Could not put this book down! A most compelling read and addition to Janice Kay Johnson's fabulous The Mysteries of Angel Butte!
I'm so happy that Johnson decided that there were more stories to tell in The Mysteries of Angel Butte than the trilogy she originally intended. Book four, Cop by Her Side, focuses on one of the supporting characters that I wanted to know more about, Angel Butte Police Lieutenant Jane Vahalik. She's played a role in most of the investigations, from the discover of a backpack in the first book to being the first responder in a hostage situation in the third, Jane is someone who definitely jumps off the page. In the stories, it was evident that there had been some kind of relationship gone wrong between Jane and Sheriff Department's Sergeant Clay Renner, a former Army Ranger, but the details weren't known.
In Cop by Her Side we learn about what happened between Jane and Clay when they're thrown together during the abduction of her niece from Jane's sisters almost fatal car accident. At first glance a working relationship between them seems impossible as Clay appears to be an unrepentant chauvinist, while Jane not only holds higher rank than he does, but she's also someone who doesn't fade into the background. Soon it becomes apparent that Jane and Clay both carry scars from their parental upbringing that could derail any close relationships. However if they can overcome them, perhaps they might have a chance together. This story is fascinating on many levels and the interrelationships of the characters make this a most compelling read.
I've awarded this book five stars because from the very first page, I could not put it down and actually read (no could say devoured it) in just a few hours. I'm really looking forward to the fifth and final installment in this addictive series, This Good Man (publish date: Sept 1, 2014).