I’m not quite sure what I thought about this book. There were parts of it I loved and parts of it that made me think ‘what the ....’.
The story was interesting and had all the elements needed to make this a thrilling read; a young couple in love, horses and a racetrack, a vet risking everything through involvement with horse doping, gangsters, violence, men of honour, kinky role-play... I don’t think I need to go on; this book was packed with intrigue. And that is also my first issue with this story; there was too much happening.
There is Holden and Kate’s relationship which seems to be going well despite the fact that he’s keeping secrets from her and putting her under enormous pressure to set a wedding date. There is the pressure Holden is under from the drug lord forcing him to provide prescriptions to drug the race horses. There is a new jockey who’s not quite what he appears to be. When I ran into cruelty against a horse I nearly discarded the book. And still the action continued; attempted murder and Holden’s desperate need to get away without revealing to Kate why they’re leaving without saying goodbye to anyone. I’m sure I missed one or two things but you get the idea.
There is so much happening in this book that reading it became exhausting at times. I’m a huge fan of thrilling page-turners but even those need a pause for the reader to catch their breath occasionally. The amount of characters and the frequent shifts in perspective also made me (literally) lose the plot a few times. But, I think I could have dealt with all of these issues if the writing had been a little bit less brusque. The author didn’t seem to want to take the time to develop anything. Thoughts and feelings of the characters were reduced to a single paragraph. I couldn’t help feeling that the author begrudged having to explain the characters’ motivation because it took away from the action. While this may work very well for other readers, I love dissecting the characters in my books and never got the feeling I got close to knowing or understanding these people.
I also had one or two issues with Kate. I mean it was hard enough to believe that she wanted to marry a man who was obviously keeping secrets from her and had also recently had an affair with another woman. But to have her think that if she hadn’t been with Holden she could have fallen for Lugowski was a bit too much.
After all of that complaining, I should also admit that there were parts of this book that worked very well. The scene in the stable when the gangster has two men captive and is getting ready to kill them had me mesmerized and reading as fast as I possibly could for example.
I guess it all comes down to personal taste. If you like your books fast and furious, with lots of action and little reflection, this will be the perfect read for you. If, like me, you prefer a bit more insight into the motivation and feelings of the characters, you may find yourself wishing there had been more to this story. Overall though, this was a fast-paced and easy to read book; an enjoyable way to lose a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.