I grew up with the Western…my father an avid reader of Zane Grey. Great television Westerns like Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Bonanza, The Virginian, The Rifleman, just to name a few, a part of my early development: “Happy Trails to You” hummed in my head for more days than I can count. With the success of Lonesome Dove, both the Pulitzer Prize-winning book and the television mini-series, and most recently the remake of True Grit, demonstrates the strong possibility the Western will make a comeback, one of the reasons I why I can recommend Henry McLaughlin’s award-winning book, Journey to Riverbend, due for release February, 2011. http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Riverbend-Henry-McLaughlin/dp/1414339429/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1293586928&sr=1-1 also available on Kindle.
“We’re so proud of Henry and his award-winning first novel. This one grabs you from the first sentence and never lets go.” Said Jerry B. Jenkins, owner of the Christian Writers Guild. And it doesn’t take long before we realize why Henry won Operation First Novel sponsored by Christian Writers Guild.
I echo Jerry’s sentiments because Henry is a former critique partner. Fearless Fiction Writers knew from the first, Henry would do great things with his writing.
Michael Carter makes a journey to Riverbend as a favor to a boy he counseled who dies on the gallows. Ben Cartairs left his home after a falling out with his father and wants more than anything in this world to be reconciled. But, when Ben is hung, unable to prove his innocence, Michael promises to find Ben’s father and tell him he could be proud of the man his son had become, a changed life saved by Grace.
Soon after his arrival in Riverbend, Michael learns that Ben's father, Sam Carstairs has been kidnapped. Michael joins the search party, determined to fulfill his promise. But the journey to Riverbend isn’t only about Ben and Sam Carstairs. In the tension that follows his journey, Michael recalls his own evil past, his bloody brawl with his father and a journey that had resulted in Michael’s salvation. In Riverbend, Michael meets and falls in love with the beautiful Rachel Stone, a former prostitute who has conquered her past through faith but who is resistant to trust any man.
And so it is that all the characters McLaughlin introduces are on independent journeys. In this historical western, McLaughlin mirrors the same situations many Christians and non-believers struggle with today. Told with raw reality that was the West of bygone days, McLaughlin takes the reader on parallel journeys. Kudos for a job well done. An entertaining read from start to finish.
JOURNEY TO RIVERBEND
By Henry McLaughlin