by Laura Crum



After ten years of raising her child, Gail McCarthy is considering returning to her former profession as a horse vet. She’s enjoying retirement, however, and the freedom to ride her horse around the countryside. Her life is disrupted when she comes upon a corpse of a fellow horse rider. Enter Detective Jeri Ward, an old friend of Gail’s to act as lead investigator. There is a plethora of suspects with, and a variety of, motives. From jealousy to a marijuana farm and even a nearby housing development with folks who are anti-horse. As the evidence is collected and tensions heighten, Gail discovers a second corpse.

I haven’t read any of Crum’s previous McCarthy mysteries but I wonder if she’s reached her limit on excitement. It’s a standard plot, but nothing captivating or special.


Gail McCarthy: 50, rides a palomino, former horse vet, married with child, gray streaks in her hair, 20 pounds overweight, doesn’t own a television, partner in a vet clinic, owns cats and dogs, likes margaritas

Jeri Ward: Detective Sergeant in Homicide for Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department, 50, blonde, manicured nails, has been with the department for 25 years

Mac McCarthy: 11, Gail’s son, plays electric keyboard piano, takes karate lessons

There are a lot of supporting and minor characters, but I didn’t feel a connection with anybody. Crum tries for depth but I wasn’t excited about the moments of reflections from Gail. Stock suspects.


Unexciting. Basic conversations between family members and between Gail and the detective.


First person POV from Gail. I mention the heightened tension, but I didn’t get a sense of urgency in the story. I did enjoy the excellent knowledge displayed by the author. She know her horses and any story with animals gets a second look from me. There are tense problems as the tense shifts to present without warning for no reason and stays present for awhile. Unnecessary profanity. Too much reflection time and not enough mystery. I wasn’t enthused about the ending as the solution didn’t wow me.

With the tense errors and the lack of punch, I have to give this a ranking of:

Camouflage Belt




Posted on September 9, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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