An old-fashioned western straight out of the Saturday morning serials, Silver Creek is packed with action revolving around a young cowboy’s effort to clear his father’s name. John Garrett exiled himself from his Arizona ranch for six years after an argument, but a trusted friend sends word that there’s need back home. On the way, trouble leaves him wounded and on the run. Nursed back to health by Andrea Blaine, a neighbor with reasons not to trust a Garrett, the two find themselves falling in love anyway. But there’s murder to solve and justice to pursue before Andrea trumps his beloved horse in John’s affections.
First time novelist Holt provides action and vivid detail to spark a conventional story. The sense of place is especially strong, although the time period is not. Silver Creek suffers from too much “tell,” with mostly stock characters often repeating whole scenes of action and reaction. The novel was also ill-served by sloppy editing that could have helped provide more economy of thought, and even allowed an earlier draft’s version of the heroine’s name to slip in.