The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence

Yee-haw!  Welcome to the Wild West where you’ll meet outlaws, miners, saloon owners, detectives, Indians, Celestials, Soiled Doves and a whole cast of other characters.  Caroline Lawrence transports you to the West in her new book, The Case of the Deadly Desperados, the first book in The Western Mysteries series.

The story starts with P.K. Pinkerton trapped down a mine shaft, writing about what has happened.

“My name is P.K. Pinkerton and before this day is over I will be dead.  I am trapped down the deepest shaft of a Comstock silver mine with three desperados closing in on me.  Until they find me, I have my pencil and these ledger sheets and a couple of candles.  If I write small and fast I might be able to write an account of how I came to be here.  Then whoever finds my body will know the unhappy events that led to my demise.”

So, stuck down the mine, P.K. tells his story of how he came to be trapped in the mine, starting with his foster ma and pa being killed by three deadly desperados dressed as Indians.  P.K. escapes and hops on a stagecoach to Virginia City, followed by the three desperados called Whittlin Walt, Dubois ‘Extra Dub’ Donahue and Boswell ‘Boz’ Burton.  P.K. meets many colourful characters in Virginia, some that help him, like newspaper reporter Sam Clemens and Poker Face Jace, and some that steal from him, like Belle Donne.  Will P.K. escape from the mine and the three desperados?  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

The Case of the Deadly Desperados is a fantastic story and will go on the list of my favourite books.  P.K. is such a cool character and I loved seeing him deal with different situations in the story.  At the start he tells us about his ‘Thorn’, which means that he’s not good at recognising emotions – he can only spot happiness, fear and anger.  He can’t spot whether someone is lying or telling the truth and as P.K. says, “People confound me.”  Caroline Lawrence paints a vivid picture of life in the American West and you can almost smell the drunken miners, feel the dust and grit in your eyes, and taste the Comstock layer cake.

Put on your spurred boots, grab your quick draw library card and head to your nearest dry goods store (library) to get your copy of The Case of the Deadly Desperados.  Recommended for 9+   10 out of 10

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Filed under adventure, books, children, children's fiction

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