Acid and Bribery
by Jeanne Ann Off
LitFire Publishing

"A pistol just like the one Blaine carried was pointed straight at Kelsey. She shook with fear and felt sweat run down her face and into her eyes."

The exciting world of quarter horse racing is the backdrop for this story of murder, mayhem, and mysterious goings-on in and around a Colorado racetrack. It’s also a coming-of-age tale of a young woman caught between unsettling emotions from her past and the initial pangs of first love.

Kelsey is a sixteen-year-old home-schooled girl who lives with her mother, an assistant to a quarter horse trainer. She helps out with chores, cares for the animals, and pines for the handsome security guard. Soon, however, this adolescent begins to encounter grown-up problems. She learns of a race that may be thrown. Horses become ill. Some are quarantined. Others are mysteriously harmed by human hands. Kelsey has her life and the life of her cherished stallion threatened. A man is found dead and may have been murdered. Plus, the father who abandoned Kelsey and her mother returns, wanting to make her part of his life again. Turmoil abounds.

The author tells her story unpretentiously. Her prose is straightforward and direct. There is a heavy reliance on dialogue to carry both exposition and emotion. The conversations seem real. Characters don’t speak or act beyond the boundaries the author has set for them. In fact, credibility flourishes throughout concerning horses and racing. Readers learn how these amazing animals are cared for and what they’re capable of. Intricacies and insights about horse racing are also deftly interwoven into the novel’s storyline. The author even provides a glossary at the end of the text for the authentic jargon used throughout. In its own way, this is a tale as educational as it is entertaining.

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