I’ve read many books by Delores Fossen. I’ve enjoyed all of them, especially those about the Ryland family of Silver Creek. Drury is the latest of this large group of cousins, all of them lawmen, to become embroiled in an adventure involving the woman of their dreams.
As always with Ms Fossen’s tales, that adventure includes a baby in peril, and myriad suspects.
To be honest, in recent books, things have gone off the boil somewhat. The tales were becoming formulaic, the villains easy to identify and the action interchangeable. Somebody threatens the woman and child, the hero steps in to help. Every one of the suspects then turns up at the sheriff’s office pleading their innocence, accusing the others and getting nasty. Worse, the heroine is told by the hero that it would be best to keep quiet while the suspects are around, which is always commonsense advice designed to ensure she doesn’t give away her presence/vital information. She invariably can’t follow orders and you end up wanting to throttle her.
Then, at some stage in the book, the bad guys attack the sheriff’s office, damaging it badly and writing off several police cars. The budget requirements for this particular branch of law enforcement must make the state accountant’s eyes water. If I was him, I’d have the place rebuilt in bombproof steel and six feet thick concrete. I’d also send an investigator to see why the place is so vulnerable to attack, if not to relieve this family of duty until their penchant for being blown up can be addressed.
Thankfully, Drury sees a return to form. Yes, there are still myriad suspects, cardboard cut outs and stereotypes, all coming to accuse each other. But the heroine, Caitlyn, does have the sense to avoid confrontations with them, and to accept the advice of the lawmen she has turned to for help.
There are still attacks, but nobody tries to demolish the sheriff’s office in broad daylight and in front of the entire town, and the villain wasn’t so easy to pick out of the line up.
The book is not perfect. Drury himself is a little flat as a hero, but that may be because the story is mostly told from Caitlyn’s point of view, so we don’t get to know him as well as we might have done. It would have been good to hear more of his thoughts, see more of his reactions and learn more of his motivations. Now and then, he has a flashback to the death of his wife several years before, but these don’t elicit more than the barest emotions in him, as if he remembers because he is supposed to do so.
Also, I get cross when the powers-that-be show a lack of foresight bordering on stupidity. The area is teeming with mobile phone dead spots, where it is impossible to use phones to summon help or pass on information. One would think, in that case, the cars would be fitted with CB radios, but no. It makes it easier to strand the hero and heroine, but it seems contrived. However, I do have to admit that it didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the story, which rips along at an enjoyable pace. I shall continue to read Ms Fossen’s books, and am especially looking forward to learning more about Drury’s brother, Lucas, whose tale sounds intriguing. Just as long as Lucas’ lady has some sense, and nobody tries to blow up the sheriff’s office. Again.