Lowell’s romantic suspense cred is on vivid display in this new tale of romance and murder set in a small town near the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The fate of a historic family ranch forces an uneasy alliance between the protagonists, who are determined to uncover the truth. Lowell is a master of bringing to life characters with both human flaws and passion.
Due to a family falling-out, LAPD homicide cop Tanner Davis has not visited the old Davis ranch outside the small town of Refuge for many years. However, the sudden death of his Uncle Lorne forces a return. When Tanner arrives he discovers that an environmental conservancy is expected to inherit the ranch as part of its preservation of historic ranches. Shaye Townsend had been working on the deal with Lorne, but she was out of town when her boss attempted to get the papers signed. The paperwork was wrong and an infuriated Lorne canceled the deal. Shaye subsequently found Lorne’s body and suspects something is wrong. When Tanner realizes gold coins are missing from the house, he too suspects Lorne was murdered — but why? Trying to find out is placing a target on Shaye’s back! (MORROW, May, 384 pp., $26.99)