Book Review: “The Outcasts” by Kathleen Kent

the-outcasts-coverThe Outcasts” is an audacious captivating story of two people from very different walks of life in search of a better future in the harsh reality of living in the American West during the 1870’s.

The story opens with Lucinda Carter stealing away in the early morning hours from the Texas brothel where she’s worked for several years as a prostitute under prison-like conditions for a ruthless overbearing Madame. Lucinda doesn’t leave empty-handed however. In fact, she leaves with a pouch filled with silver coins she’s stolen from the Madame, using the money to finance her new-found freedom.

With the horrific upbringing of being an epileptic child banished to an insane asylum by her father, Lucinda escapes yet another horror, heading to Middle Bayou where she plans to meet her lover and begin a new life with the riches of pirate’s gold he tells her is hidden near the town.

Meanwhile, Nate Cannon, a newly installed member of the Texas State Police, is commissioned to meet up with two long-time partners in the Texas Rangers, Captain George Deerling and Dr. Tom Goddard to inform them that the ruthless killer of men, women, and children, Bill McGill, whom they’ve tracked for years has killed again.

Neither Deerling nor Dr. Tom is exactly thrilled the young inexperience law man will be tagging along with them to find the killer. But with honesty and an abiding sense of justice, Nate eventually wins them over by standing on conviction and performing an unexpected act of bravery.

The paths of Lucinda and Nate eventually intersect in the bustling city of New Orleans, Louisiana where promises are kept, secrets are revealed, and lives are changed forever.

“The Outcasts” is the first western novel I’ve read, and it left me longing for more! Kathleen Kent has done a superb job of capturing the essence of a time when life was difficult and the choices people made were even more so.

The detailed descriptions of Lucinda’s clothing, the terrain, the torrential downpours, the brothels, the hotels, the guns, the steam ship, the harsh cold nights all added authenticity and believability to the story.

The characters are well-developed, flawed, and imperfect. The plot is tightly woven and well-paced with unexpected twists and turns, and every loose end is neatly tied by the story’s conclusion. I absolutely love this story!

PS – If you’ve read “The Outcasts” drop me a line or two and tell me what you think about it.

Thanks!

Catherine

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