Early Book Review: Cardwell Ranch Trespasser by B.J. Daniels


Cardwell Ranch Trespasser is a new book in the Montana Mystique series by B.J. Daniels and is schedule for release on March 19 2013. Dana Cardwell was so glad she had more family out in the world, that she invites a cousin she never knew existed for an open ended stay at her ranch.  However, the cunning Dee Ann that Dana and her family welcomes to the family might have plans Dana could never imagine. Dana' best friend Hilde is skeptical about Dee, and fear for her friend only deepens when accidents befall her in Dee's company. Dana and her husband Hud do not believe Hilde, everyone seems to complete trust and fawn over the newcomer. Everyone but Deputy Marshal Colt Dawson, who just wants to keep Hilde safe, and as close as possible. Can they uncover the truth about Dee before tragedy strikes.

I believe Cardwell Ranch Trespasser to be the fifth book in a series. I have not read any of the other books, and despite not fully understanding some of the apparently complicated family dynamics in the Cardwell clan, I did not feel like the plot of this book were compromised by that lack. Dana is an abundantly cheerful and good-natured woman, with no ill thoughts about anyone. She has no apparent concerns about inviting a stranger into her house with her family. I am rather glad that I have not yet read her book, as I think I would not appreciate that character on a larger scale. Hilde is a character I can connect with. She is pragmatic, hard working, and a realist. She is willing to give Dee a chance, but listens when her warning bells start ringing. Colt makes no secret that he is fascinated with Hilde, even though she previously turned him down. But,it is his trust in her, and her instincts, that lead him to help her. I liked that dynamic, as well as the details of the strain on previously strong relationships caused by the situation.

I found the majority of the story a little far fetched, like a marshal would not do a little research about the woman invited to stay with his family, which includes four small children, which bothered me. I also found that the relationship between Hilde and Colt moved a little too quickly from 'its not a good idea, to 'come on in' for my tastes. I know that stress and fear push things along faster, and that life and death situations can make people do silly things, and that it was a fairly short story, but still irked me a little.

I recommend Cardwell Ranch Trespasser to readers that enjoy the other books by B.J. Daniels, particular those in this series. I think that readers that want a quick, but slightly wild, read with romance, suspense, and some mystery will enjoy the book. For those that need a story with a more convincing tale, something that feels real regardless of the setting, will want to skip the book.

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