There must be something about actual historical characters who really existed that brings out John Shirley's whimsical side. See, he's normally known for writing horror and sic-fi novels that are basically indictments of the human race, filled with enough abominable acts of violence and cruelty to turn those indictments into convictions.
But not this time.
As with his novel, "Doyle After Death," which is about Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley is a kinder, gentler novelist when portraying Wyatt Earp. Rest assured there's enough gunplay and murder here to hold your attention, but the point of this story seems to be that Earp was a decent man, struggling to find his decency in a world that was still feeling itself out and making up its laws as it went along.
Shirley references "Tombstone" a lot in the preface, but I've never seen it (nor read the book, if it is also a book). However, Earp's trip to Deadwood, and his encounters with some of its legendary residents, is certainly satisfying for anybody who's a fan of the Deadwood TV series.
Western fans in general will surely appreciate the fact that this novel appears to be very well-researched. I'm no expert on the period, so I can't say conclusively how accurate the details are, but it seems Shirley took a lot of time educating himself about how the nuts and bolts of that world worked before he put pen to paper.
This book is great fun, and easy to get through quickly.