Canyon of Danger

Written by Susan K. Marlow
Review by Jo Ann Butler

Sheriff Coulter has to escort a prisoner to Sacramento. He leaves his only son in charge of the family ranch for a few days, and twelve-year-old Jem Coulter couldn’t be prouder. But trouble begins when a wolf kills one of the Coulters’ calves. Jem lies in wait to kill the wolf, only to shoot a man instead!

Although California’s Gold Rush is drawing to a close, plenty of unsavory characters are hanging around Goldtown – and when Jem rides into town for help, he encounters nothing but further setbacks in the form of horse thieves and the sheriff’s unhelpful deputies. Can things get any worse?

Canyon of Danger is the first book in Susan Marlow’s Goldtown Adventures series. Readers ages 8-12 will enjoy following Jem, his feisty little sister Ellie, and his cousin Nathan across California’s gold country, and they will pick up more than a little history along the way. Canyon of Danger is fast-paced enough to keep kids reading, and also takes the time to depict the beautiful Sierra Mountains. Perhaps Jem’s aunt allows her charges more freedom than most guardians would – but living on the edge of a mountain wilderness, kids had no choice but to be self-reliant. Anyone who wants to ride up a trail in search of adventure should give Susan K. Marlow’s Canyon of Danger a try.