Rodeo Bull Riding – Review of “Whirlwind” by Janet Dailey

As a long time Dailey fan I was happy to discover the new Champion series and settled in with Book One, “Whirlwind” which is a romantic mystery/thriller set in Arizona. Lexie Champion has high hopes for her bull, aptly named Whirlwind. His debut rodeo performance is the hot topic of the pro bull riders association and Lexie knows it will breath new life into her family’s reputation as a premier stock breeder. But professional bull rider Shane Tulley develops a deep interest in the bull’s owner that proves to be a distraction he can ill afford and Lexie is already wary of an emotional attachment to a man in a high-risk profession. But sometimes the heart takes precedence over the head and throws caution to the wind. The heart wants what the heart wants and you can either get out of its’ way or get run over by it. And when Lexie sees Shane go down in the ring it’s as if her premonition has come true and their entire future is now in question. Is their love strong enough to withstand the strain?

“Whirlwind” is more a romantic thriller than just a western romance. In the complex storyline Lexie receives anonymous threats, her surrogate mother dies under questionable circumstances and the wealthiest guy in the area is trying to buy up her family’s ranch, only she’s not interested in selling. All this in addition to the relationship between Lexie and Shane. The plotline is credible and well developed but I couldn’t seem to connect with any of the characters, especially Lexie. She simply doesn’t engender any depth of emotion. Added to that the writing is stilted and the dialogue is contrived. It’s just not up to the high standards previously set by Dailey and it made me wonder if this was some of her unpublished early writing that has been revived and updated for the mass market. I dunno’ but I do know that I have no plans to follow this series. Three and a half stars.

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