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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Death of a Rancher's Daughter: #2 In The Lady Lawyer Mysteries by Susan P. Baker is an intriguing legal mystery that will keep you in suspense until the end. This second offering in the series has lawyer-of-a-certain-age Sandra Salinsky representing a Latina who allegedly shot the rancher's daughter, a twin. This gripping scenario takes place in Texas Hill County in a small town, revealing racism and murder, and culminates in a jury trial that will satisfy legal drama fans everywhere. Along with her attorney/mother, Sandra watches the wheels of white privilege turn.
Baker has formulated the perfectly satisfying legal suspense novel in this one. You'll appreciate the author's legal prowess, and there is a reason for that: Baker is a retired Texas judge, which lends an impressive realism to the story you don't find with some other crime dramas. I really enjoy the characters of Sandra and her mother--a unique criminal defense team to say the least, and a combination that is fresh and inviting. Their clashes seem natural. Melinda is a great character as well, as are the others that enter the picture, especially the sympathetic defendant, Rufina.
The plot that the author has built is gripping from the beginning, and you may think you have things figured out and know how the story will play out, but there are some surprises. I like how the themes of racism and phobias are used, which definitely infiltrates the legal system as well as any other. The plot is well-paced and inviting, the characters and situations convincing, and you get the feeling this author really enjoys entertaining you from a legal but also a personal aspect. If you're up for a bumpy ride through a gritty Texas murder trial, buckle your seatbelts and check out Death of a Rancher's Daughter by Susan P. Baker.