Desert Intrigue by Linda Weaver Clarke
"Mystery…Adventure...Romance...Humor...Intrigue! When Julia’s brother announces that his dude ranch is haunted, she believes that someone is trying to sabotage his place and force him to sell. The mysterious happenings have to do with Superstition Mountain, the lost Dutchman’s goldmine, and the great Thunder God. Is it possible that the legend of the Thunder God is actually true? After a terrible thunderstorm, everyone begins to wonder. John and Julia quickly head to Mesa, Arizona and discover a few mysterious events. Will they find out who is behind these disasters before Uncle Kelly’s dude ranch is ruined?" (summary from amazon)
The author contacted me and asked that I review Desert Intrigue, which was a book that was part of a series. Overall, I wished that I had enjoyed this book a bit more, but struggled on account of the fact that the author’s style relied quite a bit on telling rather than showing. This problem affected every aspect of the book from description, dialogue, characterization, and plot.
I haven’t read any of the other books in the series, which may also have changed how I viewed some of the characters in the book. The twins for example didn’t do anything all the funny or mischievous except for give their uncle some oddly flavored jelly beans despite their huge reputation for trouble. This characterization could have been an impression that author crafted carefully in other books in the series and not so much in this particular novel.
I had a hard time with the dialogue too, which I often found to be of the maid and butler variety and very info dumpy. The characters were also very repetitive about the whole thunder god plot line. I feel like the background for that whole sub plot was explained several times, and it started to feel a little repetitive. A lot of the time the explanations of the thunder god background happened in very contrived ways that felt forced on the character by the author rather than feeling like a natural part of the story. This made it hard sometimes to get through large sections of the story.
Despite these problems, the author managed to make the ranch a fairly interesting setting and tell and decent mystery story in the process. I liked the twist that revealed the motivations of those wanting to destroy Kelly’s camp, and found that sequence of scenes to be pretty interesting. Overall, though I had a hard time enjoying most of the book on account of the writing style. Althought Desert Intrigue also gets points for being a clean read.visit Linda's website to find out about her other novels.