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Once Wicked Always Dead    by T. Marie Benchley Amazon.com order for
Once Wicked Always Dead
by T. Marie Benchley
Order:  USA  Can
MMWE Publishing, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I'm afraid I expected too much from Once Wicked Always Dead, a romantic modern western by T. Marie Benchley. With the Benchley name Peter Benchley is her father and I do believe that Robert Benchley was her grandfather I expected a polished novel.

But, I told myself, this is a first novel, so keep that in mind. I liked protagonist Molly Madison, who is married to a homosexual. Molly had a lot of spunk and the grace to try to understand her husband and forgive him for deceiving her (though I did find her use of obscenities unnecessary and alien to the character). She leaves to take over her father's ranch and immediately bad things start happening.

There is a second person of interest who is not revealed until the ending. She winds her way through the plot and we discover her identity late in the story. But the clues are there and it's not hard to figure out who she is and what her motives are.

Part of the setting is a ranch in Montana. Sounded like a place I would like to see. And, of course, a romantic side story appears, involving ranch foreman Clayton Leatherbe. Predictable. Overall, it's an old plot updated with new players.

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