This intense, gripping racetrack drama is a winner by a nose.


A husband and wife—entangled in a murder case—deal with conflicts and danger in this horse racing mystery.

Larry Potter, the racetrack veterinarian at Woodbine, near Toronto, gets involved in an investigation when Golden Boy, a colt starting with 50-to-1 odds, collapses and dies during the race. Toxicology tests and sleuthing reveal that a groom was paid to slip cocaine to Golden Boy, resulting in a heart attack. Larry’s wife, Inspector Jenna Lawson, gets roped in when the horse’s adulterous trainer, Clement Montgomery, is murdered and castrated in his apartment (The crime scene “was one of the most brutal Lawson had ever encountered”). Toronto businessman Jonathan Piggott is later killed in an identical manner. Jenna ultimately has Montgomery’s widow, Trish, arrested for her husband’s murder' despite her having little connection to Piggott. Jenna’s investigation of Montgomery’s killing leads to tension in her marriage. Larry had been longtime friends with both Montgomerys. After Jenna asks Larry to step back from the homicide probe, he instead redoubles his efforts to find the race fixer, hoping there is a connection to Montgomery’s murder that could clear Trish. His efforts eventually pay off but in a manner that puts him in peril. While Jenna admittedly has doubts about Trish’s guilt, it takes a third, identical homicide in upstate New York to have her team look at a different suspect. Yet even that effort isn’t enough to yield a neat conclusion. Davis’ thriller succeeds despite a handful of dubious narrative choices. Jenna opts for the obvious when she arrests Montgomery’s widow, despite Trish’s having a tenuous relationship with the second victim. Likewise, Larry goes against his wife’s wishes when he continues to investigate the killings, setting himself up for danger. But the author’s research lends authenticity to the novel’s horse racing and policing backdrops. In addition, his decision to tell the story from the perspectives of Larry, Jenna, and the unnamed serial killer, the only fully developed characters, proves effective. And, in an enjoyable twist, the case appears to be closed when it really isn’t. The positives decidedly outweigh the negatives in this engrossing whodunit.

This intense, gripping racetrack drama is a winner by a nose.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-03-914553-5

Page Count: 328

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2022

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One of the most successful of Box’s increasingly ambitious have-it-all thrillers.


The Wyoming winter brings maverick game warden Joe Pickett poachers, murderers, spies, and some ferocious bad weather.

Seeking a wounded elk and a marauding wolf during a brutal snowstorm, Joe is amazed to discover a human corpse sticking halfway out of a metal outbuilding on the Double Diamond ranch. While he’s conscientiously photographing the crime scene, somebody starts shooting at him. Ranch foreman Clay Hutmacher refuses to say anything about the building’s purpose until he checks with billionaire ranch owner Michael Thompson; Gov. Colter Allen abruptly orders Joe off the case; and departing Twelve Sleep County Sheriff Scott Tibbs, the boss who’d do anything to avoid having Joe make waves, reports that there’s no body at the place he described. Meanwhile, Joe’s old friend Nate Romanowski, an outlaw falconer, is approached by ex–Army Ranger Jason Demo, who’s trying to attract anti-government malcontents to join the secessionist Sovereign Nation, and Joe realizes that his predatory mother-in-law, Missy, is neglecting her fifth or sixth husband, attorney Marcus Hand, who’s dying of pancreatic cancer, to cozy up to Allen, who plans to launch his campaign for reelection at the public library headed by Joe’s wife, Marybeth. What does the death of University of Wyoming engineering professor Zhang Wei, if that’s really who the dead man was, have to do with all of this malfeasance? Like a patient spider, Box plays out plotline after plotline, balancing his sympathies adroitly between anti-establishment libertarians who’ve had enough of the coastal elites and officers sworn to serve and protect their communities, before knotting them all together with a climactic revelation that for better or worse will leave you gasping.

One of the most successful of Box’s increasingly ambitious have-it-all thrillers.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2023

ISBN: 9780593331309

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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A compelling take on the classic whodunit.

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The shocking murder of a public figure at a high-end hotel has everyone guessing who the culprit might be.

Twenty-five-year-old Molly Gray, an eccentric young woman who's obsessed with cleaning but doesn't quite have the same ability to navigate social cues as those around her, loves working as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. Raised by her old-fashioned grandmother, who loved nothing more than cleaning and watching Columbo reruns, Molly has an overly polite and straightforward manner that can make her seem odd and off-putting to her colleagues despite her being the hardest worker at the hotel. After her grandmother's death, Molly's rigid life begins to lose some of its long-held balance, and when the infamous Mr. Charles Black, a rich and powerful businessman suspected of various criminal enterprises, is found murdered in one of the rooms she cleans, her whole world gets turned upside down. Before Molly knows what's happening, her odd demeanor has the police convinced she's guilty of the crime, and certain people at the hotel are a little too pleased about it. With the help of a few new friends (and while fending off new foes), she must begin to untangle the mystery of who really killed Mr. Black to get herself off the hook once and for all. Though the unusual ending might frustrate some readers, this unique debut will keep them reading.

A compelling take on the classic whodunit.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35615-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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