Friday, August 22, 2014
When 12-year-old Jem Coulter’s father, pa is a sheriff, has to leave his ranch to escort a prisoner to Sacramento, Jem is excited because his dad left him in charge. He will stay there with his Aunt Rose and his sister Ellie. They, along with his cousin Nathan should be able to keep things in line until Pa returns.
Of course, if something can go wrong, it will. While his dad is away, Jem tries to kill a wolf that has killed one of the family’s sheep. In doing so, he accidentally shoots and injures a stranger who got in the way. That sets up a whole series of complications. Then, Jem’s horse is stolen – along with his pa’s rifle. If that weren’t enough, the deputies his father left in charge aren’t any help. They’re too busy trying to keep law and order in Goldtown, a place known for rowdies and no-gooders, many of whom are prospectors looking for gold and looking for trouble.
Despite all his setback and worries, Jem is determined to not let his dad down. He wants to get his horse and rifle back before his father returns, even if he has to travel into the dangerous canyon to track down the horse thieves.
Author Susan K. Marlow packs a lot of action into the story, Canyon of Danger. She also sprinkles the text with lessons about having faith in God when things look bleak and out of control.
What I Like: This is a well-written story that should interest middle-grade readers. Even though the main character is a boy, the younger sister figures rather prominently into the narrative, so girls should like the story, too.
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Very good.
Age Appeal: 8-12.
Publisher Info: Kregel Publications, 2013; ISBN: 9780825442964; Paperback, 150 pages, $7.99
Special Info: This is Book #3 in the publisher’s Goldtown Adventures Series. Read our reviews of other books by Susan K. Marlow. Visit the author’s website.