Bullet Work

As a novice, I never really thought much about what goes into the sport of horse racing. We'd go, a huge group of us, get some dinner, place a few bets and cheer as we watched the 1,200 pound beasts round the track, laboring to make it home. We'd yell or moan depending on where our cash lay and go home happy, a little inebriated either cash poor or rich depending on our guessing skills. Steve O'Brien illustrated a different side of the track- the backside. One I'd never have a chance to see or know otherwise.

Back of the Book:
They lived for that one chance; the chance to get home first. They waited for that one second. For that moment when they broke into the clear down the home stretch, and no one was going to catch them. Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing, lies the gritty reality of the backside. Within this fiercely competitive world of owners, trainers, vets, and jockeys something has gone terribly wrong. As opening day approaches, one racehorse is poisoned, another has her leg crushed by a lead pipe and a third mysteriously disappears. Shock and horror grip the racing community.Despite all security efforts, the brutal killings continue. For Dan Morgan it becomes personal when his precocious two-year-old filly is targeted. Dan befriends AJ Kaine, a lonely, “horse whispering” young man. AJ is a hotwalker, the lowest of jobs in the backside food chain. But AJ has a secret—perhaps a secret that can corner a killer. With AJ’s help, Dan must crack the extortion scheme or risk becoming the next victim

My Thoughts: 
Although billed as a mystery, Bullet Work is really an education of the inner workings of a multi-billion dollar business, one built on an animal with "ankles like a pre-teen ballerina." A micro community where the beauty and ugliness of humanity is magnified through their interactions both with the animals and with each other. At the heart of the story is Dan Morgan, an attorney in his day-to-day life and a new horse owner as his passion. This is an ugly season for horse racing as someone is out to blackmail the owners. Pay just $20 a horse or risk injury, death or even kidnapping. Dan is determined to find the blackmailer before his young horse is next.

Fast-paced and entertaining, the novel will keep you reading late into the night. You'll never look at horse racing quite the same again.




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