If you are in need of a good mystery/crime easy read kinda’ book, head on over to Mystery, Montana – there are all sorts of skullduggery going on over there! In my quest to read more crime books this year, I stumbled upon this series, the Mystery Christmas series, and I have to admit, I’m excited to see where Danica Winters takes us in this thoroughly fucked up town!
Wyatt Fitzgerald and Gwen Johansen were high school sweethearts, decidedly smitten with each other but remarkably chaste in the hayloft of their respective family barns. A series of exceptionally unfortunate events and you know, high school graduation, split these two lovebirds apart. Years later their paths cross again when now Sheriff Wyatt has to deliver the sad news that Gwen’s sister was found dead. I’m going to let it slide that it has taken these two this long to cross paths in the small ranchers’ town…a town where Gwen’s mom is the town drunk and Wyatt is the sheriff tasked with keeping the peace.
Thrust back into each other’s orbit, Gwen and Wyatt are on the hunt for Gwen’s sister, Bianca’s, killer. Gwen is definitely headstrong and well, Wyatt is woefully understaffed so he allows her to join him on his hunt for justice. Not that she gives him much choice, this is her sister, the last decent family member Gwen has and now she’s dead…and then there’s the lingering possibility that it wasn’t just Bianca the killer was targeting but the whole damn Johansen clan of women. Wyatt, much like Gwen, never got over his first love and he’s going to keep his girl safe.
As we unravel the clues of this mysterious death, we meet a wide array of characters, some good, some terrible along the way. Winters does a nice job of giving you enough information without pointing the finger directly at the perp. You really do feel like you’re gathering evidence along with Wyatt and Gwen and there are convincing red herrings along the way.
The romantic relationship aspect of the tale was a touch frustrating for me. All of Gwen’s mixed signals and waffling was distracting, especially when coupled with the internal dialogue, geez folks, open your mouth and talk why don’t ‘cha!??! The chemistry and sexual tension are there and there are some hot sex scenes, especially one in the shower…that one was very nice. Once these two get out of their own heads and talk to each other, the story flows much easier. This internalized frustration Wyatt and Gwen experience bleeds out onto the pages and gives the book a scratchy, agitated feel. This agitation is not necessarily a bad thing, I mean we are trying to solve a murder mystery, it shouldn’t be all rainbows and unicorns of love, right? The ending gives us the answers we need and of course, the HEA but it does end rather abruptly. I’m excited to see book 2, Mr. Serious arrives October 1, 2017. After reading that blurb I already have some questions but I trust the author will give me the goods and keep the bigger story rustling along.
Smooches,Tags: 3.5 stars, crime, Danica Winters, first book in a series, Harlequin, mystery, Mystery Christmas series, scandal, Second Chance Romance