“Justice at Cardwell Ranch,” by BJ. Daniels. Harlequin Enterprises Limited, Ontario, Canada. Paperback, 216 pages. $5.25.
By DAVID CRISP - The Billings Outpost
No matter how many books you read, whole genres can pass you by. My wife used to read a lot of romance novels and occasionally I would dip my nose into one just to see what was going on. They might as well have been written in Sanskrit. Nothing much there penetrated my brain.
So it came as a total surprise to me to learn that Montana has a bestselling romance writer right here in Malta. I am not even certain that “romance” is the right word because the genre seems to contain genres within the genre.
Anyway, her name is B.J. Daniels, and she has written 26 novels in the Harlequin Intrigue series, plus ebooks. According to press materials, her first book set on the Cardwell Ranch in the Gallatin Canyon was read by more than 2 million people, as opposed, apparently, to selling more than 2 million copies.
I don’t know how many people have read the sequel, “Justice at Cardwell Ranch,” but I am one of them – just another Outpost service to its readers.
Presumably, what goes on here will be familiar ground for Ms. Daniels’ fans. Jordan Cardwell is a hunk with a past who returns to Montana for, among more mysterious purposes, his 20-year high school reunion. When he is found standing over the fresh corpse of a high school classmate, he becomes a murder suspect. Investigating the case is an attractive deputy, who feels her heartstrings tug at the sight of him.
Meanwhile, his sister, who is holding on to the family ranch, is married to the marshal, who has the irresistible name of Hud Savage. She is profoundly pregnant when another sister shows up unexpectedly, fresh baby in hand.
Let’s see, what else? There are stuck-up old high school classmates, a car crash, ancient vandalism, a possible kidnapping, yet another family member who shows up, another new baby and so on.
Having made it to the end of the book, I’m still not quite sure what to make of all this. Ms. Daniels, who started as a newspaper journalist, certainly has the skills.
The novel trips along without a hitch. And perhaps it isn’t giving too much away to note that things turn out mostly OK for the principals at the end.
But what does it all mean? Guess I will have to wait for the Sanskrit version to come out.