Retribution Rails

384p. HMH. Nov. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544918887.
Gr 8 Up—Reece Murphy "The Rose Kid" longs for freedom from the Rose Riders, a violent group of bandits who aren't afraid to use dirty tactics to get their hands on valuables. He was forced into the Rose Riders because of a mysterious coin. Now, to gain his freedom, he has to help Luther Rose, the Boss, find out who killed his brother. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Vaughn is determined to be a female reporter like Nellie Bly. She is heading to Prescott to chronicle the opening of the Prescott and Arizona Central rail line. The recent death of her father has made it imperative that Charlotte find a way to help her mother keep the family mining business together and away from the greedy hands of her uncle. Unfortunately, her plans change abruptly when the Rose Riders take the train hostage. Reece and Charlotte's world collide. While there is action on every page, the pace remains slow. The tension between Reece and the Rose Riders feels artificial and melodramatic despite the constant threat of violence from Luther. Charlotte's dedication to getting the facts is an admirable quality, as is her persistent personality. She clashes with Reece at every turn and theirs proves to be an intriguing and complex friendship, a highlight of the story. Bowman does the Arizona Territory justice, making this desolate and tough landscape the perfect setting for a train robbery gone wrong.
VERDICT This is for die-hard readers of the Western genre. Purchase where the first title remains popular.

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