From Publishers Weekly
Half of cutting-horse trainer Casey Brooks's stock is down with colic. Veterinarian Gail McCarthy's suspicions of poison are confirmed by lab tests. Then Casey, asking questions on the cutting-horse circuit, is thrown by his horse and killed. Gail investigates on her own and soon finds out more about bitter rivalries in the horse world than she wanted to know. City slickers content to admire horses from afar may puzzle over such terms as "team roping" and "confirmation flaw," but they'll also learn that some horses like beer and that horse barns are best built of metal, since horses eat wood. Unfortunately, Crum is less authoritative in narrative groundwork and characterization. Casey's girlfriend is described variously as "a Barbie doll come to life" and "excessively pretty in a Goldilocks kind of way," while Gail's ruminations about casual sex and the specter of AIDS smack irritatingly of self-consciously responsible writing. Once Crum canters into the heart of her story, however, the plot races nicely to a satisfying finish.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Seven sick horses aren't the only trouble veterinarian Gail McCarthy, of the Santa Cruz Equine Practice, finds at Ken Resavich's Indian Gulch Ranch. Casey Brooks, Ken's cowhorse trainer, insists that the colicky horses have really been poisoned (and he's right), and it's not long before Casey's own horse has two more mishaps, the second of which leaves Casey dead. Even so, know-nothing Detective Jeri Ward is content to call Casey's fatal fall an accident, so Gail launches her own unofficial investigation in two phases. First, she follows one hunch after another in an attempt to implicate the obvious suspects: dominant rival trainer Will George (who Casey insisted had ridden a ringer in the prestigious West Coast Futurity for working horses); Martha Welch, penny-pinching owner of a ``colicky'' horse Gail had put down (did she poison the horses boarding at Indian Gulch herself to cover an insurance scam?); and Melissa Waters, once Will's girlfriend, then Casey's (since Gail's not-quite-lover, Lonny Peterson, insists, cherchez la femme). When none of that works, she launches phase two and traces the phone calls Casey made the night he died, and voil
. Crum's no threat to Dick Francis or Sue Grafton. Despite this first novel's appealingly offbeat cowhorse background, you won't hold your breath for the sequel. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.