Forging Fire

Arcade CrimeWise. (Horseshoer, Bk. 3). Sept. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781950691760. $25.99. M
The weekend before her wedding, horseshoer Rainy Dale checks off an item on her bucket list. She hauls a bull to the Black Bluff bull sale in California where she can show off the herding skills of her dog Charley. Things don’t go exactly as planned, however, when she’s hit over the head and her truck is stolen with tools and Charley in it. The man who rescues her insists her truck was driven onto Beaumont ranch property, and that his uncle Vicente disappeared from that ranch two years earlier. Rainy finds her truck and Charley there, but ranch owner Ivy Beaumont is reluctant to allow her to call anyone, certainly not the police. Charley’s reaction to the ranch is suspicious. Rainy follows Charley to a grave site and digs up a body. Now, her impulsive actions have stranded her at the ranch with people she can’t trust, including Ivy and whichever ranch hand hit her over the head. It’ll take all the working skills Rainy and Charley have developed to catch a killer.
VERDICT Preston follows Dead Blow by isolating her amateur sleuth on a ranch with an entire group of potential killers. However, the herding dog scenes are more exciting than the immature, impulsive young woman’s bumbling attempt to investigate. Only fans of the series will care.

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