Review: Black Gold in North Dakota (Cooper Smith Book 2) by Joe Field

Synopsis: When the granddaughter of a prominent North Dakota state senator goes missing from her hometown of Williston, law enforcement has a couple leads on out-of-state roughneck oil workers – but with the holidays approaching and the trail growing cold, each day that passes decreases the chances that she will ever come home. Reporter Cooper Smith is chasing a story about the Bakken oil industry for Minnesota Public Radio when he learns that the missing woman is his wife’s best friend. Leaving the story behind, he puts his investigative skills to work to help rescue her. His pursuit takes him to the Deep South, where he learns that this may be one story too big for his Northern britches to come back from in one piece.

I enjoyed reading the author’s easy-going and expressive writing. This is the 2nd installment in the Cooper Smith series and it provided enough details to be a stand alone book. I do recommend you read the first book just to have a better understanding of Cooper’s life. The characters are well fleshed out and at times have entertaining banter. Cooper is a young newly wed and reporter who is looking to get a new promotion. He is hoping the story about the oil in North Dakota would do it for him. Declan Nash is a former Texas Ranger who has OCD and delusions. He comes up with a plan to kidnap Gabby that is very through and detailed. I think it is good to remember that people with mental illnesses are usually functional unless they have a  psychotic break. For Nash, it caused him to lose his job which put him in a further downspin due to his condition being untreated..

The story pace is fast and action-packed, keeping the reader interested. I was impressed with the author’s rich and picturesque descriptions of the different locations. Greed and politics always come into play when there are resources that generate lots of money. Simmons and Thompson underestimated the depth that the senator felt offended by their conniving hints while his granddaughter was kidnapped. I was glad the senator was smart enough to have a contingency plan in place to counteract them. Overall, good read for anyone who likes action-packed and suspenseful thrillers.

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