Thursday, March 24, 2011
Bullet Work by Steve O'Brien is an excellent example of a page turning mystery set at a racetrack. The similarities to Dick Francis end there.
While Francis always wrote in first person and created a main character the reader really cared about right from the beginning, O'Brien writes a third person narration. I had trouble at first liking the main character, Dan Morgan, who is a lawyer and owner of a few Thoroughbred racehorses. Later, as he befriends a young man, AJ, who is bullied because of his special gift, my interest in Dan grew.
With AJ's help, Dan tries to discover who is killing and kidnapping horses on the backside, and running an extortion scam. The scenes are different from many mysteries but very plausible from a horse person's point of view.
Besides AJ, my favorite character was the two-year-old filly, Aly Dancer. The final race in the book was extremely well told, giving the reader a long, slow but heart-pounding climax. The ending was surprising, but satisfying.
My only fault is that halters are what horses wear in stalls and when handled for washing and other groom's chores; bridles are for riding. A horse would not have a bridle on unless it's ready to ride. In Dick Francis books, he refers to halters as headcollars, the British term.
The cover is fantastic!