The Silver Shooter: A Rose Gallagher Mystery

Written by Erin Lindsey
Review by Judith Starkston

The Silver Shooter is the exhilarating and entertaining third in Lindsey’s Rose Gallagher historical fantasy mystery series. Set in 1887, it opens in New York with Rose and her elegantly tailored mentor, Thomas Wiltshire, receiving an assignment from Theodore Roosevelt. Rose has risen from maid living in the slums of Five Points to Pinkerton agent specializing in otherworldly crime.

Roosevelt tells a tale set in the Dakota Badlands of “a murder, a monster, and magic,” a phrase Lindsey uses as a chapter ending, one of many effective closings that entice readers onward. She cleverly intertwines these three threads into a multi-layered plot with twists and surprises for a fast-paced read.

Rose and Thomas find a West far wilder than they imagined. Lindsey builds on the history of Roosevelt’s ranching days and colorful associates, a deadly winter known as the Blue Snow, and an outfit of thug “cattlemen,” to which she adds magic arising when “fate and mortals occasionally coupled.” Magic people are “lucky,” their powers sometimes tending toward scientific, such as “elemental,” identification by touch of a soil’s minerals. Roosevelt has “uncanny magnetism” that “drew people to him like moths to a flame,” thus combining his historical charisma with the fantastical premise.

The romantic sizzle between Thomas and Rose sparks excitement without detracting from mystery solving, and the challenges keeping them apart add richness to character development. Dry humor bubbles up throughout, another successful facet. At one point, Rose uses her jujitsu on an unsavory attacker, but adds “a Five Points variation,” knee to groin. “He curled over himself on the floor, whimpering in a register mainly discernible by dogs, and I can’t pretend I didn’t find it just a little gratifying.”

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy a lively mixture of history, mystery and the fantastical.