Fans of Henry McLaughlin’s 2011 award-winning novel Journey to Riverbend will be thrilled to know there is, at long last, a sequel. Riverbend Justice continues the story of Michael Archer, Rachel Stone, and the other characters in the town of Riverbend in the American West during the 1870s.
At the beginning of the story, Michael and a posse from Riverbend return to town after attempting to find and rescue Sam Carstairs after he was kidnapped. The men were unable to save Sam, and Michael feels guilty because he killed people to protect others. His guilt causes him to behave in ways that threaten his developing relationship with Rachel, who is building a new life for herself as a seamstress after leaving a life of prostitution.
Soon Michael remembers his promise to Sam, and he sets out to clear the name of Sam’s son Ben, who was executed for a murder he didn’t commit. However, there are those who want to stop Michael from uncovering the truth and finding the real murderer.
There is plenty in this well-written book that will appeal to both men and women. Rachel is a strong female character, and I especially enjoyed the chapters in her point of view. There is action, mystery, and descriptive details that transport the reader to the American West. The novel contains an important message about listening to and obeying God’s voice, and both Michael and Rachel experience growth as they navigate the challenges of living the Christian life.
I do suggest reading Journey to Riverbend first because several plot threads from the first novel continue into the second book. Overall, this is an enjoyable read, so I recommend Riverbend Justice by Henry McLaughlin.