Monday 15 October 2012

Missouri Mastermind

By Jon Sharpe
Signet, October 2012

Saint Joseph, Northwest Missouri, 1861 – where Skye Fargo discovers that beguiling beauty disguises unspeakable treachery.

When Allan Pinkerton asks Skye Fargo to infiltrate a small gang of brutal killers, Fargo has no idea what he’s in for. The gang is only a tiny piece of a much bigger syndicate that has its filthy hands in a lot of pies – and it’s up to the Trailsman to climb the low-life ladder and take down the head honcho…if someone doesn’t take Fargo down first.

Jon Sharpe fills this book with a twisting tale of intrigue where Fargo struggles to discover just who is behind the syndicate and then to prove his suspicions. To do this he has to resort to bluff and wits rather than the use of a gun. In fact there isn’t anywhere near as much gunplay in this story as found in many other Trailsman books. What you get is a well thought out plot and a lot of dialogue, the latter written in old pulp style speech that took me a little time to get used to. This along with Fargo calling his Ovaro ‘Old Campaigner’ and ‘Old Warhorse’ points me to believe the author behind the pseudonym of Jon Sharpe this time around is John Ames.

Once I’d got the hang of the speech I found this to be a gripping read as Fargo came up against a group of fascinating characters, none of which he could trust, some of whom seemed to have guessed his real purpose yet chose to let him live but for what reason? Then there’s the mystery as to who is taking sniping shots at the Trailsman? And who brutally kills a young woman?

Finding out the answers to all those questions above, and more, made this a hard to put down book which in turn made this story a pleasurable and entertaining read.

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