When Wyatt Earp asks you to track down the guy who stole his horse, you say yes. So former Pinkerton Charlie Siringo takes the case and teams up with aspiring writer Dashiell Hammett, ready for anything. When the trail leads to Jack London’s home and a bigger mystery – one involving bribes, Tammany Hall, and a man with major plans for the future: Joseph P. Kennedy – what started as a simple job will demand all of Siringo and Hammett’s skills… as well as a few big favors.
Ragtime Cowboys is wish fulfillment storytelling, like fan fiction with an official “it’s okay, no stigma here” stamp, as Estleman unleashes several famous names in a sandbox of his own design. With Hammett, Earp, Siringo, and a few other icons to bandy about, he concocts an elaborate state-spanning romp that’ll pique the interest of pulp fans and history fans alike.
Although the two crimes – the horse theft and the bigger plot afoot – never dovetail in a truly satisfying way, each offers ample opportunity for engaging dialogue. This book is by Estleman, for Estleman, and that delight shows; this is a pet passion project that happens to be marketable as well.
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