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Reviewed by Stefan Vucak for Readers' Favorite
Robbie Ducharme finished leading a group of canoeists down the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande. They made camp and had dinner around a crackling fire. This would be his last trip for the season. When he got home, the local sheriff said that after two years, Gallagher, one of his former clients, had filed a charge for assault and battery. Sore at losing the trial, Gallagher vowed revenge. Next October, the start of the new season, Ducharme had fully booked tours. Heavy rains caused the Rio Grande to swell, making it too dangerous for canoeing. He went to scout another river as an alternative. The group reached the raging river amid spectacular scenery and started down. The next day, one of the party had a mild stroke and needed to get to a hospital. Ducharme decided to take the man out of the canyon and call for help on his cell when he got a signal, while the rest of the party continued their trip. But unexpectedly, Ducharme’s adventures with Gallagher are not over yet.
Solitario: The Lonely One thrusts readers into the wilds of the Rio Grande, provides evocative scenery, and a dash of Native American history. John Manuel presents a beautifully written story with rounded characters and a whiff of drama. The dialogue makes readers think they are part of the canoeing party, and the vivid narrative of canyons, rushing water, and an occasional spill is an adventure in itself. It is very easy to become immersed in Solitario: The Lonely One and it does not disappoint. Ducharme is a flawed character with human failings that readers can relate to, which he tries to overcome. His female relationships are very genuine, as is his desire to make a success of his business. John Manuel manages to weave everything into an entertaining whole, which makes this book a delight to read.