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Book review: 'Beyond the Narrows' tells adventure story in southern Utah

"BEYOND THE NARROWS," by M.R. Durbin, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 295 pages (f)

Full of adventure and danger, “Beyond the Narrows” follows a group of retirees and a couple of their grandchildren as they venture through southern Utah in search of ancient treasure.

O’Reilly "Obie" Begay, a Mormon archaeologist and a Navajo version of Indiana Jones, leads his band of treasure hunters through a set of ancient Mayan clues. When an ancient journal supposedly related to the Knights Templar falls into the hands of Obie and his friends, their curiosity is sparked.

When they decide to see where the journal's clues take them, the group discovers they aren't the only ones involved in the hunt. They soon find themselves caught in shootouts, car chases and dangerous rock-wall rappelling adventures while racing their enemies to find the treasure.

The plot of “Beyond the Narrows” is a page-turner at times and a slow read at others. Some aspects of the treasure hunt are easy to anticipate, while others are thrillingly unpredictable.

The characters' age range in “Beyond the Narrows” — four of the main characters are retirement age and the two grandkids are young adults — puts a refreshing and amusing twist on the action-novel genre.

The novel presents a cast of interesting and developed characters, including several who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Obie's granddaughter is Mac, an LDS young woman with a strong personality and love for the outdoors, who is a key part of the treasure-hunting group. Peter is a retired group member and Obie's loyal and understanding right-hand man and another retired member of the group, Jack, is the painfully obvious comic relief who never is very funny.

It is obvious that author M.R. Durbin has experience in southern Utah geography and in Mayan history, as both are explored in great detail throughout the book.

While there isn't any foul language or sexual content, it is action-packed and contains some general descriptions of scenes that involve guns, car chases, explosives and deaths.

Durbin grew up in Parowan, Utah. He worked in education after graduating from Brigham Young University with his bachelor's degree and from Utah State University with his master's. He is now retired and spends his time writing.

McKenna Park is an aspiring journalist and a student at Brigham Young University studying communications. Her email is mckennaleeknudsen@gmail.com.