by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of The Trojan Colt at the end of this review. This book has an animal twist to it involving racing horses.
Former Chicago and Cleveland police detective, Eli Paxton, is watching the overdue bills pile up in his Cincinnati private detective office when he receives a call from Bill Striker, the owner of an extremely prosperous detective agency who has a referral that Paxton cannot refuse. It should be an easy job–babysitting and body-guarding the first yearling of Trojan, a Derby-winning Horse of the Year worth over forty-five million dollars. Without even running a race Trojan’s colt is expected to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Keeneland Summer Sale and his breeding ability to produce winners could be worth millions. As a result Paxton is entrusted to literally sleep in the barn with the colt named after Tyrone Power along with Tyrone’s groom, the young Tony Sanders.
When Tony disappears and his absence written off as just a whim of the impulsive young, Tony’s parents are adamant that their horse-obsessed son would never have left his duties voluntarily. Hired by the Sanders to investigate and find their son, Paxton soon comes to share their belief when he learns that Tony disappeared leaving behind all of his loves– his job, a girlfriend and a car. The discovery that Tony was only the most recent of grooms to have suddenly disappeared awakens all of Paxton’s suspicions that something shady is operating in this obscenely pricey world of horse racing.
After first exploring the world of show dogs and dog breeding in Paxton’s previous case, here the reader is immersed in the complex and completely fascinating world of horse breeding and horse- racing. Millions of dollars are gambled on horses that have yet to prove themselves and even more money is wagered on the future generations of racers. Paxton has a refreshingly amicable relationship with the local police to the point that he has several rewarding dinners with policewoman Bernice, who has the patter to keep up with Paxton along with an extensive knowledge of horses. Nearly getting run off the road can’t dissuade Paxton from his investigation, one that probes into the exclusionary elite world of horse owners, gamblers and racers willing to spend and lose fortunes on these beautiful creatures.
The extraordinarily prolific author of sixty-eight novels and winner of numerous awards for his science fiction and fantasy writing, Resnick displays his talent for noir detective novels in this sequel to Dog in a Manger. The writing is sharp and the witty, biting dialogue is reminiscent of the best of noir mysteries but without the dark bitterness or ominous tone. Paxton is charming, owns a dog, Marlowe, who is tolerated but not particularly liked, and proves to be a competent, dedicated but not always brilliant detective.
While Paxton has all of the characteristics of the classic brooding detective–inability to get along with his superiors on the force, refusal to cater to those in power or with money, a bad shooting and a wife who left him, Resnick manages to place his own unique twist on his relatively psychologically scar-free character. The plot is constructed very tightly and moves quickly with dialogue written to be equally fast and fun. This extremely deft and skilled writer of science fiction and fantasy proves to be equally talented in updating classic noir detectives for the new millennium.
To enter to win a copy of The Trojan Colt, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Colt,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 27, 2013. U.S. residents only.
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