Review: Bitter Rain by Shannon Baker

Bitter Rain by Shannon BakerBitter Rain by Shannon Baker

Series: Kate Fox #3

Genre: Mystery, police procedural

Setting: Nebraska Sandhills

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

313 pages

Synopsis: Old loyalties and lies collide with new secrets. Secrets someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.  

Despite Kate’s meddling family’s efforts to pair her off, she’s settling into single life as Grand County Sheriff. That is, until Deputy Kyle Red Owl’s sister disappears. Shocked by the harsh realities of rez life, and coming smack up against a Lakota-hating sheriff, end-of-world preppers, and a greedy liquor store owner, Kate fears the worst for the missing girl. 

Knowing she’ll always be an outsider when it comes to her good ‘ol boys world, Kate is more determined than ever to find the girl society has abandoned, but can she do it in time to save the girl’s life? 

My thoughts

I’ve read the books in the series and enjoyed them all. I love reading about the Nebraska Sandhills where cattle outnumber people…lol. Shannon Baker does a great job bringing that part of the country to life.

Lots has happened in this series

Lots has happened since the first book. Kate Fox is now divorced and has become sheriff. She’s slowly settling into that role though the three male sheriffs from the other counties in the Sandhills still don’t really accept her or want to recognize her as sheriff. They would rather that Ted the ex-sheriff and Kate’s ex-husband was still sheriff. One sheriff in particular seems to dislike her and tries to undermine her authority when possible.

An overturned car and a suspicious sheriff

At the beginning of this book Kate receives a late night phone call from a young woman who doesn’t identify herself. The woman indicates she needs help and is driving from the Indian reservation. Kate heads toward the reservation and just before she would leave her county she sees a stopped vehicle and a car rolled over off the road. The stopped vehicle is owned by the sheriff from the neighboring county. He’s the sheriff who seems to dislike Kate. He says he’s just gotten to the wreck and that the vehicle is abandoned. Kate thinks he’s acting suspiciously and doesn’t understand why he’s at the scene since this is in her county and nothing was dispatched about a wreck.

Each county in the Sandhills only has a sheriff and they share a part-time deputy who works on weekends. The deputy–Kyle Red Owl–is a military veteran with police experience, but he grew up on the local Lakota Indian Reservation and isn’t liked, trusted or respected by the male sheriffs. Kate hired him based on his experience and she feels he does a great job.

The reservation

The overturned car is Kyle’s sister’s car and she has disappeared. She just graduated from high school and has a college scholarship, but Kyle discovers that the last couple of months her grades were slipping and she was missing classes. Kyle and Kate investigate her disappearance and Kate learns a lot about life on the reservation she hasn’t known. Alcoholism and unemployment on the reservation; a town filled with liquor stores just two miles from the reservation; and hopeless and hostile Native Americans are just a few of Kate’s discoveries. There’s also a ranch that had been abandoned for several years, but now has a hostile and well-armed couple living on it. No one seems to know who they are, but they are close to where the overturned car was and that’s how Kate discovers them. She wonders if they’re involved in this mystery.

Kate’s family

The mystery was good in this book and didn’t turn out quite the way I expected. However, I didn’t like the distraction and irritation from Kate’s large family in this book. I felt they didn’t respect her as much as they should have. And though some of this is supposed to be funny I was more irritated than amused. I hope in the next book that they realize that Kate is a grown woman who is doing a hard job in a man’s world and that they give her more respect.


I still recommend this book though you should read the earlier books first. I plan to read the next book and am looking forward to it.

My Rating: B-

Have you read any books by this author?

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Close Enough by Shannon Baker

Kate Fox #1.5

69 pages

This is a short story and it is short! It gives some background between book 1 and book 2. The first part is mostly background so we understand Kate’s feelings. The second half deals with the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy. It’s winter and snow is coming so searchers quickly assemble to try to find him. The wrinkle in the story is that Kate is running for sheriff against the current sheriff who is also her ex-husband. Election Day is close and the sheriff is getting points for quickly gathering the search party.

I like Kate and this series. The third book in the series was published recently and I found this short story when I searched for the new book which I bought at the same time as this short story. It’s not necessary to read the short story to understand the series, but it’s always fun to revisit this series.

Stripped Bare by Shannon Baker

stripped-bareStripped Bare by Shannon Baker
Series: Kate Fox #1
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Setting: Grand County, Nebraska (Nebraska Sandhills)
Published by Forge Books
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: September 6)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
288 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Kate Fox is living the dream. She’s married to Grand County Sheriff Ted Conner, the heir to her beloved Nebraska Sandhills cattle ranch, where they live with Kate’s orphaned teenage niece, Carly. With the support of the well-connected Fox Clan, which includes Kate’s eight boisterous and interfering siblings, Ted’s reelection as Grand County Sheriff is virtually assured. That leaves Kate to the solitude and satisfaction of Frog Creek, her own slice of heaven.

One night Kate answers a shattering phone call from Roxy at the Bar J. Carly’s granddad Eldon, owner of the ranch, is dead and Ted has been shot and may never walk again. Kate vows to find the killer. She soon discovers Ted responded so quickly to the scene because he was already at the Bar J . . . in Roxy’s bed. And to add to her woes, Carly has gone missing.

Kate finds out that Eldon was considering selling his ranch to an obscenely rich environmentalist. Some in town hate the idea of an outsider buying up land, others are desperate to sell . . . and some might kill to get their way. As she becomes the victim of several “accidents,” Kate knows she must find the killer before it’s too late. . . .

Initial impressions

  • I like this book a lot. A good first book in a series.


  • Lots goes on in Kate’s personal life during this book. There’s a mystery, but also a personal journey for Kate. She has to make decisions and decide what she really wants.
  • I really like Kate and can understand all the emotions she goes through. It’s a rough ride for her, but once she begins figuring out what’s going on she doesn’t flinch.
  • I like the way her family–especially her siblings are portrayed. I felt that was pretty true-to-life.
  • The mystery was puzzling especially at first as Kate and the reader don’t get all the information.
  • There are lots of suspects.
  • I love the setting of the book. I feel the author must really understand the Nebraska Sandhills country.
  • The mystery is solved at the end, but there are lots of loose ends to find out about in future books.


  • It was hard to keep track of some of the characters in the book. Kate has eight brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. Lots of names at first. However, I think the author made the right decision to leap right into the story.
  • After reading the synopsis I was impatient for Kate to find out some of the circumstances for the  shootings at the Bar J–such as her husband’s infidelity!

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Shannon Baker announces the Kate Fox mystery series, to debut with Stripped Bare, releasing September 2016 from Tor/Forge. A modern western described as Longmire meets The Good Wife.  Now a resident of Tucson, Baker spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. 
  • She is also the author of the Nora Abbott mystery series from Midnight Ink. A fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. Shannon is an itinerant writer, which is a nice way of saying she’s confused. She never knows what time zone she’s in, Timbuck-Three, Nebraska, Denver, or Tucson. Nora Abbott has picked up that location schizophrenia and travels from Flagstaff in Tainted Mountain, to Boulder in Broken Trust and then to Moab in Tattered Legacy. Shannon is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 Writer of the Year.

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