Next book

THE PALE HORSE

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

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

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

Next book

CITY IN RUINS

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

The dramatic conclusion to the trilogy about two New England crime families begun in City on Fire (2022) and City of Dreams (2023).

Near the end of his journey, multimillionaire Danny Ryan watches a casino implode in a mushroom cloud of dust and muses about his life’s implosions: “The cancer that killed his wife, the depression that destroyed his love, the moral rot that took his soul.” Danny is from Providence, Rhode Island, and desperately tried to leave his criminal life behind him. But using a ton of ill-gotten gains, he invests heavily in Las Vegas properties. Congress is conducting an investigation into gambling that could destroy his casino business and even land him in jail. An FBI agent plans to take Danny down for major sins he’d like to repent for. Meanwhile, can he make peace with his enemies? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Even if the parties involved want to put the past behind them, the trouble is that they don’t trust each other. Is Vern Winegard setting Dan up? Is Dan setting Vern up? “Trust? Trust is children waiting for Santa Claus.” So what could have been a “Kumbaya,” nobody-wants-to-read-this story turns into a grisly bloodletting filled with language that would set Sister Mary Margaret’s wimple on fire—figuratively speaking, as she’s not in the book. But the Catholic reference is appropriate: Two of the many colorful characters of ill repute are known as the Altar Boys, serving “Last Communion” to their victims. On the law-abiding side and out of the line of fire is an ex-nun-turned-prosecutor nicknamed Attila the Nun, who’s determined to bring justice for a gory matricide. (Rhode Island really had such a person, by the way.) Finally, the prose is just fun: A friend warns Dan about Allie Licata: “In a world of sick fucks, even the sick fucks think Licata’s a sick fuck.” A couple of things to note: This not only ends the trilogy, but it also closes out the author’s career, as he has said he’ll write no more novels.

If you love good crime writing but aren’t familiar with Winslow’s work, read this trilogy in order.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780063079472

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

Next book

THREE-INCH TEETH

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

A bear is hunting prey in Wyoming’s Bighorns. And not just any bear.

It’s bad enough that Clay Hutmacher, who manages the Double Diamond Ranch, has lost his son, Clay Jr., to a vicious attack by a grizzly bear. What’s much worse is that Clay Jr.—who’d been about to pop the question to game warden Joe Pickett’s daughter, Sheridan—is only the first of the victims over an exceptionally broad geographical area. Marshal Marvin Bertignolli is clawed and bitten to death over in Hanna. Sgt. Ryan Winner is found bleeding out north of Rawlins. Former Twelve Sleep County prosecutor Dulcie Schalk, one of two survivors of an ambush, doesn’t survive her final encounter. The four experts chosen to kill the grizzly rope Joe into their expedition, but since their quarry keeps turning up far from the last sighting, the most meaningful confrontation the Predator Attack Team has is with a pair of Mama Bears, animal rights activists who demand due process for Tisiphone, as they’ve dubbed the presumed killer. Box, who’s far too canny to leave Tisiphone alone on center stage, follows Joe’s old antagonist Dallas Cates as the ex–rodeo star is released from prison and embarks on his revenge tour, which takes him to Lee Ogburn-Russell, an inventor whose life Dallas saved, and Axel Soledad, a correspondent who shares so many enemies with Dallas that he suggests they go after them together. Franchise fans will appreciate new details about Joe’s complicated family, the obligatory high-country landscapes, and yet another corrupt law enforcer.

A tale that’s hard to believe but easy to swallow in a single gulp.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2024

ISBN: 9780593331347

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2024

Close Quickview