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Reader Reviews

Reviews without a post date were gleaned from other websites.

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General Reviews

   "I’ve read all of Smithwick-Braden’s books and am anxiously awaiting for the latest to be released. I grew up near Wilbarger County, and her descriptions of the places in this area are spot on because she lived there and experienced life in that area. Her character development has grown with each book. I love the main cast in their growth and new ones that are brought in for each story. She has a unique twist and turn in each book to keep the reader happily guessing the identity of the guilty one.” Submitted by Joyce R. 08/01/22

   "I have enjoyed all of Dianne’s books. I was hooked from her first book on how well she keeps you guessing on the guilty till the very end. She has improved her writing each book, and I’m so excited to read her new one coming soon!!" Submitted by Terry B 08/29/22

   "The Wilbarger County Series is the best! Start with book one to get the history of the characters. If you are looking for great mysteries that you won't know "who done it" until the end, Dianne is your author." Linda P. 06/02/23

   "If you are from Vernon or Wilbarger County and love mystery books then you should get this series. I now have the whole series and can hardly wait to begin reading this sixth and final book of the series. I will be sad to leave the characters and story lines behind but I bought another one of her mystery books to read after Christmas. Merry Christmas to me! Dianne was raised on a farm near our family farm in Lockett, Texas and now she is a retired teacher and resides in Amarillo with her husband. You can find her books on Amazon. Buy the first book of the Wilbarger County series and you will want the other five!" Linda P. 12/02/23

The Wilbarger County Series Reviews

Death on Paradise Creek

   "This was a very enjoyable read. I love mysteries and this one had me guessing til the end. I really liked Lizzie and her family. I loved that the book was set in Vernon and it had that small town feel to it. I especially liked the historical aspect to it. This is an author that I look forward to reading more of." Posted on Amazon by D. Smith

   "Quick reading, suspense filled story. One was enthralled with the story and kept waiting, while turning the pages quickly, to solve the mystery." Posted on Amazon by Sue

   "Starts off as a western which I totally loved. Then moves to modern day. So much is contained in this book, great storyline, lots of subplots. I loved this gem of a book. Romance, murder mystery, hidden treasure, it has it all. Entertaining well written debut book by Dianne Smithwick-Braden." Posted on Amazon by Woody 

   "I enjoyed this book from the very beginning. It did have a very surprising ending though. I can figure out most of the who done it at the beginning of a book, this one is so well written, you don't even figure it out at the end."  Posted on Amazon Ruth McCurry


   "I haven't read too many Texas authors who base their novels on our great state. Smithwick-Braden does a fine job of portraying her characters as Texans without going hillbilly. She has an ear for dialogue, which helps flesh out the characters and makes them believable. I was eager to read on to see what happened next." Excerpt from Amazon review by Lorilei Gonzales 

   "Death on Paradise Creek has a rich cast of characters and Smithwick-Braden does an outstanding job of fleshing-out each of them. Readers think they have a pretty clear picture, and then the author throws in a detail that muddies what seemed clear, which makes solving the whodunnit part of the story more difficult. Sensitive readers need not worry about any unsavory elements, as there are maybe four swear words (mild), only implied sexual situations, and the violence is not graphic in any way." Excerpt from Amazon review by Hall Ways

   "Intriguing, captures the interest of the reader. I couldn't wait to find out who the culprit was. Very enjoyable story." Posted on Amazon by Dnulges 

Death under a Full Moon

   "I just couldn't put it down. Wilbarger County is where my husband and I grew up and so the setting is very familiar to me. I love mysteries and she has done a very nice job of keeping the suspense until the very end of the book. I look forward to her next book." Posted on Amazon by Linda Price 

   "Smithwick-Braden brings back her core characters, but plenty of new, colorful, and memorable ones are added-in to keep readers entertained and guessing about who the murderer is and what might be the motive - there are lots of possibilties for both. Readers will enjoy the vivid descriptions of the Halloween Party and the blue norther that blows in during a baby shower. The author's writing style is laid-back, easy to read, and natural, and special spellings allowed for readers to hear the Texas accents ins some of the characters' speech." Excerpt from Amazon review by Hall Ways

