Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Ragtime Cowboys by Loren D. Estleman



That’s the danger of living alone. You get a dumb idea, nobody calls you on it, you get a dumber one later, nobody calls you on it, and before you know it you got a head full of dumb ideas and you run around like a blind horse till you smack up against the side of a barn.”

Reliable teller of tales, Mr. Estleman gives an historical what-if? He takes two former real-life Pinkerton agents, Charlie Siringo and Dashiell Hammett and puts them on a case involving the estate of the late Jack London, with a visit with Wyatt Earp and Joseph Kennedy thrown in to boot.

A crackerjack idea, the marriage of the western with the early hard-boiled.

It is full of such clash of ages/cultures exchanges as…

I hope you’re right and he follows me instead of you.”

“I know a trick or two if he don’t. The Agency didn’t start when you joined.”

“It didn’t stop when you quit.”

Estleman is an author I have enjoyed a good deal, much of his work is superlative, but it may be the fault of this reader in that I found much of what was between the covers a bit, well, rote. Oh, it is skillfully rendered, but I did not settle in easily for the ride.

Now, that may just be me, if the premise sounds aces to you, I would heartily encourage you to make your own estimation.


A Frontier Phrase Worth Resurrecting: “He Bubbles Pure"

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