Thursday, March 18, 2021

Book Review: Wild Horses by Sandy Dengler (Valley of the Sun Mysteries #9)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and fun characters
Cons: Joe’s wedding as a ticking clock is a bit unbelievable
The Bottom Line:
Wedding is coming
But murders to solve before
Overall, it’s fun

Will Wild Horses Keep Joe from His Own Wedding?

Every so often, I check on Amazon to see if my favorite authors have new books out.  It’s one way I make sure I don’t miss anything.  And it’s how I found out about Wild Horses, the ninth Valley of the Sun Mystery from Sandy Dengler.

Joe Rodriguez is getting married!  While his fiancée is busy planning the wedding over in Ireland, Joe is trying to clear up his cases as a Phoenix homicide officer before he flies over.  Unfortunately, his cases aren’t cooperating.  The department has been tasked to keep a federal witness safe, and it is clear that someone knows he is in town and is anxious to kill him.  Not that this is the only case he is trying to wrap up.  And a friend keeps dragging him away to help save a heard of wild horses from poachers.  Will anything be resolved before he has to fly to Ireland?

Okay, this is fiction.  I get it.  But I had a hard time swallowing that Joe would stay to wrap up cases as his wedding is getting closer.  Oh, the story tries to explain it, but I just didn’t buy it.  I’m willing to forgive it since it does provide great dramatic tension.

And this is another well plotted mystery in the series.  Unlike some of the books, the focus really was on Joe and his cases with occasional glimpses of what is going on in Ireland.  In other words, the focus of the book isn’t split too much.  I thought we might be getting one too many sub-plots in Phoenix, but I actually loved how things tied together thematically by the end.

Being the ninth book in the series, we know the main characters, and I loved spending time with them again.  Some of the supporting characters, mainly Joe’s kids, are really growing up, and I enjoyed seeing that.  Joe and his co-workers are always fun, too.  The suspects fit right in to this world.

I’ve got to admit, I’ve struggled with the way Joe’s love life has gone in the series, mainly because I started with the original books in the 1990’s.  I was worried that this would impact my feelings on the book.  But I must be softening to that storyline since I loved what we got here.

Speaking of the 1990’s, the author hasn’t changed the time of the stories.  It is still very clearly set in the 1990’s.  It’s amazing how much our lives have changed in that time.

I’m really glad I picked up Wild Horses.  There’s one more in the series, and I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Valley of the Sun Mysteries.

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