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DARK HORSE by Bill Shoemaker

DARK HORSE

By Bill Shoemaker

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-449-90597-7
Publisher: Ballantine

 Even though he's been barred from racing, former jockey Coley Killebrew finds the most resourceful ways to stay in the thick of things. Hours after his restaurant, The Horse's Neck, plays host to a party that brings the owners of several Kentucky Derby contenders together with top broadcasters from SportsNet, Coley's prospective father-in-law, Ray Starbuck, is injured and his companion, Vickie Salazaar, killed in a suspicious car crash, and Coley, at his fiancÇe Lea Starbuck's request, takes off for Louisville to find out what he can about the accident. While he's in town for the Derby, he accepts a SportsNet job as cover for his snooping on Jim Carmody, the well-connected vigilante whose longshot filly, For Cupid's Sake, almost runs off with the roses. And when Lea is kidnapped and the private eye who helped Ray Starbuck bounce Coley from riding turns up dead in Coley's hotel room, Coley, instead of dropping back into the field, is able to parlay his hunches and connections into a much closer look at how Carmody came by For Cupid's Sake, who plans what mischief for the Preakness and Belmont, and why Washington has no record of all the DEA agents who keep pushing Coley around. The Triple Crown provides a sturdy armature for Coley's third adventure (Fire Horse, 1995, etc.). But instead of a shapely mystery, there's too much undifferentiated derring-do, with incessant kidnappings keeping the female leads tied up.