The Case of the Deadly Desperados

The Case of the Deadly Desperados

Let me warn you right up front. If you see Whittlin' Walt, just run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. The guy means business and he won't let a little thing like a finger or a life stop him from earning his nickname...Whittlin' Walt.

Now let's get down to the business of these deadly desperados. First you need to meet P.K. Pinkerton who is about to walk in and find his foster parents scalped and lying on the floor in a pool of blood courtesy of that Walt fellow mentioned above. Walt was looking for something.. something worth a whole lot of money and it's just possible that P.K., or Pinky as he is known, might have that something hanging in a medicine bag around his neck.

Now Pinky is on the run to save his own life. Pinky is "real smart about certain things" but he has a Thorn that causes him some real problems and that Thorn is that Pinky cannot tell if a "person's smile is genuine or false" and in a town of swindlers, card sharks, hurdy-gurdy players, soiled doves and Whittlin' Walt and his gang, that's going to be a problem.

Pretty soon Pinky's going to find himself dressing as a girl, packing a seven-shooter, hiding out and learning to read people's emotional states to abet a card-playing gambler.

This story gallops along chock full of twists and turns and sudden shocks. Expect the unexpected and prepare yourself for some eye-popping, page-turning adventure. Not for the faint of heart but definitely for those who love an adventure, a mystery, a good western, and some deadpan humor mixed with the determination of a young autistic boy left on his own in some truly shoot 'em up, smoke 'em up, run your fastest out of town circumstances.   Samuel Clemens would approve this rollicking, riotous d_mn story.

Ages 9 and up 279 pages

Recommended by:  Barb

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Very funny and exciting. A great new series.
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PK "Pinky" is being hounded by desperadoes in the Silver-mining mountains of 1960's Nevada. The lively tale is the first in a new series by Lawrence who has been writing mysteries for youth audiences for years. I checked out the first series, Roman Mysteries, and so I expected that while Pinky begins in a dark tunnel, hunted down by Whittlin' Walt and soon to meet his doom.... the story would work out. This is told in flashback style and recounts the few short days building up to the dark, mining tunnel opening.

These bad guys are hunting for Pinky after murdering his foster parents, and cutting a dangerous swath through local towns hunting Pinky to Virginia City. Pinky is twice orphaned, a half-Sioux, 12-year-old who holds the tattered letter bequeathing a rich silver mine to "the bearer." His run from the death of his foster parents through Virginia City is filled with danger, wild times, coarse and foul language, and plenty of shooting and slicing. Whittlin' Walt is known for slicing his victims or whittling them before killing them.

This is a gritty tale, and librarians should be aware of the language and violence elements of the book. It was a bit exciting, but several of the language elements bothered me. In an attempt to capture the dialect and lingo of the time many of the dialog exchanges include misspelled words, and this might be confusing for readers. There is a 3-page glossary at the end for the important, period words. Words like "sweet of rooms" don't really make sense but set the tone for characters of little or no formal education. Overall I was personally disappointed because the book doesn't know whether it wants to be Historical Fiction or irreverent. Yes, a book can be both, but I don't think this one did a good job of that.

Submitted by Lisa Hunt
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