The final book in Matlock’s long-running Valentine series has a lot of emotional ups and downs, but its impact is diluted by the sheer number of characters and crises. Fans needn’t worry — all loose ends are tied up in a satisfactory way.

Valentine, Okla., is about to celebrate its centennial, and everyone in town is gearing up for the festivities. The exception is Belinda Blaine who's running her family's drugstore/soda fountain while her mother is in Europe. Belinda's just learned that she's expecting -- at the age of 38. Married to deputy sheriff Lyle Midgette for three years, Belinda's afraid of two things: telling Lyle about the baby, and sharing a painful secret. (MIRA, Jun., 352 pp., $13.95)

Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer