cover image The Adventures of Johnny Vermillion

The Adventures of Johnny Vermillion

Loren D. Estleman, Author . Forge $24.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-765

Every one of Estleman's more than 50 crime novels and westerns (Port Hazard , etc.) offers suspense, action, humor and plot twist, with the westerns all refreshingly devoid of formula horse opera antics. This one, set in 1873, is even funnier than most. Led by a handsome and charmingly slick con artist, Johnny Vermillion, the Prairie Rose Repertory Company performs Shakespeare onstage, and robs banks offstage. They are masters of disguise and role-playing and are more tricksters than anything else, but they've unwittingly cut in on the turf of Black Jack Brixton's Ace-in-the-Hole Gang, a murderous bunch who vow to wipe out their criminal competition. A resourceful Pinkerton detective gets on the trail of both outfits. Of course, four-time Spur Award–winner Estleman ensures that the actors, the outlaws and the detective will converge at the same location, in a final showdown filled with laughs and gunsmoke. (June)