My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
There is nothing better than when a book grabs you on the first page, the first paragraph and demands your attention and wills you to keep reading to find out what will happen. That is the exact feeling I got when I started to read Crime Scene At Cardwell Ranch. Before I finished that first chapter I was pulled into the story and needed to keep reading in order to find out the who, what, when, where and why of it all. But it’s not enough for a book to simply get your attention at the beginning, that feeling must exist throughout and keep pulling you along page after page. Let me tell you, this is a book that does just that. I didn’t want to stop reading it, I needed to know everything. The mystery begins right off the hop. Who is the man and woman in that first chapter? What events happened to lead up to that scene? It’s starts like this that make me instantly love a book and want to reach the end as soon as possible.
Dana Cardwell is a strong female character. She’s determined, perhaps a bit stubborn, and though her heart was broken several years ago that doesn’t stop her from living her life and doing what she must to protect it from being broke a second time. Dana is a rancher at heart and finding out that she is selling her families ranch made me instantly wonder why that is. Then there is Hudson Savage. He seems like a good guy though much like Dana is past has been rough, his relationship with his father is fairly rocky even now, and he did not make anything better by running away from Dana five years prior. These two have a past and when they are reunited it’s far from perfect, of course given the circumstances of their reunion, a dead woman’s bone are found in a well on her ranch, it’s hard for anything to be happy. A hint of what transpired between them is give and there is obvious tension when they see each other again.
There are a number of other characters introduced along the way. The rest of the Cardwell’s are slowly brought into the story and yet none of them are the kind of character you want to like, especially Jordan, I disliked him from the moment he called Dana up after news of the body reached him. As characters are introduced more of the past, not just about Dana and Hudson, but about the murder and subsequent other murder are brought up.
I saw a pretty early connection of the bones to one of the characters introduced shortly after they were found, it made me suspect based upon a few things that person said and they way they acted when things were found with the body that they may have a close connection to the murder, in fact may even be the murderer. Of course like any good suspense/mystery book the more you read the more you begin to question who actually did it and each clue or new suspect makes you wonder if your initial guess was right or if you were simply fooled by those initial bits of information.
On top of the double murder investigation there were a few other things about the past that started cropping up that made me wonder about the current events as well as the past. Who wrote the anonymous note to get Hudson back in town? Why wait until now to do so? Why was the woman never reported missing? So many questions to figure out the answer to and yet so many clues to filter through to get the real answers. I loved it, because I was constantly guessing and wondering whether I was right or not.
Though there is tension between Dana and Hudson right from the start you can see that though they wont openly admit it they do have feelings for each other. As the story progresses and Hudson starts to get closer to finding out who was behind the murders, and most recently threatening Dana’s life, their feelings for each other start to show through their anger over what had happened five years ago.
In the end my guess had been horribly wrong on who murderer the two people in the book, I mean I wasn’t even close to being right. But that’s okay, half of the fun of reading books like this is trying to figure out the mystery that is imbedded within the rest of the story. I liked the ending, it left things open for another book and while you know what, or hopefully what will happen in the next book, you don’t know for certain if it will happen, if something will interrupt it or what else may or may not happen.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It’s more of a mystery/suspense than a romance but I think people who like either of those genres will enjoy this book. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the rest of this series and seeing what else is in store for these characters.