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Book review: 'Switchback' mystery-adventure tale of love, horses

By Mike Whitmer

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 27 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"SWITCHBACK," by Clair M. Poulson, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 304 pages (f)

Private investigator Rocky Revada has finally taken time from work for a San Diego vacation. Nothing is going to stop him from relaxing on the beach and enjoying the sun, not even a call from Glenn Gridley, a crusty former client desperate for assistance. But Rocky’s resolve begins to fade when the client’s beautiful and intelligent daughter Shanice makes an impassioned plea for his help. Having been smitten by her from afar since he was a young man, Revada feels he has no choice but to accept the assignment.

In his new novel "Switchback," Clair M. Poulson takes us on a journey across Northern Utah with Rocky, Shanice and a host of interesting characters as they seek to discover who has switched out the two prized roping horses for pale imitations. As Rocky works the case of theft, he is slowly pulled into a much larger conspiracy that seems to be growing more dangerous each day.

Tensions continue to mount when Shanice discovers a dead body — of someone she knows well — on the family property and begins to wonder if it might be better to abandon the search for the lost horses. Even Glenn starts to have doubts as the body count increases, but Rocky, working with local law enforcement, convinces the Gridleys to continue their search. His only problem is that now he has become the target of the conspirators and must use extra caution to stay alive.

Poulson has crafted a new, interesting young character in Rocky Revada. At age 32, he’s a young man who is single and morally upright, but often hampered by personal self-doubts, despite his outward swagger. His insecurities seem to get in the way of pursuing any type of relationship, but the chemistry between Rocky and Shanice is delicately played and allowed to progress in a way that the love story is not overly sweet or dramatic.

This is the 20th novel published by Poulson and follows in his tradition of entertaining stories. Readers will find no objectionable material in the author’s writings and will recognize local Utah areas and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mike Whitmer lives in West Valley City and loves to read and write. His email is grundelwalken@gmail.com and he blogs at mtwhitmer.blogspot.com.

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