Robert Redford movie, "Jeremiah Johnson") does our protagonist survive. Thus begins the journey of Jim Melgrhue's quest for vengeance against Beau Carson and his gang of killers. As Jim heals from his wounds, he tags along with Johnston for a while, and then with a Crow warrior by the name of Dead Thing, who has his own score to settle against Carson. This leads to a Sundance in which Jim experiences a vision of his future. Before the path of revenge has been completed, Jim will try his hand at gold mining, save the life of Wild Bill Hickok, and find himself at Little Big Horn with General George Custer and three thousand Indians that are looking for a little payback. Like the late Louis L'Amour, Joe R. Lansdale does his research and incorporates historical fact with fiction, carefully weaving his adventurous yarn so that the reader doesn't always know what's true and what's created from the author's imagination. BLOOD DANCE is a quick read that can be done in a couple of hours. What makes the novel so entertaining is Lansdale's ability as a storyteller. He has a unique skill at being able to create characters that come alive with just a few short sentences, a dark sense of humor that can make even the most jaded reader laugh out loud, and an uncanny instinct for making any story sound interesting With Lansdale, the reader knows that he's going to have fun from the first page to the last. I find it hard to understand why more people don't know about this exceptional East Texas author. This man can write horror, action, westerns, serious drama, children's fiction, and even zany over-the-top adventure stories. Illustrated by Mark A. Nelson, BLOOD DANCE is a sure winner for those who enjoy a good Western novel and want to have a few hours of pure fun.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gallopin' fine Western 11 Feb. 2013
By Cheryl Stout - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A rip-roaring Western is not the genre I associate with Lansdale. But I will read anything the man writes - he is that fine of a raconteur. I've often wished I could be sitting around a campfire, having Joe Lansdale telling some of his tales. Two of my Top Ten books of all time - The Bottoms and A Fine Dark Line - were written by him.

In this short novel, the protagonist is Jim Melgrhue, ex-Confederate soldier and a man you would want to call friend. This novel is about revenge. Jim's best friend Bob Bucklaw and he decide, albeit begrudgingly, to help ex-Confederate officer Beau Carson rob a train carrying gold. When things don't turn out the way Carson thought they would, he decides to kill all the witnesses, which Melgrhue and Bucklaw can't abide. Bad turns to worse and soon Melgrhue is hunting down Carson and his followers for revenge of his best friend's and others' deaths.

Melgrhue meets up with all kinds of colorful characters (some historical and some not) along his path to find Carson. In-depth character development is something Lansdale does in all his books and has quite a talent at making look easy.

You don't have to enjoy Westerns to enjoy "Blood Dance." You just need to enjoy excellent storytelling.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lansdale's Attempt at a Traditional Western 31 Jan. 2003
By Mike R Jordan - Published on
As this story opens, Joe Melghrue is hesitant to proceed with a planned train robbery. Along with his partner, he has fallen in with an unsavory lot but they need the money, both being Confederate veterans with no stable work. Melghrue's worst fears come true when the outlaws decide to murder everyone on the train and when Melghrue refuses, they kill his partner and leave him for dead. The rest of the novel deals with the time-honored quest for revenge as our hero faces many obstacles in his journey for blood.
Lansdale's work, whether writing horror or mystery, always moves at a break-neck pace. With the author taking the reins of the traditional fast-paced Western genre, he delivers an extremely quick read loaded with action and memorable characters. As part of the Lost Lansdale series, Blood Dance is presented by the author as is. While I admire his warts-and-all approach, the roughness of the novel shows through in what I noticed were two very distinct sections of the book.
The first part of the book is very traditional and reads much like a Louis L'amour story. The action is fast and plentiful. While we are introduced to the character of Liver Eatin' Johnson, who was a real life frontiersman, his appearance does not take on the same pretentiousness as the later historical figures.
The latter half of the book has Melghrue interacting with Wild Bill Hickok and Custer at the Little Big Horn during part of his quest for revenge. Too often, when Westerns include true-life figure, they begin to read like a Forrest Gump movie. Lansdale falls into this trap here. Not only must our character meet these people but they must interact with them or save their lives, altering or predicting history. We are bombarded with historical facts about them and the result is characters that are not fleshed out as real people but more like caricatures.
We also have the Sundance here which is an Indian ritual portrayed in the move "A Man Called Horse" (remember that scene where he's hanging by tethers that have pierced his chest? Ouch!) Here the novel takes a little more supernatural turn. Not unusual territory for Lansdale but seemingly out of place after the more traditional Western feel of the first half.
Overall, I thought this was a good read that provided a strong entertainment value. But I would not recommend it for fans of the Western genre who have not been exposed to Lansdale. Lansdale fans, even those who don't like Westerns, will find the book interesting as a precursor to his later run of odd Western stories and the author doesn't let anyone down in the action department either.
3.0 out of 5 stars Landsdale has better books than this 24 Sept. 2013
By Jim Roche - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some Landsdale stories just blow me away. This unfortunately wasn't one one of those. It is OK but not great.
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