Review of ‘Solitario: The Lonely One’ by John Manuel *****


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, filed a charge for assault and battery. Sore at losing the trial, Gallagher vowed revenge. Next October, 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, and the rest of the party continued their adventure. Preparing to set up camp, Gallagher showed up and started shooting at them. Ducharme’s adventures with Gallagher are not over yet.

Solitario: The Lonely One thrusts readers into the wilds of Rio Grande, provides evocative scenery, and a dash of Indian history. John Manuel presents a beautifully written story with rounded characters and a whiff of drama. The dialogue makes the readers think he is 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 readers can relate to, which he tries to overcome. His female relationships are very genuine, as is his desire to make success of his business. John Manuel manages to weave everything into an entertaining whole, which makes this book a delight to read.

This book is available on Amazon.

About John Manuel

John Manuel

John Manuel is a writer whose published works span the genres from environmental journalism, to creative non-fiction, to fiction. He has published three books, including a guidebook, The Natural Traveler Along North Carolina’s Coast; a memoir, The Canoeist; and a novel, Hope Valley. His articles have appeared in institutional magazines such as The National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s Environmental Health Perspectives, trade journals such as Canoe and Kayak, and popular magazines such as Audubon and Orion.

John is also a professional photographer. His photos have accompanied his articles in Audubon, Duke Magazine, Canoe and Kayak, and Wildlife in North Carolina.

John is also a teacher. He has designed and taught courses at the Duke University Young Writer’s Camp and the Duke Center for Documentary Studies.


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