The Case of the Deadly Desperados
Western Mysteries, Book One
By Caroline Lawrence
(G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780399256332, 288pp.)
Publication Date: February 16, 2012
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Introducing P.K. Pinkerton, Master of Disguise
When twelve-year-old P.K. (Pinky) Pinkerton's foster parents are murdered by Whittlin' Walt and his gang of ruthless desperados, Pinky goes on the run and is forced into hiding with Ma's priceless last possession: the deed to a large amount of land and silver mines in the Nevada Mountains. But relying on disguises will only keep Pinky hidden for so long, and the desperados are quickly closing in . . .
Narrated by the incredibly lively Pinky, this thrilling high-speed chase through the Wild West will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very last page.
Caroline Lawrence is an English-American author who was born in London and grew up in Bakersfield, California. She currently lives in London, England.
". . . it's clear P.K. has what today we would call Asperger's syndrome or high-functioning autism. Brilliant, touch-averse and reclusive, he 'cannot express emotions easily. Nor read them neither.' But he is endowed with 'keen observation skills' and an excellent memory. The autism conceit also reveals Lawrence's influences, most notably, Mark Haddon's Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . . . P.K.'s journey is very much a metaphor for an autistic experience. Lawrence powerfully conveys both the difficulties of living with autism and the autistic mind's distinctive strengths. Any child who's felt like a 'Misfit' or 'Freak of Nature' as P.K. does will identify with his despair and cheer him." — The New York Times Book Review
“This fast-paced and deadpan-funny Wild West adventure is Pinky’s first-person account, scrawled out as “last words” on ledger sheets in a mine shaft while three desperados hunt him down …Wonderfully dry humor, vivid sensory descriptions of the mountain town and a genuinely appealing protagonist make this a stand-out. A rich vein of wisdom runs through this highly entertaining, swashbuckling series debut.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A winning blend of Wild West and classic detective lore, this first book in the Western Mysteries series is a fast-paced, engrossing read, from beginning to end. P. K. is a wonderfully drawn, engaging protagonist—half Sioux, half white, and a self-proclaimed “misfit”—who has difficulty reading others and expressing emotion. But he also has gifts, like exceptional memory, keen observational powers, and resourcefulness. His vernacular, colloquial first-person account vividly brings characters to life …Both settings and events—including exciting, occasionally gory, confrontations—are filled with droll touches and period details, and there’s the occasional poignant moment.”—Booklist, starred review
Praise for PK PINKERTON AND THE DEADLY DESPERADOS:
Amazon Best Book 2012
Kirkus Best Book 2012
Indie Next Pick
Booklist Top 10 Youth Crime Fiction
Booklist Top 10 Youth Western
FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES:
“Curious, clever, and very funny…P.K.'s journey is very much a metaphor for an autistic experience. Lawrence powerfully conveys both the difficulties of living with autism and the autistic mind's distinctive strengths. Any child who's felt like a ''Misfit'' or ''Freak of Nature'' as P.K. does will identify with his despair and cheer him.”
STARRED REVIEW FROM BOOKLIST:
“A winning blend of Wild West and classic detective lore, this first book in the Western Mysteries series is a fast-paced, engrossing read, from beginning to end.”
STARRED REVIEW FROM KIRKUS REVIEWS:
“[F]ast-paced and deadpan-funny Wild West adventure … A rich vein of wisdom runs through this highly entertaining, swashbuckling series debut.”
FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
“[E]nergetic, vividly written series opener… this agile story should keep readers’ attention from first page to last.”
FROM THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN’S BOOKS:
“Wild chases, wilder disguises, goofy humor, wordplay, a delightfully gruesome end for Whittlin’ Walt, and a strong hint of episodes to come all provide a passel of good readin’.”
FROM HORN BOOK:
“[A] bang-up series starter, …[this] strongly voiced account succeeds as a rousing adventure that promises more action in another installment just around the corner.”
“[Q]uick paced and engaging, moving from one escapade to the next without ever slowing down.”