I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.
I picked this book up because I have enjoyed other books written by Janet Dailey.
But there is something different about this book. Janet Dailey passed away in 2013, so I am assuming Whiplash was written by a ghostwriter. I was not able to conjure up any empathy for the heroine, Val. She never seemed to able to move past her sordid past and terrible mistakes to embrace the present opportunities. That gave me no reason to root for her.
The book is set in the world of the National PBR (Professional Bullriding) Finals rodeo event in Las Vegas, Nevada. I loved the way the author set the scene and took me inside the rodeo arena to see the action close-up. When a man climbs on the back of a 1,800-pound bull and the chute is opened, anything can happen – and does.
Casey Bozeman is the hero in this story and I immediately fell in love with him. He is one of those people we all know, who will step up to help anyone in need. His job is to protect the cowboys that ride the bulls. And more times than one, he had to collide with the angry bull to save another man’s life.
Casey and Val fell in love when they were teenagers. But that was years ago. And after Val left with no explanation and dropped off the face of the earth, he was left with a broken heart and life. But he put himself back together and even tried marriage, which failed. He finally came to grips with the notion he could never love anyone the way he loved Val, but she was gone. That is until she turns up with her family at the PBR. But Val is in trouble. The kind of trouble that threatens lives. You don’t cross the mafia and live. And yet Casey is determined to help her and to get her back into his bed.
There were parts of this book that I loved. The older sister, Tess, the younger sister, Lexie, and her husband Shane were all great characters. They are united with one goal and that is to save their ranch and produce some stock bulls to ride into the big money in the rodeo arena. Each character has flaws, but they form a united front. Val is the outsider, even though she’s come back home after leaving a drug and alcohol rehab treatment. The troubles Val brings to their door, are monumental and can end it all. She repetitiously has thoughts of remorse, but her actions don’t back up those thoughts. She has deep dark secrets that she keeps hidden along with the scars on her body.
The author drops hints throughout the book as to what her secret is, but until it all comes out, the reader is left to wonder what it is that keeps this beautiful woman so conflicted. I commend the author for that.
While I loved the rodeo setting and enjoyed the plot, I would like to have seen Val be more genuine instead of trying to manipulate everyone, including the men who were determined to kill her. She is playing a deadly game with innocent lives.
The star of the story is a bull named Whiplash. Even though he’s been bred to be bucking stock for the rodeo, he’s young and easily traumatized. But it took his fury to bring down the antagonist.
The story comes to a conclusion with an overall happy ending.
With less repetitious thoughts and scenes, this would be a stronger story.
While I would like to give this book a higher rating, I can only offer up Three Stars.