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Blood and Roses (Holly Jennings Thriller) [Kindle Edition]

A.K. Alexander
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Someone is torturing and killing high-stakes players in the horse-racing world; all signs point to an animal activist gone rogue. But San Diego CSI Holly Jennings knows better. She’s seen enough violence in her time to know the difference between a killer bent on revenge and a killer seeking sheer destruction.

To stop him, Holly must venture beyond the gleaming facade of jockey silks and Derby hats into the seedy underbelly of the racing world, where ambition and greed trump ethics and fair play, and people will do anything—even kill—to win. But just when she thinks the killer is within her reach, a ghost from the past returns to threaten it all: her case, her job…and her life.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

San Diego CSI and detective Holly Jennings (Daddy’s Home, 2010) and her partner have hit roadblocks with the recent murders of two jockeys found with broken legs and carrots placed between their teeth. Months later, a racehorse owner linked to an animal-abuse scandal is found with mutilations resembling a brutal Thoroughbred medical treatment along with the carrot coup de grâce. The killer left cryptic notes on racing forms at each scene, indicating that the murders are revenge for industry abuses. Holly races from California tracks to Lexington’s horse farms vetting suspects among trainers, equine-medicine entrepreneurs, racing investors, and animal rescuers to find the killer before he or she stalks the next target. The novel’s exploration of the horse-racing industry is fascinating, with excellent setting descriptions and character-led insight into the industry’s multifaceted ethical issues. Unfortunately, the introduction of an implausible terrorist plot late in the novel distracts from what began as a solid investigation into competing motives for crime in an intriguing industry. --Christine Tran


"I inhaled A.K. Alexander’s nerve-wracking thriller, Blood and Roses. As a horseracing fan, I am often hard to please when it comes to books set on the racetrack. No problem here: I reveled in the vivid and memorable world she brought to the page, a special place suffused with desire and deceit, violence and love. Holly Jennings is my kind of detective-I would follow her anywhere."
-J. Carson Black, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Survivors Club

Product Details

  • File Size: 668 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (August 20, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A8R9LXM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,245 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I could - dare I say it - rule the world! July 23, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Two young jockeys - a man and woman - are dating on the sly while quickly moving up in the horse racing world. But they are kidnapped, brutally tortured, and then murdered by a psycho who clearly has much more in mind. Man oh man, what an electrifying and promising start to a novel! I was sure it was destined for greatness, and watched unbelieving as it slowly but inexorably came right off the rails.

There are two problems here. First, while this is pitched as a mystery/thriller, it's more properly defined as a romance novel. Lots of feelings, conflicts, and emotions, even when it's clearly time for action. Second, there's the plot. I can't cover too much to avoid giving away spoilers, but here's a glimpse. A disgraced government agent wants revenge and more: "He was going to control and rule the world." With unlikely events and the most bizarre of coincidences, it becomes so wildly outlandish that it risks parodying itself. The jockeys here eat large and guzzle beer; quite at odds with Dick Francis' jockeys who forever starve themselves to maintain their weight. I suspect that Dick has the right of it on this one.

If this book had maintained its starting momentum, it would have been a sure winner. Sadly, it finished out of the money.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging thriller April 16, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been a fan of Dick Francis novels for years, and this latest book from A. K. Alexander reminds of Francis' stories in many ways. I haven't yet read any of her other works, but Blood and Roses was a nice place to start.

Having grown up around horses, I enjoy when there is an element of racing, steeple chasing or other competition in the plot. This mystery begins with two jockeys violently murdered and that's just the tip of what the killer has planned. CSI Holly Jenkins, who was the protagonist in another of Alexander's novels, tries to piece everything together and help put a stop to the madness before many more get hurt.

This was a fast-paced, enjoyable read for me. I liked Holly's character, and the way she figured things out and escaped danger was written in a believable manner instead of making her out to be too much the brilliant heroine. There were plenty of plot surprises. This was not a tale that I could figure out from reading the first few chapters. It definitely had some twists that I did not see coming, but the resolution wrapped up nicely. Holly also had some personal issues to deal with during the story. Those too, came to a satisfying ending. The chapters were short and the action was engaging. The book was certainly a page turner and I finished it in two sittings.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want to put it down! March 23, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Detective Holly Jennings, and her partner Chad, have picked up a confusing murder: two jockeys found with their legs broken, shot dead, with carrots stuck in their mouths. The case goes cold -- but soon another horse racing bigwig is found dead with a carrot in his mouth as well.

