4 out of 4 stars
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Refuge, by Mike Shellenbergar, is about Cinch McCall. In the past, certain Comanches eliminated her family and abducted her. They traded her to some men, who are Comancheros, but somehow, she escaped. Now, dressed as a cowhand, she is going after the Comancheros.
Somewhere along the line, Cinch rescues Li, a Chinese man, from robbers, and afterwards, she discovers that she and Li belong to the same kung fu clan. Later on, Li asks her to file a mining claim on his behalf, and she agrees. Being a kung fu expert as well as having great shooting skill and survival instincts, will she be able to eliminate her already wanted enemies?
This fast-paced book is well written and intriguing. As I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. Exploring the themes of revenge and the consequences of crime, it's captivating and full of action. The descriptions of the events and scenes are very vivid; it was like I was watching a Clint Eastwood Western movie. The only difference is that the main character here is a woman. I haven't read such an outstanding novel for quite a while, and I commend the author for his smooth-flowing writing style and the ability to make his story and characters lifelike.
Comprising a solid plot as well as interesting twists and turns, Refuge is a good read. Containing interesting and amusing dialogues, I enjoyed reading it, and though it ended in a satisfactory manner, I wanted more of the story after I read the last line.
Concerning the characters, they are all intriguing, both the good and bad guys. Cinch, the protagonist, is very likeable; there's nothing I didn't like about her. Even though she is on a revenge journey, she is decent and level-headed. She is just a woman who doesn't like to see people treated badly. According to her, "I was treated badly once and have never forgotten it."
Set in the 1800s, the story includes the use of horses and buggies. It tells about ranches and involves gunfights and killings. Therefore, readers who do not like books involving several killings may want to steer clear of this one. Regarding profanity, I noticed a few vulgar words, and there are no sexual scenes.
Overall, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. I didn't give it a lower rating because it's well presented and entertaining. Also, it was professionally edited, though I noticed a couple of errors. Fans of historical thrillers will enjoy it.
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