A racehorse who fits his demonic name, a dead body, buckets of horsefeed and buckets of blood, and I’m only 20 pages into Sasscer Hill’s The Sea Horse Trade. The dead girl has a sea horse tattooed on her arm. The intrepid Maryland jockey has horses arriving soon in Florida. The friend’s long-lost daughter is missing. And a curious stranger knows entirely too much.
Quick spare descriptions bring racecourse and town to life with well-chosen details. Nikki Latrelle’s personable voice and comfortable narration invite the reader in, even when she’s visiting the “hokey” home of that stranger with curious sight. And this “trouble magnet” is resourceful, on and off the track. She’s got history, and friends. And she cares about horses, even devilish ones, about dead girls, and about loyalty and commitment. She trusts her old friend Mello’s sight, and she soon learns to trusts this stranger too as a trail of horseraces, drugs, missing girls, underage vice and more begins to jell around common threads.
Hints of romance and undercover danger entice the reader as clues and mysteries combine in a thrilling climax, and the story ends comfortably—good people and good horses getting on with their lives. The Sea Horse Trade is a thoroughly enjoyable thoroughbred mystery with just the right amount of authenticity, emotion and mystique.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel when I invited the author to be a guest on my blog.