Son of Texas
This book was so bad I found myself taking a break after almost every paragraph. I’d put it down, pet my cats or take a sip of tea, and then remember that the faster I got through the book the faster I could put it down and never think of it again. The plot was flimsy, there was not an iota of chemistry between the hero and heroine, and the writing was poor.
We start out being introduced to “Belle Doe,” amnesia victim (yes, another amnesia plot!), as she tries to unravel the missing pieces of her past. Though it’s been more than a year since she was shot and subsequently rescued from a cult’s compound by a Texas Ranger, she still doesn’t remember anything. After being released from the hospital, she found a position as a live-in companion to an elderly widow, where she has been for eight months. This is where the story opens, as a thunderstorm conveniently helps to bring her memory back, beginning with her full name, Josie Marie Beckett.
Ranger Caleb McCain, the brother of the Ranger who rescued Josie, provided support for Josie throughout her ordeal, protecting her during her hospital stay, teaching her that some people are trustworthy and that she doesn’t always have to be scared, and finally finding her employment. During the months that they’ve known each other, they have fallen in love. But all of this took place in the previous books of the series, so we never get to see any kind of a relationship actually building between them.
As Josie begins to remember more details of her life, they find that while some mysteries are solved, more open up along the way. Josie and Caleb travel to the town where she was living and working as a police officer before she was shot, reunite her with her family and fiancé, and solve the mystery of her shooting – a resolution that came completely out of left field.
So much of the story is repetitive. The author relies almost exclusively on telling the reader about the characters or events, rather than showing evidence of their feelings or of the events taking place. The result is that over and over, for instance, Caleb has thoughts along the lines of: “He just wished that he could get rid of the knot in his stomach, a knot that told him he was about to lose everything he’d ever wanted. But he would deal with it like a man – the man she wanted him to be. If he preached to himself long enough and hard enough, he might be able to pull it off.”
All Caleb does is think about Josie and wish that they could be together. As for Josie, each time she interrogates one of the numerous suspects in her shooting but finds them innocent, she finds herself overwhelmed by joy that the person didn’t try to harm her, which immediately gives way to fear for her life because the would-be killer is still out there. Either of these situations would be believable once or twice, but as they happen over and over, I would expect the characters to be taken a little less by surprise by the same emotions that they had experienced in the previous chapter[s].
The story is also primarily dialogue driven. While dialogue often helps to move the story along, or to illustrate interactions between characters, there is so much of it here that the characters aren’t allowed any time to develop or change throughout the story. Instead, they are static, and even the time Josie spends coming to terms with her feelings for Caleb is condensed into a paragraph that describes her activities while they’re apart.
And finally, while a certain amount of spelling or grammatical mistakes would be possible to overlook, there are so many that it just becomes absurd. There are many errors of tense or of the plural used where the singular should be, or vice versa. Better editing could have solved most of these problems, but other situations made me roll my eyes as well. For instance, Josie and Caleb are stranded one night when their vehicle’s tires are sabotaged, and they have to spend the night outside. They worry about wild animals: “…wild boar, bobcats, deer, coyotes…,” and after I finished wondering exactly how much harm deer would cause them, I got to where Josie is concerned that a rattlesnake might wrap itself around her throat. If I’m not mistaken, that would be a boa constrictor, not a rattlesnake.
Overall, I was completely unimpressed with this book. I didn’t care about the characters, and I didn’t believe there was any chemistry between the hero and heroine. Many factors made Son of Texas difficult to read, and I was relieved to just get through it.