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Bullet Work

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Steve O'Brien

"They lived for that one chance; the chance to get home first. They waited for that one second. For that moment when they broke into the clear down the home stretch, and no one was going to catch them. Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing, … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Steve O'Brien
Publisher: A & N Publishing
1 review about Bullet Work

Wonderful Horses. Well-told mystery

  • Mar 21, 2011

I know next to nothing about horses, only what I learned from an early addiction to Dick Francis mysteries, which I read for fun, not racing form. This week I read Bullet Work by Steve O’Brien. This novel tells quite a bit about how horses are bought, sold, trained, stabled and raced; I’ll probably not remember the details any better than I did before. But I will remember the young horse-whisperer AJ and his uncanny ability. It’s a skill that annoys those who see the limping boy as an invader on their turf, fear of the unknown perhaps inspiring their determination to make the unknown afraid. I’ll remember Aly Dancer too. And I’ll confess my heart did beat faster as I watched her race. They’re neither of them the protagonist in this tale, but they’re powerful characters leaving a lasting impression.
Author Steve O’Brien builds a very convincing racetrack in Bullet Work, and peoples it with plausible, sometimes wonderful, characters, both equine and human. There’s Dan, the lawyer who owns horses. There’s Jake who trains them and struggles to make ends meet. There’s Ginny the money-lender, AJ the crippled boy, young jockey Kyle waiting for his break, cops and race-track-owners and more, not to mention Aly Dancer and her friends. But someone, somewhere in this world of horse-lovers, is hurting the majestic beasts in the name of money.
The author fills in details of horse-racing and makes me care about them, at least for now, so I don’t skip paragraphs of explanation even though the temptation’s there. He tells a thrilling mystery too, with danger, tension, investigation, suspicion and very believable dialog. Is the story about horse-racing, about solving the mystery, or about relationships? Perhaps it’s all three. It works. It leaves the reader drawing a breath of joy tinged with sadness. And the final message, “We all have a gift,” is one we’d do well to remember—Steve O’Brien’s Bullet Work is definitely a good read and I enjoyed it.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Rebecca at Cadence marketing in exchange for an honest review.

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