riverbend road book coverReviewed by Kelly Ferjutz

Riverbend Road is book four in Haven Point series, but it isn’t necessary to have read the others to understand the story line. On the other hand, once you’ve read this one, you’ll probably want to go find the earlier three to catch up a bit on some of the characters.

Personally, I like this kind of series, as each book tells a bit more about some of the characters introduced previously, while also bringing in characters who’ll be featured in upcoming books. I’ve not previously read anything by this author, and for the life of me, I’m not sure why, but that situation will be remedied before long.

As the name of the series would suggest, Riverbend Road takes place in Haven Point, which is somewhere in Idaho, half-a-day’s drive — approximately — from either Boise or Portland, Oregon, which will help you to understand its attraction. It’s purely gorgeous country around there, even considering the occasional ‘moose alert’.

Haven Point is a small town where everyone knows everyone else, and most of them usually stand ready to be of help to their neighbors and newcomers. Tradition is very big in Haven Point.

Cade Emmett, once an aspiring bad boy, has become the police chief with the guidance and mentoring of the former police chief, John Bailey. John was a 3rd generation Bailey who became a lawman and spent 30 years as chief. And then, one day, he got in front of a bullet, and two agonizing years later, he died. His children, however, followed in his professional footsteps, although only two remained close to home.  Marshall, who was Cade’s best friend while growing up, is the sheriff of neighboring Lake Haven County. Son Elliott is with the FBI in Denver. Then there were the twins, Wyatt and Wynona (Wyn)–Wyn followed her twin brother Wyatt into the family trade after he too, ran into a bad guy.

After two stints in the Marine Corps, Cade is a stickler for rules and protocol. When Wyn disobeys a direct command from him, he suspends her for a week with no pay. Never mind that she saved two young boys from certain death in a barn fire. Wyn misses her work, but she turns to other helpful projects in her community. Cade and Wyn butt heads constantly, but neither of them can quite understand why.

Of course, as in any town, there are good and not-so-good inhabitants, and nearly everyone has a secret. But good friends, who are sometimes hard to find, stay friends in spite of the good or the bad. Such is the case with Haven Point. When newcomer Andie Montgomery and her two children move into the same neighborhood as Wyn and Cade, everything changes – for all of them. Wyn’s instincts tell her that Andie might be in some sort of trouble, but the woman is both skeptical and suspicious of the kindness of strangers.

Wyn and Cade fight the growing attraction between them, while still trying to work together to keep Haven Point safe. Underneath, however, are the unanswered questions about John Bailey’s last days as chief, and exactly what happened two years ago. In the meantime, John’s widow (and Wyn’s Mom), Charlene, seems to be ‘acting weird’ around Uncle Mike, her former brother-in-law. What’s that all about? Well, it’s springtime, after all, so what would you expect? Even the mayor is getting married, but she’s young, so why not?

I truly enjoyed the time I spent in Haven Point, and I think you will too. If, that is, you value great writing, a great setting, great characters and a multi-faceted and very clever plot.

First and foremost, Kelly is a reader, then a writer and editor. She adores Regency-set novels, and cozy mysteries. Every now and then, however, she finds something else to enjoy if it has a great premise with characters who belong in there, and fabulous writing! She writes under her own name, as well as her pen-name, Hetty St. James.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HQN Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.