by Leigh Greenwood, historical (2002)
Leisure, $6.99, ISBN 0-8439-5067-6
Leigh Greenwood's writing is always on the flat side, but the author can pull off his stories well given the right material. Texas Bride is really dull, however. Maybe not dull, maybe a more appropriate description will be the author trying to hit a high C only to end up croaking like a bullfrog infected with tonsilitis. Flat one-dimensional characters in a familiar plot done in an uninventive style all make this baby a perfect cure for those endless sleepless nights.
Part of the Night Riders series where some ex-Confederate members got betrayed by one of their own and each of them now strike out to look for this traitor, this is the story of the handsome one, Owen Wheeler. I don't know how he can be the charming one, as he speaks like a slow dude out of a bad cowboy novel and his wit and humor are a bit on the rusty blunt side. His quest for revenge takes him to the town of Pinto Junction. Pinto Junction is a town right out of a bad parody of Gunsmoke legends. Hicks, scary fat uglies, gold-hearted tarts, the dour heroine, you name it, they're all there to help sell you the cure for insomnia.
Our heroine is Hetta Gwynne. She, predictably, wants her ranch back. Guess who is roped into helping her. The thing is, Hetta is also one of those annoyingly obstinate I-will-never-trust-a-man types that just won't know when to quit whining. She also has this self-inferiority complex that also sees her whining about how ugly she is and how impossible - impossible! - that Owen will want her so he must be a scum and she must drive him away but ooh-wah-ooh, nobody loves Hetta, sob sob sob.
The author could have pulled this painfully pedestrian story off if he liberally adds in some knowing wink-wink humor and shows some awareness of how stereotypical his story is. But this book reads as if it's operating with the humor button switched off and the monotone set to permanent mode.
Texas Bride is coming, bringing on the monotone. The cover is a lovely shade of purple, but dang, all this book transmits are static signals.
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