Sunset and Sawdust Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Sunset and Sawdust

Knopf, Mar 2004, 22.00, 321 pp.
ISBN: 0375414533

In Depression Era East Texas, Constable Pete Jones assaults his wife Sunset before he rapes her. Badly abused and bruised, and in fear that he will one day kill her and beat the rap, Sunset takes Pete's gun and kills him. While she murders her spouse, a cyclone destroys most of their home. She is not charged with homicide not because she was protecting herself, but because no one liked the abuse of power pistol Pete.
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After healing, Sunset is elected to complete Pete's term as constable though most doubt her capability to do the job. As she sets out to prove her worth, Sunset investigates the corpse of a baby that leads to a second dead body, crazy grasshoppers and Klansmen, and unethical oil dealers all leading to her beating the bushes questioning folks who seem more at home in a chainsaw massacre.

The setting is typical Lansdale, which means East Texas. The cast is also typical Lansdale, which means eccentrics running loose outside the asylum. The era is atypical Lansdale as he takes the audience back to the 1930s. The results is typical Lansdale, which means a wacky wonderful tale that seems just out of control yet somehow comes together to provide readers especially the author's fans with a fabulous crazed time.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Sunset and Sawdust

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1930's-1950's What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in small town Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Texas

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Joe R. Lansdale Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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