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.