Stroke of Luck

HQN:Harlequin. (Sterling's Montana, Bk. 1). Feb. 2019. 384p. ISBN 9781335041029. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781488098925.ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
A group of oddly contentious employees from a small fly-fishing-vest company in California are coming to Will Sterling's family's guest ranch for a four-day retreat, and his cook has a broken leg. Will needs a miracle—he just never thinks it will come in the form of Poppy Carmichael, back in town after 20 years to launch her own catering business and definitely no longer a pigtailed, freckle-faced 12-year-old. But Will once crushed Poppy's young heart, and now she has an agenda of her own that's all about payback—until it backfires. As a late winter blizzard strands everyone at the ranch, romance blossoms, along with increasing antagonism among the guests—and then the brutal murders start. Likable, relatable protagonists, an assortment of well-defined characters (a spell-casting housekeeper is memorable), and the solid handling of multiple viewpoints keep the story on track.
VERDICT Daniels again turns in a taut, well-plotted, and suspenseful tale with plenty of red herrings. Readers will be in from the start and engaged until the end. A strong launch to what promises to be an exciting series. Daniels (Wrangler's Rescue) lives in Montana.

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