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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Jenny Goodnight’s father was a preacher man, anything but a role model when it came to sins of the flesh, but Jenny loved him. As she grew up, she became a missionary with a difference: she learned how to use a gun. She shows off that skill almost immediately after she arrives in Legacy, not realizing that who she’s pointing her gun at is one of Legacy’s most esteemed citizens, the big, hot-tempered John Evans. There are some serious conflicts between Jenny’s Uncle Matthew, who runs the local newspaper, and the entire Evans clan. Jenny’s determined to get to the bottom of why her uncle keeps writing anger-rousing articles, but to her growing dismay, the more she learns about her uncle, the greater her confusion. Are the Evans family members and their predecessors as bad as they seem? And if so, why does Jenny feel increasingly attracted to the roguishly handsome John Evans? As tensions mount in this “slow-burn” mystery, murders and attempted murders, including one against Jenny, occur. Who is behind it all? Why do most of Legacy’s citizens shun Jenny? Why is the matriarch of the Evans clan so cold and antagonistic toward Jenny?
Although my parents were keen on Westerns like those starring John Wayne way back when I was just a child, reading fiction based on the old West has never been one of my favorite genres. But Killarney Traynor, author of Jenny Goodnight, a historical mystery novel, could just change my mind: I truly enjoyed this book! Readers are kept in the dark about who is truly behind so much of the evil, and it’s definitely a surprise. Reading Jenny Goodnight was almost a cinematic experience. It wasn’t hard to picture this Western town, its inhabitants, their pastimes, the petty and major jealousies, the drinking, gambling, and lawlessness. That’s because Killarney Traynor is not only a gifted writer and a fan of Westerns but an actress, film producer, and director. She has been able to bring all those talents together in this novel. Jenny Goodnight would make a wonderful “old-time” movie that could find an audience today. Pick up a copy of this historical mystery fiction and see if you don’t agree. There’s never a dull moment. I loved it!