Amazing Grace

Cowboy Come Home

Midnight Remedy

Too Close For Comfort

 
A Man of His Word
by Eve Gaddy
(Harl. SuperRomance #990, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-70990-0
****
Take one old unsolved crime, send one Texas Ranger to solve it, add a pretty 29-year-old archeologist excavating the local Indian burial grounds, stir in a town full of people who knew the Ranger as a wild teenager, leaven with competent writing, and you have Eve Gaddy’s successful recipe for A Man of His Word.

When Texas Ranger Will McClain learns that his foster mother's bones have been unearthed in Uncertain, Texas, and that she was murdered, he asks to be put in charge of the investigation. Frannie Granger took him in when he was thirteen, and he lived with her until her disappearance three years later. Now, twenty years later, he is back in Uncertain for the first time since Frannie's disappearance. The first thing he learns - from a hostile sheriff who remembers him all too well - is that his foster brother, Jed Lewis, is the prime suspect. Will doesn’t want to believe that Jed could have killed Frannie but he can’t ignore all the circumstantial evidence pointing in his foster brother’s direction.

Tessa Lang discovered Frannie's bones when she was excavating the Caddo Indian burial mounds, and Sheriff Fielder hasn't let her return to the site since her discovery. The results of the dig are to be the basis of her doctoral dissertation; her career and her future hang on getting permission to work the site again. She happens to be in Sheriff Fielder's office during his first, acrimonious meeting with Will and learns that Will is now in charge of the investigation and able to give her permission to return to the burial mounds.

Note how neatly Eve Gaddy has set up her plot. All of the elements work together convincingly. A police officer, learning of the death of the most influential woman in his life, would certainly want to be involved in the investigation. Then Tessa and Will meet repeatedly not because of the instant attraction between them - and they are attracted to each other fairly quickly, if not instantly - but because their work brings them together…clashing or cooperating…naturally.

Furthermore, the murder investigation not only gave structure to the plot but also brought Will into contact with townsfolk who either loved or despised him when he was a teenager. This cast of secondary characters enriched the story, providing three individuals I suspected of Frannie's murder, as well as the Santiago family, owners of a Mexican restaurant that made me drool, just thinking about their food.

I try not to let much time go by between the time I read a book and when I write my review. In many cases, if a week or two passes, I have to do some serious rereading before I put a word on the screen; the plot and the characters have already blurred. In this case, more than two weeks elapsed between the time I turned the last page of A Man of His Word and the time I sat down to write this review. Even so, I had no difficulty recalling the characters and the action - a solid tribute to Eve Gaddy's story telling. Her recipe worked for me.

--Nancy J. Silberstein


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