A.H. Holt,
(Avalon, 2004)

Kendrick, set in Colorado in 1898, is an old-fashioned western involving a lot of action, mystery and a splash of romance.

Wayne Kendrick, the hero of the story, is a cattleman loyal to his friend Jim Carson, who is kidnapped by villains. He is in love with Meg, Jim's sister, and hopes one day she will marry him. Carson gets into serious trouble when he is kidnapped and becomes Blake's prisoner. Blake, head of the Blake Mining Co., deceives and kills miners looking for gold.

Kendrick risks his life to save his friend and the other miners who have disappeared. It is a story of slavery and courage that comes to light thanks to the hero and his young friend, Davis, who helps him to uncover the villains and save the miners.

Kendrick is a fast-paced western that involves a lot of interesting characters and a lot of action. The story is written in the first person, as the account of Wayne Kendrick. The plot is complex and exciting, while the story is well constructed and offers readers a satisfying end. There is a moral to the story that cannot be overlooked: the courageous hero beats the odds, defeats evil and brings justice and relief to Colorado. The author manages to hold the readers' attention to the very end of the story, which proves no less exciting than her first novel, Silver Creek. Though Kendrick has got less romance and more action than Silver Creek, it raises important issues such as those of poverty of families, the nonexistent welfare of children, the desperation of gold miners seeking fortune and the villains who exploited them.

The first-person narrative makes the story more lively and truthful, while the language is enriched by local accent and idioms suitable for that kind of story set at that time.

A.H. Holt, a historian, is an expert in narrating a cowboy's story back in 1898, using all the devices her own experience and her studies can offer. Kendrick is a good read for adult and young adult readers who love action, mystery and suspense.

by Liana Metal
3 February 2007

Buy it from Amazon.com.