Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crime Scene At Cardwell Ranch (B.J. Daniels)

First of all, this book has a character in it named Brick Savage. I’ll give that a minute to sink in.

Brick. Fucking. Savage.

OK. Are you over it? Because it’s been 2 weeks and I am totally not over it. His son? OK? His son who is the protagonist and is on every page? Hudson. Hudson Savage. Affectionately known as “Hud” to his friends.


Apart from GLORIOUSLY named characters, this book ALSO has some of the best/worse similes ever afforded print. Honestly! Here! An example!

The ranch manager was as dried out as a stick of jerky and just as tough, but he knew more about cattle than any man Dana had ever known.

See? I got nothin’ to add to that. It’s a perfect sentence.

Apparently this book is a romance? You’d think with a character named Brick Savage, yes, OF COURSE it’s a romance, but I’m not convinced. It read more like a mystery with vague romantical twinges. This lady (Dana) owns a ranch, but doesn’t, like, do much ranching (is ranch a verb? it is now). She loves the fuck out of this ranch. But instead of ranching, she owns a sewing shop in town with her BFF (the whys of this bizarre departure in business venture is not explained). But OK. Five years ago, she was engaged to this super hot dude (Hud!), and they loved each other like whoa. Dana ends up catching him in bed with her sister (fail!) and he like, leaves town rapidly – immediately! Even though he doesn’t remember anything. And thinks he was drugged. And hates her sister, so really why would he sleep with her ever.

Hud is evidently a rash and dumb man, but if he were not, we would have no book.

Fast forward five years. Dana discovers a human skeleton at the bottom of the well on her beloved ranch, and she is all “wow, this sucks.” Agreed! She has been compelled to sell the ranch because her mother is dead and her greedy, awful, nasty siblings hate ranching and want the money. Her siblings are painted to be complete assholes. Like, so the epitome of Asshole that it’s funny. No one behaves like this. If they did, they wouldn’t make it past 20, because SOMEONE would kill them. That someone might even be god, coming down like an omnipotent fucking hand of justice to smite assholes. Or, something.

Anyway. Skeleton. Right. ALSO inexplicably, the town sheriff (his name is Scrappy … yes) conveniently decides to quit his job that very same morning, and apparently whoever makes the kinds of decisions that call in town sheriffs decides that the best course of action is to call that dude who left town five years ago to come back and be sherriff. Like, as opposed to the great many other, more qualified town cops who would be much better choices.

The whole situation is very “Uhhhhh? OK?”

So ex-BF shows up to inspect the remains in Dana’s well (literally; that is not a double entendre, though it would be an amazing one) and she is all Rage Face and he is all Sorry Face and not a whole lot gets accomplished. The forensics guy, who is also there and accompanied by a great many awesome similes, says the body has been in the well for way long, like 17 years, and Hud is all OMG MY DAD (Brick!) WAS TOTALLY SHERIFF BACK THEN, HE WILL KNOW EVERYTHING. Or he will have done it. Because we, the readers, are made aware that EVERYONE is a suspect. No, seriously, every character in this book other than our rage face heroine and misguided recently returned Hot Sherriff are at some point or another the prime suspects. Overkill, I think. But again … OK.

Other plot points enfold fairly fluidly (someone’s trying to kill Dana! OMG!) and of course everything is related and will be tied up neatly by the end. Our protagonist couple hate each other/love each other/hate each other, and eventually realize the whole reason they broke up (if you count Dude leaving the state as ‘breaking up’) was stupid – this realization actually reeks of the author trying to rationalize what s/he has figured out was a stupid fucking premise and is now backpedaling, but I’d rather that than not actually acknowledging it at all.

There’s some suspense, a LOT of whodunits, a little existential angst, some dreamy romancey bits and like a minor glimpse of sex. It barely counts.

Should you read this? Why not! It’s free at the Kindle store, last I checked. I managed to blow through it in a couple of hours. And the similes really are mind-blowing. This book is not art, and it will not change your life. What it will do is entertain you mildly while your bread is rising or your C drive is being defragmented. 


  1. Okay HArlequin Romance....reeellleee....They all read the same just change the names. I'm just sayin' I was done with them when I was 14. You must have been very bored

  2. I read this one too! I don't remember much about it. I do know I was disappointed by the dearth of sexy times. It's a Harlequin! WHERE IS THE HOT SEX YOU GUYS?