Home > Book, contemporary, Genre, Review, romance > Book Review: Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels

Book Review: Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels

Man in cowboy hat looking into the distance.Summary:
Dana doesn’t want to sell the family ranch in Montana, but her siblings are insistent and without her mother’s new will, she doesn’t have a leg to stand on.  The sale gets held up when a body is discovered in an old well on the ranch.  A new marshal is brought in from out of town to investigate, and it’s none other than Hud, Dana’s ex-fiancee.  Can they find the killer?  Can Dana save the ranch from her greedy siblings?  Will renewed love overcome old hurts?

Review:
This is a Harlequin romance novel, and they are not meant to be super-serious or make you ponder life.  It’s light reading akin to viewing the hot summer blockbuster movie.  So does it do its job?

The murder storyline is just complex enough to be compelling but not so complex that too much thinking is required, so plot-wise, Daniels does a good job.  The characters are fairly well-rounded, and Daniels eloquently presents a true-to-life modern Montana and not the romanticized vision of the old west often seen in books.  (My brother used to live in Montana, so I’m speaking from experience here).  Hud and Dana are sigh-inducing as a couple, but are also still believable.  Their love story could happen in real life, so that makes for an enjoyable read.

However, Harlequin romances are definitely supposed to be romance.  I was expecting at least one good sex scene.  What you get is a scene that, I kid you not, consists almost entirely of he kissed her breasts, there was passion, they went to sleep.  I’ve seen better sex scenes in historical fiction that wasn’t even marketed as romance.  Is this a Harlequin thing?  Are they supposed to be that clean?  I definitely remember them being a lot more hot and heavy when I was 15, but well, that was 9 years ago.  In any case, this sex scene left much to be desired.  Much.

The book also suffers from a lack of good editing.  This definitely isn’t Daniels’  fault.  Daniels makes mistakes most writers will make periodically in a book this long, but the editor failed to catch them.  I’d say there are around five easily noticeable errors in the book.  I find it easy enough to roll my eyes and continue on. If that sort of thing bothers you, though, you should be aware.

Overall, Daniels provides an intriguing modern day crime mystery set in rural Montana with a touch of romance and sex that happens off the page.  If you like light, fairly clean genre fiction with a dash of intrigue, you will enjoy this book.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Amazon

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