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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Ehrman's engaging fourth outing for barn manager Steve Cline (after 2005's Cold Burn), Steve visits Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, courtesy of his newly found biological father, trainer Chris Kessler, who yearns to have his talented son work full-time. But Steve, who lives in Maryland, is considering getting a PI license and uses the time in Louisville to complete a class assignment: find out all you can about someone. He chooses as his research subject Nicole Austin, a Churchill Downs employee he met only once. When Nicole's corpse turns up, Steve quickly becomes the primary suspect. While working to clear his name, Steve is invited into the rarefied world of wealthy racehorse owners by Rudi Sturgill, a cheerful playboy who may be the killer. Though Ehrman has yet to master the tightly focused plotting of jockey-turned-author Dick Francis, equine-minded readers will enjoy her capable, savvy young protagonist and authentic depiction of the gritty world of horse racing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

When Steve Cline accepts his horse-trainer father's invitation to spend two weeks at Churchill Downs as one of two caregivers for Kentucky Derby contender Gallant Storm, he looks forward to an idyllic respite from his normal duties as a barn manager in Maryland. Cline wouldn't be in his fourth crime mystery at the tender age of 23 if he weren't a magnet for trouble, however, and within days of arriving in Louisville, he has befriended a young woman who soon turns up dead. Quickly, Cline has become the target of both the police and a couple of thugs bent on mayhem. His attempts to find out why the young woman was killed lead him deep into the exclusive world of Bluegrass bluebloods, where he becomes increasingly at risk as he gets closer to uncovering a shameful secret. There is plenty of action here, all set against the excitement and pageantry of the buildup to America's greatest horse race. Neither race fans nor devotees of suspense will be disappointed. Dennis Dodge
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Steve Cline Mysteries
  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590584783
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590584781
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After discovering the works of Dick Francis, Kit Ehrman quit a government job and went to work in the horse industry. Twenty-five years later, Ehrman combined a love of horses and mysteries by penning an equine-oriented mystery series featuring barn manager and amateur sleuth Steve Cline. The series has won numerous awards and has received outstanding reviews in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, The Denver Post, and Chicago Tribune among others.

The first book in the series, AT RISK, is free on Kindle.

Customer Reviews

It kept me guessing to the very end.
Amazon Customer
I liked all four of these book - read them one after the other after a LONG very difficult read.
Amazon Customer
Kit Ehrman writes well and the stories are great reads.
Wendy Hitchins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ANN SELF on September 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Is all I can say. This author is supposed to be the next Dick Francis, and although I was doubtful, I now have to agree. The language is a bit salty for me, but it is a racetrack story, and at least you're not beat over the head with cursing. I've been to Churchill Downs, and the place is MAGIC. Kit Ehrman captures it completely, creating the whole racetrack establishment in your mind for the action to seat in--this is total immersion in the "backsiders" world, the most interesting place on a track. Louisville is also well represented here, and the excitement of big business and corporate espionage adds up to a thrilling story. I hated this book to end, hated leaving the world of Steve Cline and his foray into the Private Investigator business. Hated leaving the horses and the thrill of racing. I now have to go back and read Ehrman's other Steve Cline mysteries and hope they're as good as this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Twenty-three years old Maryland barn manager Steve Cline is working with his dad as they prepare their horse Gallant Storm for the Kentucky Derby. His father trainer Chris Kessler feels he has a solid shot of winning the most prestigious racing event and many pundits agree. Steve joins him in Louisville.

However, Steve has plenty of idle time on his hands as the race is two weeks away and his time serving on the racing team is minor. To his credit he avoids race groupies as he remains faithful to his girlfriend Rachel. However, he fills his time studying from the mail order private investigator course he is enrolled in as he tries to make practical applications while hiding what he is doing from Rachel, who detests Steve's aspirations to become a sleuth. He soon finds himself in the middle of a real homicide of a woman whose relationships leave behind plenty of people with motive, means and opportunity.

Steve is a roguish charmer who readers will like in his fourth appearance (see COLD BURN and DEAD MAN'S TOUCH) and the horse racing sequences especially the preparation for a race insightful and clearly a winner. However, the murder mystery track is muddy as some conclusions seem questionable. Still Dick Francis would enjoy racing with Steve as he tries to complete his correspondence class project without getting killed.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PJ Coldren VINE VOICE on March 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky; Steve Cline is there as a favor to Chris Kessler, his father. Steve is also taking a class pursuant to a possible career as a P.I. In order to complete an assignment, he has to do some background checking on a stranger. He picks, for no real reason, Nicole Austin. This turns out to be a big mistake.

Steve is mugged at a party he's been invited to by Rudy Sturgill, someone with money and clout. Nicole Austin disappears without a trace and her apartment is searched. When Steve continues to ask questions about her, he is threatened by yet another man with money and clout, the man his father works for. Cline doesn't back off, and events continue to go from bad to worse in the ever-increasing frenzy of Derby week.

Ehrman has been compared, for obvious reasons, to Dick Francis. Francis, for the most part, wrote stand-alones, which gave him the luxury of not having to stretch in order to place his protagonist in a setting that could convincingly contain a murder. Ehrman, because this is a series, has to work at getting Steve into these situations; that work is not obvious. Each story has been plausible. Steve continues to grow as a character while the readers gets to learn more about horses and the various ways people can work in conjunction with them. TRIPLE CROSS is another well-written entry in Ehrman's series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lynnie on December 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm enjoying Kit Ehrman's horse-themed mysteries. I've always loved Dick Francis, but the last few before he passed away were kinda disappointing. Kit Ehrman fills the bill. I haven't read any of Dick Francis' son's books yet, but I will.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer J. Martin on January 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best yet in this 4 (so far) book series. I was really caught up in the story, and stayed up most of the night to finish it. I tried to read slower, to make it last longer, but I just couldn't put it down!

Won't go thru the plot; just read it for yourself! It's well worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PlaysInTheDirt on May 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Kit Ehrman can't compete with Dick Francis (few can), but Kit can ride second string in my library. I enjoyed Triple Cross, although I haven't read previous novels in this series. It wasn't the flawless race-to-the-finish that Francis so often provided, but it was thoroughly readable and entertaining. I'm looking forward to reading more in the Steve Cline series, and betting that Ehrman will get even better with more experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carole Woolley on November 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is so full of all the elements of exceptional writing, drama, action, sixpence and real love for the beautiful noble horse. No one but this author could capture all of this in a totally engrossing story. I want more and more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Jones on October 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Numerous twists and unexpected turns keep you on the edge of your seat in this racing thriller. Horse enthusiasts will appreciate the realistic track environment and situations
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