Badge of Honor

Clay Yeager's Redemption

Deadly Temptation

Gage Butler's Reckoning

Her Best Friend's Husband

Just Another Day in Paradise

A Man to Trust

Midnight Seduction

The Return of Luke McGuire

A Whole Lot of Love

 
Baby's Watch by Justine Davis
(SRS # 1544, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-27614-2
**
Baby's Watch is a brief stop in the saga of the Colton Family, a series with contributions from different authors. It is unclear how this story furthers the cause of a presidential candidate Colton.

One must start with the very unlikely premise that a convicted felon in prison is offered a deal: in exchange for a pardon he will capture a baby smuggling ring operating out of Mexico into Texas. He is accountable by cell phone to a " boss," presumably a Federal agent, and is free to roam around his spying at his brother's ranch. With all the federal agents, it defies imagination to really believe this arrangement. But nonetheless, bad boy, family black sheep, Ryder Colton becomes a detective.

While on surveillance near his family ranch, he was watching "The Hopechest," the pet project of his aunt Meredith Colton which offers sanctuary to troubled teens. He hears anguished cries and investigates to find a woman alone giving birth.  He rushes in to help. Hardened felon that he has become, he is captivated by the baby, holding her and then disappearing from the mother's bedroom.

Of course the mother, Ana, feels indebted to the stranger. The author switches gears at this point and the next few chapters find Ryder wandering around watching, meeting and talking with people he believes to be in the gang the Feds are looking for. He has spent some time trying to earn their trust. The big moment comes for him when they decide to trust him and he is directed to pick up "a package" and deliver it to the next in line. The package is a small infant girl, whose blanket he recognizes as belonging to the child he had delivered and fallen for.

At this point the story becomes more unbelievable, Ryder fights gang members who happen to be around, is beaten up, and they disappear with the child. He finds Ana and explains that he knows where her child might have been taken and she joins him in  the hunt for her kidnapped child.

Poorly developed characters, pedestrian dialog, coincidental happenings which are used to advance the plot and requirements for willing suspensions of a lot of disbelief do not make this one of Davis's stronger novels. Not to mention the romance between Ryder and Ana that flourishes within a period of hours from start to finish.

Davis has written some very strong novels and beginning readers could not go wrong selecting something from her earlier, fast paced, well written offerings.

--Thea Davis


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