New York Times bestselling author Janet Dailey journeys to the Lone Star state and the Cee Bar Ranch, where the Calders face a new threat to their land and way of life.
Quint Echohawk is a lawman, not a rancher, but he's a Calder through and through. And when someone sets out to undermine the Calders' Texas outfit, it's time for him to step in and investigate.
From the moment Quint's boots touch Texas dirt, it's clear that everyone in town is running scared from Max Rutledge, the ruthless owner of a competing ranch. Posing as a cowboy looking for work, Quint has no one to trust but "Empty" Garner and his granddaughter, Dallas. In Empty, Quint finds a steadfast ally; in Dallas, Quint finds something more--the promise of a future.
In a town where betrayal lies around every corner, where every unlocked door, thrown punch, or suspicious fire is just a hint of deadlier things to come, the Calders will be tested as never before. And this time, it could cost them more than their land...it could cost them everything.
Debuting in 1981, the eight western romances chronicling the saga of Montana's Calder family are the superstars among Dailey's more than 100 books. This ninth novel follows young ex-lawman Quint Echohawk (a grandson of the series' original protagonist, Chase Calder) on an undercover mission from the family's Montana homeground to Texas, where the rival Rutledge millionaire clan is attempting a hostile takeover of neighboring ranches, including the Calders' sole Lone Star state ranch, the Cee Bar. With virtually the entire town intimidated or bribed into conspiring in the Rutledges' ruthless dealings, loner Quint faces perils ranging from fire to starvation to anthrax, with no allies save two small, out-of-business ranchers: crusty old-timer "Empty" Gardner and his grandaughter, Dallas. Characterizations are somewhat less complex than in early Calder novels. They're also less consistent. A plot twist in which the supposedly whip-smart, principled and gutsy Dallas is motivated by fear to spy on Quint for Rutledge's almost stereotypically slimy son, for instance, is not entirely convincing. (Or appealing; the charm of all Dailey's Calder women lies in their clear-headed grit.) Still, the passion, spirit and strength readers expect from a Calder story-and a Calder hero-shine through, as does the author's gift for vividly bringing the western landscape to life.
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April 30, 2006
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