Book Review: Justice at Cardwell Ranch

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.

Once again B. J. Daniels does an amazing job of writing such a solid and suspenseful opening that simply grabs your attention and begs you to keep reading to find out who these mystery people are, what their story is but also to read about the others involved in the various portions of the story line. I was very interested in finding out just who that woman at the beginning was, why she was taking the baby and the connection between the two.

The events of this book happen six years after the event from the previous book, Crime Scene At Cardwell Ranch, in that time Hud and Dana have married, have had two kids and have twins on the way. While the focus of the book is not necessarily on them Hud and Dana play a fairly big role in everything that happens. I was curious to find out why, after six years of minimal contact not only Stacy but Jordan as well returns to the ranch. Jordan had the reason of coming back for his high school reunion but Stacy just showed up out of the blue. I have to admit that I was suspicious about why these two were back, at the same time, though they were both surprised to see the other was back as well.

I will admit I wasn’t surprised at all when a murder happened shortly after Jordan came back, more so that he was at the scene when it happened. Jordan was a character that because of the previous book I started off not liking. He’s got an attitude about him, plenty of arrogance and doesn’t seem to care for others, just about himself. He did however grow on me in this book as he proved he can move past those things and be a good person, which happened to have been buried under all those layers of himself. I like Liza, she was a nice addition to the story. The fact that she doesn’t trust Jordan right away made me like her, had she instantly fallen for him and ignored the warning signs that seemed to surround him in the beginning I might have had a different opinion of her.

A large focus of the book was divided between a couple of investigation, which actually tied together in the end. There was the murder of Jake, the man who Jordan went to see, the twenty year old suicide of Jordan’s friend and classmate Tanner and possible connection between those two events and whether other classmates knew anything or were involved in some way. On top of this there was Stacy’s disappearance part way through the book, the mystery of the identity of the baby Stacy had brought with her, Stacy’s reappearance, long lasting blackmail of several, the attempt on Liza’s life and two other murders at the end.

The romance in this book is very light. With the majority of the book focusing on the murder investigation the slow developing love between Jordan and Liza tended to take a backseat to other things. I didn’t mind this so much as there were a number of part of the investigation that proved really interesting and to have that sprinkle of romance among that helped to push the story along. However it’s not until the very end that anything really happens romance wise.

Overall I enjoyed this book however I felt as though it lacked something. It started off really solid, great suspense and flow of story but after the first quarter or so I found things slowed down quite a bit, I think the investigation might have bogged things down a bit and so the nice flow was stammered until the end. When it came to the finale of the murder plot the pace kicked up again which was nice but I felt it might have come a bit too late. Still enjoyed the book and will recommend it to those who like books of the romantic suspense that are very light on the romance. Will be reading the remaining book in the series to find out what else happens to those characters.

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