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The Last Chance Olive Ranch
China Bayles #25
Susan Wittig Albert

March 6, 2018/ ISBN 978-0425280041
Mystery / Cozy Mystery / Women Sleuths

Reviewed by Linda Morelli

Mike McQuaid and China Bayles are asleep when the phone rings, letting McQuaid know that Max Mantel, a convict he put away for murder, has escaped. Max has already killed two people associated with his trial and it appears he’s on a killing rampage. When McQuaid volunteers to be bait in order to catch him, China fears for his life. She had planned a weekend trip with her friend Ruby to host a workshop about herbs at Maddie Haskell’s Last Chance Olive Ranch, but with the news of the escape, China wants to cancel. McQuaid will have none of it.

China and Ruby arrive at the ranch and China soon discovers that Ruby has more than one reason for visiting Maddie. Ruby’s mother was a friend of Eliza, the previous ranch owner who adopted Maddie when the young girl’s parents died. Maddie had help raising her with Sofia, who was born on the ranch. After Eliza’s death, Maddie stands to inherit the ranch she now loves. Unfortunately, Eliza’s nephew Boyd wants it for himself. Since China was once a past criminal defense attorney, Lucy thought China might be able to help.

There are two different threads to this novel, that of McQuaid’s plan to catch Max that has a surprise twist, and China’s visit to the ranch. With no phone reception, China can’t keep in touch with McQuaid. Complicating the situation is her desire to help Maddie with the inheritance problem. Boyd’s blatant attempts to steal Maddie’s land, including offering her marriage, makes it clear he will do anything to gain the inheritance he believes should be his. Maybe even kill.

I love the China Bayles series. Susan Wittig Albert writes wonderful stories filled with intrigue, fast plots and interesting new characters. This release certainly has all that, plus enough tension to make this book a definite page turner.

China Bayles' Book of Days (NonFiction)

Reviews of other titles in this series

Mistletoe Man #9
Dilly of a Death #12
Dead Mans Bones #13
Bleeding Hearts #14
Spanish Dagger #15
Nightshade #16
Wormwood #17 [review 1] [review 2]
Mourning Gloria #19
Cat's Claw #20
Widow's Tears #21
Death Come Quickly #22
Bittersweet #23
Blood Orange #24
The Last Chance Olive Ranch #25 [review 1] [review 2]
Queen Anne's Lace #26

Reviewer Linda Morelli is the award-winning author of Fiery Surrender, Shadow of a Doubt, and Lani's Challenge.
Reviewed 2018