   "I read her first book and loved it. Read the second and found a writer even more in charge of her craft; the characters I grew to know in the first book are more fully developed. The plot is not gimmicky or twisty but mature and thoughtful but still unpredictable. Smithwick-Braden is one of those mystery writers that next year, we'll all be saying, I discovered her first, she's mine." Posted on Amazon by Mark D. Williams

Flames of Wilbarger County

   "Liked the plot and characters from beginning to end. Mysteries are my favorite reads and Smithwick-Braden keeps you guessing all the while throwing in historical tidbits about the area. I have read her first two books in this series and love the way each book flows into the other." Posted on Amazon by Nancy V. James

   "Smithwick-Braden continues to develop the characters, while introducing new characters and twists and turns. A fun read that ends with the surprise that mysteries should." Posted on Amazon by Joyce

   "It was so very good. Couldn't put it down.  I so hope there is another book in the future to this series." Posted on Amazon by Linda Price

   "An entertaining read with a surprise ending. You will question each plot twist." Posted Amazon by Pam Kinnan

Gambling with Murder

   "Get ready for a wild ride from Las Vegas to Wilbarger County. Gambling With Murder is well thought out and has well developed characters. Smithwick-Braden always has a strong family connection. Many surprises throughout and an intriguing read." Posted on Amazon by Renee Shackelford

   "It was so good! There was lots of action and intrigue. I loved the characters and their interactions. Very well written and just a really good book!! Posted on Amazon by D. Smith

   "This one is full of exciting suspense. You won’t know who did it till the end!" Posted on Barnes and Noble by Terry B.

Murderous Opportunities

   "I literally could not put it down! It kept me guessing till the very end! I really like this series, especially because it's set in Wilbarger County which is close to home for me. I loved the characters and Dianne Smithwick-Braden writes an exceptionally good mystery!" Posted on Amazon by D. Smith

Quiet Revenge

   "I started this book one evening intending to read only the first chapter as it was late.  I finally made myself put it away.  I could not wait until I could start it again. It was a fantastic read.  All I can say is wow! It kept me guessing all the way.  I will count it as among the very best books that I have ever read." Sandra W. 12/04/23

   “Quiet Revenge” is another of Dianne’s wonderful mysteries. It captures your attention right away and leaves you trying to figure out who did it till the very end. Hope all readers enjoy it as much as I did." Terry B. 01/01/24

"   This book was really good! I love a good mystery, and this one kept me guessing trying to figure out who was the murderer. I have always enjoyed this series and this author’s writing! The books, catch your attention, and keep you on the edge to the very end. I highly recommend this series , I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every book that I’ve read." Posted on Amazon by D. Smith

Reviews of Smithwick-Braden's Other Books

Coded for Murder

   "This book is mesmerizing! Every turn and twist made this a capturing book! I couldn't put it down! It's a clean, refreshing murder mystery that will keep you on your toes! Highly recommended!" Posted on Amazon by Becky Usleton

   "This book can have you immersed in its characters lives and the shadow of mystery that hangs over them. Along with Jade's uncle Erik, there are a slew of characters and a rowdy giant dog that will show the great talent of character development. The instant dislike for some and hopeful protective nature to others. It is easy to see that Smithwick-Braden has a knack for creating tones to her characters. Jade was a likeable character and I rooted for her." Excerpt from Amazon review by Haley


   "I checked this book out at my local library and it was awesome! I love murder mysteries and this one was especially good. It was well written and kept you interested and trying to figure it out. I especially loved the hometown aspect of it, Amarillo will always be home for me. It was a very very good read and I highly recommend it. Posted on Amazon by D. Smith


