Reviewed by Kat
TITLE: Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
SERIES: States of Love | Montana
AUTHOR: L.A. Merrill
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 74 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2017
David Marks is looking for the perfect place to film his new web series and recover from his latest failed relationship. When reclusive writer Michael Sharp opens his Montana ranch to paying guests, David knows he’s found the right place—but he doesn’t expect to find Mr. Right too. Forty years ago Michael Sharp’s father was murdered in front of him. No one believed a six-year-old boy’s testimony against the powerful Carver brothers. For years Michael has lived in self-imposed exile, the only living witness who can bring down the Carver criminal empire. But now the money is running out, and he’s forced to play host to a troupe of temperamental web actors and their energetically attractive director in order to stay alive. The Carvers aren’t about to stand for rebellion. Michael has outlived his usefulness. Now Michael and David have to find a way to end this fight once and for all, finding justice for Michael’s father and meeting David’s funding deadline—all before one or both of them ends up dead.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
I have enjoyed reading the States of Love series and was eager to read Montana’s contribution. These stories are contributed by different authors for each state so you never know what you will get.
David Marks has one last chance at making his dream of being a successful film maker a reality. So, with the help of his childhood friend and her son, they set off to film with an eclectic group of actors on a remote Montana Ranch. But it turns out that they are the first guests ever at the ranch of a reclusive best selling author Michael Sharp. Bedlam occurs when they were overbooked into the smaller than expected ranch house. But the real problem surfaces when it is discovered that there is no wifi signal to broadcast with. After a bit of first moment problems all seems to have settled down. David and Michael not only learn to like each other but work on the poorly scripted manuscript side by side. When Micheal’s tragic past literally come to the front door they are faced with much bigger problems than a bunch of amateur actors and a shaky script. “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch” is the tale of how these men learn to trust and work together to make fast solutions when road blocks are thrown their way.
Have you ever watched a made for TV movie about a movie set production and wondered if it was just thrown together? That is how this book seemed to me…like I was on that set with all its craziness. I kind of felt like the people and situations were just thrown at me and the story was written around those events. I never really connected with the characters and was, at times, having a hard time keeping them straight.
Part of the problem for me was I had no idea what a web series was or how it was made. But I would think, before someone gave you lots of money for something like this, that you would have to have a pretty polished script at least. That wasn’t anywhere near the case. I have no idea how amateur actors could even pull off this.
All and all it was a cute short story but it just fell a bit short for me.