Review: Never Stay Gone (Big Bend Texas Rangers #1) by Tal Bauer

Rating: 4.5 🌈

I’ve been so busy with fantasy and contemporary romances that I’ve neglected one really great action suspense author. Tal Bauer.

Tal Bauer writes just amazing stories. Ones that might include such elements as government agencies and military spies, secret missions, and any number of inside sub terrorist organizations to deal with. Along with folding in a wonderful romance to boot.

Never Stay Gone is the author’s first story in his new Big Bend Texas Rangers series and it’s great. Jam-packed with so many of my favorite tropes, it’s a fast paced murder mystery and a second chance at a revived passionate relationship as two men race to find a killer. All throughout the unforgettable location of Big Bend Texas.

It’s starts with a terrifying find of a body dump by Deputy Shane Carson out in the desert wilds of Big Bend country Texas. It’s our initial introduction to the murder victims and one of the main characters.

Shane Carson is a small town’s native son who’s never lived up to its and his family’s huge expectations for him. He carries the years of his “failures” heavily. But Bauer’s created a more damaged man then evidenced on the outside.

Only by flashes of his past and glimpses into bits of his relationships with those outside of work does the reader realize Shane’s floundering there too.

It’s a realistic, painful portrait of a man deeply in trouble.

The reason why appears in the form of Texas Ranger Dakota Jennings, who’s been pulled by the Governor herself to handle the investigation into the multiple murders.

One reason? His history with the region and people. Second? One of the bodies worked for the Governor.

Dakota Jennings is as complex a man, albeit in a completely different way then Shane. Each man was damaged by their past with each other. Neither has ever moved forward.

How Shane and Dakota handle their reunion amidst murder, multiple investigations, heartbreak, forgiveness and redemption is a remarkable story.

It’s so compelling from just the personal elements alone as each man grapples with the past and the trauma it’s done to them. Add to that the police work as they track the killer and trace the identities of each victim. So gritty and tough.

This has first/only love, coming out, lovers reunited, second chance at love, hurt/comfort…all set in the dry open spaces of Big Bend country in Texas as a murderer tries to escape justice. It’s thrilling, heartbreaking, and an amazing suspenseful read!

I can’t wait to see where the series takes us!

If you’re not familiar with Tal Bauer, this is a wonderful place to start. I’m highly recommending this!

Big Bend Texas Rangers series:

Never Stay Gone #1

https://www.goodreads.com › showNever Stay Gone (Big Bend Texas Rangers #1) by Tal Bauer – Goodreads

Synopsis:

Six bodies in a single grave… in the same West Texas country where Dakota left everything behind.

Every beat of my heart belongs to you.

Thirteen years ago, Dakota Jennings thought he’d found his forever when he fell in love with Shane Carson. But one afternoon shattered their love story, and both Dakota and Shane left Rustler, Texas, with broken hearts. Even now, Dakota is still feeling the agony of losing Shane. Sure, he’s a Texas Ranger, but that’s not how he wanted to live his life. All he ever wanted was to love Shane.

Loving you is the only time I feel alive.

Shane’s life was supposed to be different than this. There’d been a plan, ever since he was knee-high to his father. But falling for Dakota spun Shane’s world upside down, and for years, Shane has had nothing but the memories of all that he lost: Dakota’s gentle touch, and the sweetness of his lips, and the star-strewn nights they spent wrapped in each other’s arms.

West of the Pecos, there is no law.

When the Rangers get the call about six bodies being pulled out of a mass grave in West Texas, the governor sends Dakota to run the investigation. Dakota heads back to his hometown and comes face-to-face with the last man he ever expected to see again: only now, he’s Deputy Shane Carson… Dakota’s local partner assigned to the case.

There’s nothing Dakota wants more than a second chance with Shane, but so much is stacked against them: six corpses, a murderer on the loose, and history that refuses to stay buried. And the bodies keep piling up as Dakota and Shane try to run the killer down across the West Texas plains.

In a moment, everything changes: the hunters become the hunted, the past fractures, and all Dakota thought he knew comes tumbling down. Secrets break wide open as Dakota remembers–

This is West Texas, and out here, nothing is as it seems.


Big Bend County is a place of beauty and desolation, of secrets and small towns. Where the past and the present collide, and where nothing stays hidden forever.

This MM romantic suspense is the first in the new Big Bend Texas Rangers series. Come along for the West Texas sunsets, the heart-pounding thrills, and the hard-won Happy Ever Afters.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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