Finished September 30
Stripped Bare by Shannon Baker
Kate Fox is immersed in calving season when she answers the phone one evening to a call from a neighbour in distress. The neighbour is her husband's ex-girlfriend and Kate keeps asking questions until she deciphers that a man is dead, and Kate's husband, Ted Conner, is badly injured. Ted is the sheriff of Grand Country, Nebraska, a job which usually doesn't bring much danger.
Kate is faced with the task of figuring out why Eldon, the owner of the Bar J ranch was shot, how Ted got there so quickly and was also injured, and why Ted is lying about what happened. The case is officially taken on by the sheriff of a neighbouring county, but Kate's niece Carly, who lived with her and Ted, is the granddaughter of Eldon and seems to have gone missing, increasing Kate's urgency to get to the heart of matters.
But as she gradually discovers Ted's secrets, and his betrayal, she also examines her own life and looks to where decisions may take her. When someone endangers Kate, and sends a nasty message at her ranch, she knows she is getting close to the truth.
Kate is an interesting character. A smart woman, with a degree in psychology she's not sure how to use, and a deep love of the land she's grown up in, the Nebraska Sandhills, she is strong and determined. She also has a lot of support with a big family behind her. A middle child of nine, with a quiet, intelligent father, and an artistic observant mother, Kate is no slouch at following the signs once she wakes up to what's at stake.
I can see this book leading to more, and look forward to see more of Kate.