   "Smithwick-Braden did a fantastic job in writing Jade as a believable college student who happens to become involved in a murder investigation. She captures that college student stress mixed in with 'real life' paranoia and fear. It was also a fantastic addition to have puzzles included to help Jade figure out her mystery. It was very blockbuster-exciting to have those included as part of Jade's story. Something I also want to showcase is the author's ability to inject some humor into her mystery. Smithwick-Braden definitely was able to mix in some humor with her ever-growing paranoia in the story. Truly a great balance that had me enjoying every page of this book." Excerpt from Amazon review by Celia

   "If you're a fan of mysteries and really want to put your sleuthing skills to the test or maybe you're just simply looking for a place to start within the genre, then here is your next read! This is an engaging and easy read that lures you in under the pretense of quickly solving the case, however, puzzles are tricky for a reason, and this book might just trip you up as well! Everyone and everything is incredibly realistic, painting an authentic picture of how suddenly life can change due to tragic and/or unfortunate circumstances. The author masterfully created Everyman so that any reader could project themselves into this plot." Excerpt from Amazon review by Jenn Z @ That's What She's Reading


   "If you like a good, suspenseful read, this book is for you. I appreciate the fact that it is a clean book without gratuitous cursing and sex. Yes, it can be done! Another plus - "giggle worthy" humor!" Posted on Amazon by Nancy

   "Jade is just another college girl trying to juggle school, work, and her love life. She doesn't seem to notice much around her, with her mind always on the next task. But after the last reliable person in her life is taken from her, Jade's character begins to shine. She may be a little brilliant, in fact, and it's both interesting and engaging to watch Jade come into her own. Over the course of the story, Jade O'Neal grows into someone the reader can root for because she is just like us: average, maybe a little boring, until life throws a curveball we couldn't fathom facing. Grounded in realism with believable stakes, Coded for Murder will spin you into a sensational web of hidden truths and lies." Excerpt from Amazon review by Jennifer Silverwood

   "This is a great mystery that captures your attention right from the first and keeps you guessing until the end. The author is well acquainted with the locality of her story which adds a very believable element to the story." Posted on Amazon by Nancy V. James

   "I love a good mystery and this book from Dianne Smithwick-Braden had my detective skills going at full speed. As the book progresses, several potential suspects are revealed but until the end, I had no idea which character was the bad guy and I don't think there were enough clues to give it away too soon. This book will have you looking over your shoulder, wondering if someone is following you or if there is someone right around the corner that has plans that you don't want to participate in with them." Excerpt from Amazon review by StoreyBook Reviews

   "Loved this book! Suspenseful, humorous and well written. Stayed up all night to finish it." Posted on Amazon by Lynn Lee

   "The author does a great job working to ensure the reader fully understand the full dynamic of each character and its role in the storyline. The plot twist will have you on the edge of your seat as the novel works to pick up speed. I laughed out loud at Teddy one of my absolute favorite characters in this novel. Throughout this novel, the reader gets to hear every thought, engage in every interaction, and feel every emotion the characters feel. This allowed for a more in-depth reading experience where I felt transported into the novel. It is such a wonderful reading experience when the author is able to write a mystery novel that isn't littered with foul language. I thoroughly enjoyed the modesty of the character Jade and the morality of Uncle Erik. Also, loved the Christian influence. If you are interested in a well written, humorous, and engaging adult murder mystery novel then this book is for you!" Excerpt from Amazon review by Librariel17

   "I love a book with a good sense of paranoia and this one had me looking around suspiciously for days after finishing it. I enjoyed how connected all the character were in the small town. There were so many characters seeming to come in at the perfect time that I didn't know who to trust and who was using them, who was following them and who they could run to!" Excerpt from Amazon review by Tangled in Text


   "Coded for Murder, is excellent and I could hardly put it down to do other things. It is set in Canyon, the college there, and Amarillo. It is an excellent mystery for anyone to read, but especially if you are from that area or familiar with that area. It is a great read and I highly recommend it." Linda P. 01/22/24

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