As the two police officers investigate, they are drawn deep in to not only horse racing itself, but the industry's home in Lexington, Kentucky. This is territory well-known to me as a former equestrian athlete, and I can tell you that author A.K. Alexander gets it right. She deals with racing's underbelly: performance enhancing drugs, painful treatments designed to make a fragile animal run faster ... all of it. She also looks at the people trying to improve the sport, and to rescue the horses themselves when their days on the track are done (Alexander's fictional Golden Hearts reminded me more than a little of the real-life Old Friends Equine Retirement facility).

There are twists and turns all over the place, and the "whodunnit" is revealed slowly through a series of clues that don't detract from the end at all -- because not even the villain is quite whom he seems to be.

Highly recommended for fans of racing and murder mysteries alike.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plot Driven at the Expense of Character Development July 24, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
BLOOD AND ROSES was a plot driven thriller that was fast-paced. Characterization suffered a little because of the focus on plot. And what a plot it was, including murders, terrorism, a couple romances, a husband returned from the grave, and the dark side of the the horse racing world.

The story is told from multiple viewpoints. Each chapter is told from on character's point of view. The chapters vary in length buy most are short. Because there are so many points of view, little time is spent on character development.

Police Detective Holly Jennings is the main character. We know she is a widow of a fellow police officer who died in the line of duty while doing a drug bust. The warehouse burned and his body was never recovered. She was pregnant at the time of his death and now has a daughter who is about 10. She has met another man who also has two daughters and she is planning their wedding, or, she would be if she wasn't so busy trying to solve her cases. She is a dogged investigator who feels that she can know if any of the people she interviews are telling the truth. She is described as being intimidating to suspects.

The writing was competent but not polished. I found the story readable but not emotionally engaging. Fans of thrillers and horses may enjoy this plot driven novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood and Roses
Blood and Roses by A. K. Alexander was a good read. I will buy more of this author's books. If you like thrillers and horses, you would enjoy this book.
Published 3 days ago by Mabel J. Downey
4.0 out of 5 stars Good info about horse racing
I enjoyed learning about the background of racing. There are
several stories running at the same time. Read more
Published 4 days ago by jacy
4.0 out of 5 stars grew up near a track and enjoyed the horses
Interesting, grew up near a track and enjoyed the horses.
Published 11 days ago by Elizabeth
4.0 out of 5 stars Too many characters distracted from central theme but a good read.
Lots of twists and turns. Very imaginative. Too many characters distracted from central theme but a good read.
Published 12 days ago by A. Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood and Roses
This was a very good read , second book that I have read from this author and I will look for more.
Published 20 days ago by Shelly Chmura
5.0 out of 5 stars My kind of thriller
What can I say I really liked this book. Showing the seedy underbelly of the Horse Racing game. A motley assortment of good guys and bad guys. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Robert Saltzman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by Laura Lyon
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative
Learned a lot about horse racing. Love a book that teaches as well as entertains. Kind of hard keeping track of the many characters. All in all a good read for a summer vacation.
Published 1 month ago by Montana Sal
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood and Roses (Holly Jennings Thriller)
I loved this book. I never heard of this author before, but she has great talant. Action packed hard to put down.
Published 1 month ago by dennis breen
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth it
This book isn't very good. The writing is juvenile, the plot is easy to figure out and the storyline is sappy and predictable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lauren Ruderman
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More About the Author

A.K. Alexander writes gritty thrillers that will have you looking over your shoulder. Alexander's thrillers have appeared on The Wall Street Journal's bestseller list and Amazon's Kindle Bestseller list.

When not writing thrillers as A.K. Alexander, the author also writes lighter mysteries and contemporary fiction as Michele Scott.

If not writing, she is busy with her family and their many animals.

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