CLOSE CALL by John McEvoy


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A fading Chicago racetrack depends on its new publicity director to ward off the dangers that beset it—until a bill legalizing racetrack slots can ride to its rescue.

When Jim Joyce died, he left 51 percent of Monee Park to his niece Celia McCann and 49 percent to Niall Hanratty, his nephew in Ireland. It was an intuitively good choice, since Celia is doing everything she can to keep the track open, while Niall wants to shut it down, sell the land and plow the quick profits into his bookmaking operation. Celia’s strategies for keeping Monee on life support include hiring ex–ad exec Jack Doyle (Riders Down, 2006, etc.) to run the track’s publicity; Niall’s strategies for hastening its demise include joining forces with Windy City mouthpiece Arthur P. Riley, who hires a pair of thugs to insure that Monee tanks. Jack’s portfolio rapidly expands when the strong room is robbed, a power outage disrupts the track’s busiest night in years and someone tries to set fire to the office where the horses’ registration papers are kept. Will Jack be able to protect the thugs’ two prime targets, Celia and a phenomenal filly that just might put Monee on the map?

Routine thrust and parry stuffed with anecdotes, blarney, recycled jokes and colorful characters with nothing much to do.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59058-495-8
Page count: 296pp
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2008