At Risk

At Risk

5.0 8
by Kit Ehrman
     
 

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At 21, Steve Cline seems too young to be in charge of a major stable in Maryland's horse country. When he's hijacked early one morning along with some of his horses, his escape turns him into a killer's target. See more details below

Overview

At 21, Steve Cline seems too young to be in charge of a major stable in Maryland's horse country. When he's hijacked early one morning along with some of his horses, his escape turns him into a killer's target.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Both horse lovers and crime fans who've never stepped into a stirrup will relish Ehrman's riveting debut, set on a Maryland horse farm. When his successful surgeon father disowns him after he drops out of college, 21-year-old Stephen Cline takes a job as barn manager of Foxdale Farm, which specializes in the training and boarding of thoroughbred jumpers. In the middle of a late February night, Steve visits the stable to medicate a sick horse only to stumble on a horse theft in progress. Haunted by the events of that night after barely escaping from being kidnapped and murdered, Steve resolves to track down the perpetrators before they find him. In spite of the warnings of state police detective James Ralston, he continues his search to unravel what becomes a suspenseful mystery, but not before he puts himself in grave peril. The cold, wet Maryland spring vividly turns to summer amid the smells of horses, hay and sawdust as the plot gallops forward. As a former groom, veterinary assistant and barn manager, Ehrman treads Dick Francis territory with a sure foot. From Steve's girl-crazy friend, Marty, to the motherly farm manager, Mrs. Hill, to the ruthless villains who leave more than one body in their wake, she has created a memorable cast. The sensitively drawn relationship between Steve and the alluring Rachel, a boarder at Foxdale, is one of the novel's highlights. With his youthful zeal and perseverance, Steve Cline makes a captivating hero and sleuth, one readers will be eager to see again. (Oct. 1) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
At 21, Steve Cline is among the youngest barn managers in Maryland's horse country, and he loves the job, loves being good with animals. It's the two-legged species that sometimes unsettles him. Steve's people problems get rapidly worse when, during a nocturnal break-in at Foxdale Farms, seven horses are hijacked along with one human-Steve, of course, attempting to forestall three men in ski masks who take turns whaling away at him before tossing him into a van, to be dealt with further at their leisure. But Steve, as resourceful and resilient as a Dick Francis hero, wriggles free of his bindings, overcomes the agony of broken ribs, and escapes his captors. Is it a case of plain unvarnished larceny? That's his question when Detective James Ralston of the Maryland State police comes calling. The answer isn't obvious, Ralston acknowledges, though it's clear the crime was not isolated. A few months earlier, he tells Steve, a nearby stable owner was beaten to death after having seven (!) horses stolen from him. It's hardly a stretch, then, Ralston says, to conclude that Steve is lucky indeed to be living and breathing, however painfully. Next, a favorite cat is hanged showily, and vandals strike and leave threatening messages aimed at Steve. Is all this a cover-up for some convoluted scam? Or is it, Steve wonders, as personal as it's starting to seem? Ehrman's lively debut is not without its rough spots-mostly in the plotting-but the smart money could make the unusually likable protagonist a favorite in the Francis Stakes.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590582657
Publisher:
Poisoned Pen Press
Publication date:
08/06/2006
Series:
Steve Cline Mysteries Series
Pages:
299
Product dimensions:
5.64(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.65(d)

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