ST. LOUIS SINNERS
as by Jon Sharpe
Signet May 2004
Skye Fargo usually doesn’t take jobs he can’t do by himself. But when an old friend begs him to find a priceless ruby ring stolen by a passel of pint-size pilferers, Fargo hires a streetwise vagabond named Toby to infiltrate the gang and lead him to the cunning criminal who uses kids as his own personal thieves guild.
But this job isn’t going to be child’s play, and there’s nothing petty about the larceny this posse is pulling off. Soon Fargo realizes a lot more is at stake than one man’s heirloom. The Trailsman has to watch his step – and his pockets – if he doesn’t want to lose his shirt…and his life.
As it says on the back, “The Dickens it ain’t!” But the author must have been a fan, particularly of Oliver Twist.
There’s not as much gunplay as might be expected from a Trailsman book but that doesn’t matter in this case as St. Louis Sinners is a gripping story in which double-cross follows double-cross, as the story moves rapidly towards payoff, and Fargo begins to wonder if he’s supplied the very kid the criminal needs to pull off a much bigger crime than the one he’s trying to solve.
The writing style is to jump from one character to another, so Fargo is not in the story as much as usual. The double-cross plot(s) did have me wishing the book was longer so these twists could have been explored more.
But this excellent tale is marred by the authors portrayal of Skye Fargo. I don’t remember Fargo going around calling people “old chum” before. Fargo is also referred to as a bounty hunter – which he’s not. He’s a man who smokes – which he doesn’t. Worst of all, we are told Skye Fargo is the name his parents gave him! - You only have to read the character introduction, reproduced in all the books, to know this is not correct.
So, in conclusion, if you can forgive the author for failing to get Skye Fargo’s character right, this book provides a good entertaining read.