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

A.K. Alexander
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 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.

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: 982 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:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,460 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 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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43 of 49 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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12 of 13 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moves right along but no really big surprises September 13, 2013
By jaxnjil
Format:Kindle Edition
This was a thought provoking story concerning the actual racing costs to the horses. The story moved right along and kept my interest but was not surprised by the ending or captured enough to look for other books by the author. If I run across the author again though I would read again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High-Stakes Killings March 25, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Enter the world of high-stakes horse racing--where the stakes are so high, it's costing lives. But there is so much more to it than horse racing.

This being a mystery, I'm going to take care not to reveal too much. Let's just say just when you think you have it all figured out, another twist is thrown it, and even when it gets to the point you know WHOdunit, you don't necessarily know WHYtheydunit.

This is part of a series, but I didn't realize it 'til halfway through the book when it referred to a previous case. However, this book stands alone just fine. There were no endless details about prior cases, and there was no need for them, though the details about Holly's past were relevant for reasons I won't reveal.

Afghanistan, dead men walking, men framed for crimes, secret government's so much more than what you find at the track and it all starts with what appear to be animal rights type crimes.

I appreciated the mystery though I did get lost and confused at moments. There are a lot of characters to keep track of. Who was the jockey or trainer and who did they work for when and yada yada. I almost had to take notes. I loved the revelation of the underhanded things going on in the stalls, though I was sad at the treatment of the horses. It was eye-opening, though.

I thought there could be/should be more emotion at times--namely when the heroine gets a surprise.

Enjoyable read, however.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I found the main character totally irritating. She comes across as torn and inept. I liked the horse racing setting, but found the plot very contrived.
Published 23 days ago by Barbara Milam
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read.
Very good and informative about the possible workings of the horse racing world. That story was good enough alone and with enough suspense. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Good mystery, with action and twists
I had never read any of her books in the past. I took a flyer on it and was pleasantly rewarded. Good mystery, with action and twists. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars A very Good Read
I have read many mystery/detective stories. And A.K. Alexander is already a well known author. The story is easy to read and flows along nicely. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Debby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A very good book to read.
Published 2 months ago by Connie Fessler
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 2 months ago by Steffany Morrison
4.0 out of 5 stars Good characters whom I wish had been developed more
A new author for me. Good characters whom I wish had been developed more. Plot was interesting.
Published 3 months ago by Mary H.
4.0 out of 5 stars San Diego and horse racing, what's not to like?!
I was very about reading this book since it's written by a San Diego native (I'm a SoCal native - mostly San Diego Co. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Midwest Yogini
1.0 out of 5 stars this is long-lasting literature and I only expected to be...
AWFUL....this is long-lasting literature and I only expected to be "entertained" like with her "Daddy's Home" book. That DID NOT happen with this book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lotus Gibbs
2.0 out of 5 stars Droning on and on about horse racing.. really, who cares?
Usually, I can read a book set in places I'm not interested in, and if the character development is good, and the plot is good, it's not an issue. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
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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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