by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of Castle Rock at the end of this review.
Once again Seventh Street Books brings us back to Carolyn Hart’s roots in romantic suspense with the re-release of her 1983 mystery novel, Castle Rock. Full of intrigue, love, and hidden identities, Hart displays all of the burgeoning talent that would make her one of the best known and most talented contemporary mystery authors.
After the death of their parents, Serena Mallory and her sister were taken in by Dan McIntire, who lost his own son and daughter-in-law in the same fatal boating accident and would raise the girls as if they were his own. There is nothing Serena or her “uncle” loves more than Castle Rock, his working cattle ranch and a summer dude ranch for vacationing guests. As much as she loves living at Castle Rock, Serena knows that the upcoming summer will be difficult with the return of her sister Julie, who left the ranch the previous year to marry Peter Carey, a former guest and who just happened to be the man Serena herself had believed could be The One.
Before Serena can adjust to the arrival of her sister, her new brother-in-law, and the new round of ranch guests, her Uncle Dan dies in what is believed to have been a tragic accident but which Serena finds far more suspicious. With her future and the future of the ranch in jeopardy Serena becomes even more unbalanced by her feelings for Jed Shelton, the new ranch hand whose mysterious past makes him as appealing as it does dangerous. Even Will McIntire, whom Serena has always considered to be a brother but who would like to be much more, is acting moody and out-of-character, leaving Serena feeling adrift and uncertain over whom she can trust and whom she should love.
All of the elements that make up an enjoyable romantic mystery novel are present in this fast-moving and very enjoyable novel; an attractively mysterious stranger, a nice and suitable suitor, a rival vixen, and an ugly mysterious threat hidden amidst the unfamiliar guests staying at the secluded ranch. Readers will enjoy watching Serena mature as she must make decisions that will determine her future on the ranch, her personal life, and the immediate murder investigation. Romantic tension, ratcheting suspense, and a cadre of interesting characters all combine into a thoroughly enjoyable mystery that feels completely contemporary and yet will appeal to fans who feel nostalgic yearnings for gothic romance and suspense novels.
To enter to win a copy of Castle Rock, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Castle,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 1, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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