Series: Coyote Canyon #2
Published by MIRA on November 28, 2023
FINAL DECISION: Sets up an intriguing small-town family feud and budding romance that ultimately disappoints due to a lack of meaningful chemistry between the couple.
THE STORY: With her piercings, tattoos, and bleached spikes, Ellen Truesdale sticks out in small-town Coyote Canyon. But blending in was never her goal. Ellen’s here to undermine her estranged father’s well-drilling company, still bitter that he abandoned her as a child. Running a rival business in this male-dominated industry proves tough for a single woman, though. When an important job goes wrong, her dad’s business partner, Hendrix Durrant, comes to help. Hendrix begins to question events from the past. He realizes his aunt and Ellen’s dad did her wrong. As he advocates for Ellen, tensions with his family intensify. Feelings develop between the two former rivals. Opening up to Hendrix helps Ellen release her anger and rediscover the loving family she always longed for.
OPINION: The Talk of Coyote Canyon offers some interesting initial dynamics between Ellen and her estranged father and stepfamily. Novak does a decent job developing Ellen’s character and her trust issues stemming from childhood.
The setup also establishes a promising romantic tension between Ellen and Hendrix early on. The book choses to be a slow-burn which would work if the characters were deep and complex. However, the relationship falters later on as the two lack chemistry, making their interactions ring hollow.
Additionally, while much time is spent exploring the family and romance arcs, the endings feel rushed. The resolution of the story with Ellen’s father happens abruptly after establishing lasting conflict. Ellen’s father remains one-dimensionally unlikeable for most of the book before his jarring change of heart. Likewise, Ellen and Hendrix’s union wraps up too suddenly.
The mystery plot twist is also dissatisfying as the resolution is abrupt and completely pointless.
Overall, Novak sets up an interesting family drama and romance that ultimately disappoints in the execution and payoff. Despite potential, the lack of meaningful connection or resolution leaves something to be desired.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book is a slow burn. It takes a while for the romance to get started.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE TALK OF COYOTE CANYON is the second book in the Coyote Canyon series. This book can be read as a standalone. This is a small-town series, so characters from the first book appear, and a new reader can quickly catch up on the relationships.
STAR RATING: I give this book 2.5 stars.