Too Far Down (The Cimarron Legacy)

Mary Connealy. Bethany House, $14.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-7642-1183-6

In the third and final book of the Cimarron Legacy series, the Boden family continues to fend off attacks seemingly aimed at their land grant in the New Mexico territory in 1881. While patriarch Chance Boden recuperates from a leg injury in Denver, his three children remain on the Cimarron Ranch, as stipulated in his will. When explosions kill six miners and severely damage the Boden mining operation, oldest son Cole struggles to decide whether to keep to the terms of the will or to leave the ranch to protect the mine. Childhood friend Melanie Blake offers to help Cole find the culprits, and clues point to someone the Bodens trust, making their investigation all the more difficult. At times the narrative gets bogged down in too many unnecessary details and lengthy diatribes, and Cole and Mel’s relationship takes a frustratingly winding route. Still, Connealy (Long Time Gone) crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end. While the plot relies heavily on events from past installments, Connealy structures the book so new readers can dive in. [em]Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary (Oct.) [/em]