Ruby McGavin vowed that she would never marry. Then she met Cole and fell madly in love. Fast-forward nine months: Cole is dead and Ruby is alone again. No one knows whether it was suicide or an accident, but either way Ruby's heart is torn to shreds.

Then things get worse. Ruby finds out that Cole lied about his past, and she must go to his hometown because he's left her one-fourth of his family's ranch. Ruby plans to sell her part and leave, but once she gets there, she learns far more than she ever knew about Cole and decides she can't go until the mystery of his life is unraveled.

This is a departure from Fowler's cozy Benni Harper series. There are no false notes in the story, and the reader can feel all of Ruby's confusion, grief and anger. This powerful book is very hard to put down because Fowler never lets the action subside, and she gives us wonderful writing and engaging characters. (May, 320 pp., $23.95)
Reviewed by: 
Robyn Glazer