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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
If you are looking for an entertaining read, Battle Springs by Randall Jarmon is for you. After the death of her father and husband, Ruth McKenzie has become a “one woman operation,” trying to keep the family’s ranch running. Ruth is a true blue Texas woman full of faith and grit. The bank plans to seize Ruth McKenzie’s West Texas ranch. However, there is something sinister behind this plan. The local banker, Harvey Fenton, has been bought off! Out of nowhere, a mystery man, James South, arrives and is willing to buy the ranch and give Ruth ownership. James and Ruth strike an unbelievable deal with the help of their lawyers. Overnight, the property and Ruth’s life are transformed. Soon James and Ruth’s business arrangement evolves into a budding romance. However, there is more than love in the air. Something evil is creeping around, lurking in the background. What is the attraction to this piece of land? Why are so many drawn to it? Corporate and patent attorneys, chemical engineers, high level security personnel, and even a terrorist cell are thrown into the mix. There is much more going on than meets the eye.
I chose Battle Springs because I am a native Texan; I grew up in Amarillo just a few miles from the author’s home. West Texas was my stomping grounds, I know it well. Therefore, I was curious. Randall Jarmon did not let me down, he is a creative storyteller. Battle Springs is full of imaginative and ingenious ideas. He masters and maneuvers his plot, giving bites of intrigue to feed the mystery. The contrast between good and evil is portrayed effortlessly. Although much transpires within the narrative, the action has a free flowing pace. The plot isn't forced or rushed between the two settings; it gradually develops, smoothly transitions from chapter to chapter and peaks to its climax. The characters have gumption and a covert shrewdness. Hidden personality traits and character backgrounds are revealed through stories told within the story. Battle Springs is about life, it is multi-dimensional, has many ups and downs and conflicting interests. There are several quick and unexpected turns of events. It is a cleverly inventive story. Randall Jarmon ends Battle Springs with a bang. Don’t mess with Texas!