Animal behaviorist Gideon Blake (Outside Chance, 2005, etc.) finds once more it’s the two-legged kind that vexes and befuddles.
With four-legged creatures, all you have to do is pat their heads, stroke their pelts, whisper just the right English-accented sweet nothings in their unsettled ears, and before you can say “Grand National,” tranquility is on the way. Take Nero, for instance. The big, beautiful, but troubled, horse has made such excellent progress under Gideon’s care that even the sudden crack of a rifle shot has little effect on him. The effect on his rider, however, is lethal. As Gideon stares down at the body, he wonders who would bushwhack a nice bloke like Damien Daniels, ex-leading jockey, accomplished and admired trainer, all-around solid citizen. Of course, Gideon is bound and determined to go after answers to the riddles that begin with a single tantalizing clue: a piece of paper in Damien’s Nero file with a bunch of numbers and the words “Six to one against.” Something to do with betting? Gideon thinks so at first. But when he concludes that he’s looking at six phone numbers, he takes a long step toward identifying the cruel and treacherous two-legged beast.
Nicely paced and plotted and full of substantive stuff for the horsy set. Stacey’s best yet.