I read this book before because Goodreads tells me I rated it a '3 stars.' But I literally have no memory of it and got sucked into the audiobook while I was putting together a standing desk.
*** sidenote, seriously a standing desk is great! also listening to audiobooks makes tedious stuff like that go so fast***
I listened to this on audio with Joyce Bean narrating. She is a great performer. Very expressive. I have listened to her on several Linda Howard audiobooks and she never disappoints.
This is the story of Reece Gilmore. As we meet her she has just rolled into a small town in Wyoming with a busted hose on her car. We know that she drifts from place to place and we later learn that she was the sole survivor of a spree kill in a restaurant she worked in as a chef in Boston that killed all the rest of her co-workers and friends. Suffering from some serious PTSD and after a short stint in a psychiatric hospital Reece finds it easier to just check out, staying on the go, not putting down any roots, not creating any other relationships.
But she's low on money and Angel's Fist , WY is just as a good a place as any to get a quickie job and earn enough to head out. She gets a job as s short order cook in a diner and slowly, despite herself begins to become part of the town.
This is a romantic suspense story. The suspense part comes from Reece witnessing a murder, that no one else has witnessed and where there is no body and not even any signs that a struggle occurred. The romance part comes from the person of Brody, a writer who is a bit grumpy a bit snarky. But it also the only person who believes Reece saw what she saw. Even when it looks increasingly like she is making things up and jumping at shadows.
I liked the central structure of the story. The story is a bit of a nod toward Rear Window and a touch of Gaslight (Brody himself makes this observation in the book). It was a nice touch to see the different ways the killer tried to discredit Reece and gaslight her so she begins to believe like all the rest that she is making things up. There was no mustache twirler here. It was all done very subtly. As it becomes clear that the murderer is some one we know, the other bit of fun is trying to figure who it is.
What I really liked is that all the likely suspects were very nice. Great characters. You didn't want it to be one of them. She didn't throw in a total asshole just to give you someone to root against or to hope it was the killer. As the story went on and I realized who it might be I thought it was really cleverly done.
I liked Brody better than Reece, That is not surprising as I tend to like NR's heroes better than her heroines in her rom-suspense books. Brody was not a perfect, swoony hero. As a matter of fact, he was rude and a little obnoxious and struck just the right tone for the nervous Reece.
There was a great group of supporting characters and colorful townspeople. I even thought the eventual villain was a good supporting character. Sigh.
I do take a whole star off because the book was heavy in gender stereotyping. In was done in humor but I felt there were just too many instances where characters made observations about "Men are..." or "Men do..." versus "Women are.." or "Women do..." it might be nitpicky but it came off as annoying to me.
Anyway I upped my star rating to a '4' from the previous '3' because I liked it quite a bit.
I enjoyed this Contemporary Romance and gave it a rating of 4.5*. This is also the 2nd book in the Christmas On Main Street Set.This story also involves a snow storm plus repeated dumping of lots of snow. This added several sets of problems in an area of cattle country. Add some troublemakers and children into this and you get some interesting situations. Would like to read more of this authors work.
The Wildes of Wyoming-Hazard by Ruth Langan is a great read. Ms Langan has delivered a well written book. Erin and Hazard's story is loaded with suspense, humor and lovable characters. I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more from Ruth Langan in the future. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.