Goodman’s longtime fans will recognize the author’s signature style and new fans will enjoy this good, old-fashioned western despite the slow start, as the tale soon turns into a fast-paced story readers won’t want to put down. A plethora of characters make the story even more enjoyable.
The only survivor of a wagon train wreck, a speechless little girl is rescued and given the name Comfort Kennedy. When Bode DeLong arrives at his birthday party injured, a now-adult Comfort cares for him. Bode believes the attack, by a gang known as the Rangers, was planned. He is surprised to learn that his brother, Bram, has announced his engagement to Comfort, though she hasn’t accepted his proposal.
Bode leaves and Comfort agrees to the betrothal. When Bode returns, so do pieces of Comfort’s past: a tin box is dropped near her at the opera and sets off new fears. Then she’s abducted by the Rangers and Bode goes after her, taking her to safety on his boat. By the time they return to San Francisco they are in love. But Bode needs to know who kidnapped Comfort and why. (BERKLEY SENSATION, Sep., 460 pp., $7.99)