Title: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Author: L.A. Merrill
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: David Marks, Michael Sharp
Sub-Genre: Mystery/Suspense, States of Love
David Marks is looking for the perfect place to film his new web series and recover from his latest failed relationship. When reclusive writer Michael Sharp opens his Montana ranch to paying guests, David knows he’s found the right place—but he doesn’t expect to find Mr. Right too.
Forty years ago Michael Sharp’s father was murdered in front of him. No one believed a six-year-old boy’s testimony against the powerful Carver brothers. For years Michael has lived in self-imposed exile, the only living witness who can bring down the Carver criminal empire. But now the money is running out, and he’s forced to play host to a troupe of temperamental web actors and their energetically attractive director in order to stay alive.
The Carvers aren’t about to stand for rebellion. Michael has outlived his usefulness. Now Michael and David have to find a way to end this fight once and for all, finding justice for Michael’s father and meeting David’s funding deadline—all before one or both of them ends up dead.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch scored a first for me. I burst out laughing at a wonderful section of dialogue and nearly choked on a biscuit. I have learned a valuable lesson. Swallow, then read. However, L.A. Merrill’s tale made me laugh more than once so all is forgiven.
I really enjoyed the way the plot weaves the romance between David and mysterious Michael, the almost-disaster movie-making, and the actual mystery. The rural setting with its internet woes made me chuckle and I loved the secondary characters, including the dog. They all had back story which is something I really enjoy. The author has my thanks for making the women fully-fleshed out characters and not just props for the men.
I didn’t really have any niggles. I just enjoyed the book. I didn’t realise it was only 74 pages. It felt like a much bigger book. I could quite happily see another book from this world. Highly recommended.
Reviewed By: Pippa Wood
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