4 out of 4 stars
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Ashley Sinclair is a determined woman of faith with a lot on her plate. After her grandfather is murdered, she inherits his old Victorian ranch. The Dead Broke Ranch is wanted for development, and, prior to his murder, her grandfather was the only person in the area that refused to sell. Ashley, too, plans to keep the property, but there is a lot at stake, and Ashley must rely on her faith to guide her. So begins Mystery at Dead Broke Ranch by Anne Greene, an entertaining and suspenseful Christian mystery.
A special education therapist, Ashley plans to use the ranch as an equestrian center for special needs children. She also wants to fix the house for her three siblings who grew up in foster homes. Her disabled teenage brother has already moved in. However, the ranch is in desperate need of repair, and it is not wheelchair accessible. Ashley, afraid that her brother will be forced back into foster care, needs to make the place ready for CPS inspection. So, she hires the mysterious and hunky Stone Price to help.
Unbeknownst to Ashley, Stone has ulterior motives for seeking a job on the ranch. He is a suspect in her grandfather’s murder, and he needs to find the real killer before he is arrested. When the killer targets Ashley, Stone is even more determined to figure out the mystery behind her grandfather’s death.
One quality of the book that I liked is the excellent character development. Ashley is a dynamic, well rounded protagonist. I admire her strength and determination in wanting to reconnect with her siblings and give them roots. Her optimism and zest for life is infectious, and it is obvious that she positively influences the people around her. Her faith in God guides her, and her fears and desires are very relatable. Stone is also a well-rounded character. He is a desperate man with a target on his back. Though his motivation is to clear his name, there is much more to this strong and caring man. I also love Ashley’s live-in cook, Scutts, whose exaggerated use of similes adds a bit of levity to the story.
Additionally, I appreciate the way in which the mystery unfolds throughout the story. The author makes good use of foreshadowing to build suspense, and the occasional flashbacks help to develop the characters and the plot. My only criticism is that the ending seemed a bit rushed. I don’t want to say much and give the ending away, but it concluded rather abruptly, and it left some unanswered questions. That being said, this is the first book in the Texas Rangers, Men Who Wear the Star series, so I expect that all of my questions are answered in future stories.
I rate Mystery at Dead Broke Ranch 4 out of 4 stars. The piece is well written, engaging, and professionally edited. I only found three errors in the entire book, and they are not egregious. There is a capitalization error, a missing quotation mark, and a misplaced comma. This is an easy, quick read with good pacing, vivid imagery, and excellent character development. I think the story appeals to readers who enjoy Christian mysteries and romantic suspense.
Mystery At Dead Broke Ranch
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