Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review: Mama Rides Shotgun by Deborah Sharp (Mace Bauer #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun, dynamic characters in a good story
Cons: Plot could be stronger at times
The Bottom Line:
Seriously fun
A trail ride you will enjoy
Without saddle sores

Death Rides the Modern Trail

So many books, so little time.  It’s a common lament among readers, and one I’ve said many times myself.  But it explains why it’s taken me so long to get to Mama Rides Shotgun, the second in the series about Mace Bauer and her family.  I’m glad I did finally make it back to the series because I enjoyed it.

With Mama’s fifth wedding coming up, she thinks it is time for some bonding with her daughters.  That’s how Mace finds herself on the Florida Cracker Trail, traveling the trail that the old Florida cowboys would take after driving their cattle across the state to market.  This is a big annual event that draws a good side crowd.

The second night of the trip, the stop is at the ranch of Lawton Bramble.  He went to high school with Mama, and his son Trey went to high school with Mace.  Lawton and Mama even dated while in high school.  Lawton is making his famous chili for those on the ride, but before dinner is served, Mama and Mace find him dead by his cooking fire.  Everyone immediately suspects his heart finally gave out, but Mace suspects something else.  And considering the threats Mace's family starts to get, she may be right.  If so, can Mace stay alive long enough to find the killer?

Even though it had been a couple years since I read the first book, I felt right at home with the characters.  It helped that the story started out with just Mace and Mama returning from the first book and slowly grew to include the returns of Mace’s sisters, Mama’s fiancĂ©e, and even Mace’s ex.  As they came on the scene, their personalities were quickly reestablished, and I remembered bits about them.  There is some real growth in Mace, and you even see some in the rest of the cast.

There are a host of new characters as well.  They are just as strong and I never had a problem keeping everyone straight.

The plot starts quickly and does move ahead at a steady pace.  There seems to always be something happening to Mace or her family, although I do feel like it could have used a few more clues.  Even so, I was always entertained and the ultimate climax made sense.

Despite the rather serious events of the book, there is a thread of humor that runs through the book.  I was grinning often and laughed a few times.  The humor stems from the characters, especially Mace’s relationship with her family.  It rings true – they love each other yet they can drive each other crazy.  I think it’s because I recognize that dynamic that I truly came to love them.

So it won’t be as long before I go back for the sequel.  Mama Rides Shotgun is a fun mystery that fans of the lighter side of the genre will certainly enjoy.


  1. I love this series and this one is my favorite so far. It was a learning experience as much as it was fun to hang out with Mace and Mama.

    1. Yeah, I certainly learned some about Florida's history I didn't know before. Of course, I do live in California, so I don't know much about Florida's history to begin with.