5 Stars Out Of 5
Great Series for Boys (and Tomboys!).
December 4, 2013
Jeremiah "Jem" Colter is stoked. His pa left him in charge of the ranch while he escorts a criminal to a nearby townâ€”part of his job as sheriff of Goldtown. Jem's anxious to prove he's worthy of the responsibility.
When a calf turns up dead, Jem suspects a wolf. The Colter family can't afford to lose their livelihood, four hooves at a time, and wait for Pa to get home. Jem takes his father's rifle and his trusty horse, Copper, and sets up a stakeout.
Plans and pride go askew when Jem gets trigger-happy at the first sign of trouble. Something in the shadows catches his attention and he shoots. Turns out to be a person, not a wolf!
Jem has to help this mysterious strangerâ€”who won't give him any information other than his name: Rafe. The Colter boy manages to get Rafe back to the barn where he enlists the help of his Aunt Rose to nurse the injured young man. How is Jem going to explain this to Pa?
With little sister Ellie in tow, Jem heads into Goldtown to pick up some medicine for Rafe. Along the way, Copper loses a shoe which means an extra stop at the blacksmith.
While in town things, somehow, manage to get worse. Copperâ€”along with Pa's expensive rifleâ€”is stolen! Jem knows it's entirely his fault . . . if he hadn't shot at the first thing that moved, he could have avoided all the rest of the blunders of the day.
Still, with Pa gone for many more days, Jem knows he can't just sit around and wait. He has to do something. It should be easy enough to track Copper, minus one shoe, in the mud of Goldtown.
Over the next few days, Jem is able to find a few clues and also learn some things about Rafe. Rafe used to be a professional tracker! Seems like just what Jem needs to find Copper . . . until Rafe disappears just like everything else.
Jem Colter is young man with big heart, honorable intentions, and a lot of growing pains. His latest adventure "Canyon of Danger" is the third book in the Goldtown Adventures series. Author Susan K. Marlow gives us another grand adventure in the late 1800's, and this is probably my favorite story thus far. This series is a winner if you are looking for tween chapter books that are wholesome, full of fun and good old fashion lessonsâ€”without being preachy.
As a writer, it can be difficult to merely enjoy a book without noticing the writing glitches. In fact, about the same time I received "Canyon of Danger" from Kregel (for free, in exchange for my honest review), I purchased a Christian-adult suspense novel from a prolific, popular author (with a big-time publisher). I rarely read two novels at once but it turned out to be a lesson on what makes for "good writing."
Though "Canyon" is written to a much younger audience, I was drawn into the story and captured by the adventure. On the other hand, I had a difficult time enjoying the more well-known author and felt like much of the suspense story sounded cliche, often wasn't believable, and landed flat. I forced myself to read it, since I'd paid good money for it, but I won't waste my income with that particular author in the future.
That was a good lesson for me! Quality writing transcends age and genre and gives you a satisfying read. Susan Marlow has that gift and I hope you'll let your kiddos discover this series. The stories would contribute to great read-aloud times for your family as well!