P.K. Pinkerton is in deep trouble… in more ways than one. He is at the bottom of a silver mine, trying to figure out a way to outwit Wittlin’ Walt, the Very Bad Man after his inheritance.
This is where we find P.K. at the beginning of The Case of the Deadly Desperados, by Caroline Lawrence (who also wrote The Roman Mystery series – another series my kids and I really enjoy). How he ended up there, and how he escapes, involves the rest of the book – full of scary situations and colorful characters.
My kids and I listened to the audio book as we drove around. T. Sands narrates with an amazing accent and just the right inflection to reflect P.K.’s character.
Lawrence does a masterful job of explaining the dangers and, ahem, peculiarities of the Wild West during the time of the Civil War. P.K. befriends soiled doves, hurdy-gurdy girls, ends up in an opium den, a saloon, etc., with an innocence that lends credibility to his 12-year-old self.
Excellent news! Lawrence making P.K. Pinkerton into a series. The latest two titles are P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man and P.K. Pinkerton and the Pistol-Packing Widows.
(SPOILER ALERT: We learn through the series that P.K.’s Indian Ma was of questionable character – mostly inferred and probably above most children’s heads. Also, P.K.’s foster parents were murdered, and P.K. found them. He is able to continue on without falling apart because of his Thorn – he cannot show emotion, nor can he read other people’s emotions.)
Highly recommended for ages 10 and up.