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Dead Heat by William Murray Dead Heat by William Murray

Dead Heat is a story of obsessions--of people driven to pursue their dreams and their desires at whatever cost. The haunted young woman who shows up one day outside the horse trainer, Jake Fontana's tack room at the Santa Anita racetrack is not merely looking for work, but has an agenda: she wants to become a great race rider.

Outside Chance by Lyndon Stacey Outside Chance by Lyndon Stacey

Doggedly chasing the truth, a journalist finds himself physically and psychologically tested as he uncovers a tale of prejudice, ambition and heartbreak.

Blind Switch by John McEvoy Blind Switch by John McEvoy

One-time amateur boxer Jack Doyle, an irreverent and rebellious advertising account representative, goes to work one fine Chicago day and finds his desk and his job both gone. A two-time loser at the marriage game as well, Doyle, usually ultra-confident, fishes himself out of a bottle to take stock, realizing, "with a thumping finality, that Life sure as hell did have his number and was crunching it." At loose ends, Doyle accepts a most unusual offer from an acquaintance, Moe Kellman, "furrier to the Mob," to fix a horse race. The context of making the deal, a Cubs game at storied Wrigley Field, sets the tone for the drama that follows. Thus begins a chain of events that will lead the FBI to Doyle's door where they "coopt" him into a quest after people who are maiming or killing thoroughbred horses for their insurance values. Their number one target is a loathsome media mogul who can't bear to loseat anything. Built upon recent factual events, spiced with satire and peppered throughout with engaging loonies, Blind Switch is a noteworthy first novel with a hero forced to ask in its ultimate line, "Where have I gone right?"

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK 'ONE OF THE PREMIER NOVELISTS OF HER GENERATION, possessed of a mastery of craft and an uncompromising vision that grow more powerful with each book . . . Racing's eclectic mix of classes and personalities provides Smiley with fertile soil . . . Expertly juggling storylines, she investigates the sexual, social, psychological, and spiritual problems of wealthy owners, working-class bettors, trainers on the edge of financial ruin, and, in a typically bold move, horses.' --The Washington Post Chosen by the Los Angeles Times as One of the Best Books of the Year.

Dark Horse by Bill Shoemaker Dark Horse by Bill Shoemaker

World-famous jockey-turned-mystery writer Bill Shoemaker is back in the winner's circle with his newest racing mystery that begins and ends with the Triple Crown, the most famous and lucrative trio of races in the Thoroughbred business. . . . At the Kentucky Derby, amateur sleuth Coley Killebrew discovers that prize race horses confiscated in drug busts are being undervalued and sold at auction. And no less a personage than Jim Carmody, a ruthless billionaire and arch-conservative powermonger, is involved. Carmody blows his stack when his filly, For Cupid's Sake, loses the Derby. But after an upset at the Preakness, Coley suspects that Carmody's passion for racing is a cover for a far deeper, far darker game.

Fire Horse by Bill Shoemaker Fire Horse by Bill Shoemaker

Straight from the Winners Circle, the greatest jockey of all time draws on his vast experiences on and off the track to spin this suspenseful mystery starring jockey-turned-sleuth Coley Killebrew. . . . It all starts when Johnny Rousseau, Coley's partner in the Horses Neck Bar and Grill, finds himself saddled with a little problem named Paula Dresner. Gorgeous, rich, and spoiled rotten, Paula has Johnny twisted around her manicured little finger--but he's not too love-blind to see that she's gotten herself mixed up in some very suspicious business. Coley follows her trail, and it leads him to some peculiar racetrack photos, cut-rate hoodlums making secret nocturnal shipments of high-priced thoroughbreds . . .and murder. As Coley begins to put the pieces together, things get hotter and hotter. It's a fire that may consume some of the finest horses in the country. And Coley, too.

At Risk by Kit Ehrman At Risk by Kit Ehrman

Dick Francis could well have written this adrenaline-charged novel set in Maryland’s rich horse country where Steve Cline seems, at 21, much too young to be in charge of a major stable. His skills and stamina are sorely tested when he’s hijacked early one morning along with some of his horses. His escape turns him into a killer’s target in an environment where everyone courts risks...

Dead Man's Touch by Kit Ehrman Dead Man's Touch by Kit Ehrman

What do you do when everything you've held to be true, when your entire life, in fact, turns out to be a lie? Do you run away? Start over? Create a new truth? This is the dilemma faced by what twenty-two-year old Stephen Cline. Bruised in body and psyche from his adventures in At Risk, Steve gets another blow in Dead Man's Touch, the sudden death of his estranged father in an automobile accident. At the funeral, Steve's disgruntled older brother calls him a bastard and means it. Literally. Steve, he reveals, is the product of an affair. Confronting his socialite mother, Steve learns that his real father is a horse trainer, Christopher J. Kessler.

Curiosity gets the best of Steve, who's on leave from his job at Foxdale stables, so he heads for the Maryland track where he can find Kessler. The trainer soon notices that Steve is shadowing him and accuses Steve of working for a group of men intent on pressuring him to throw select races in a lucrative race-fixing scam. When Kessler learns that he's a father and Steve is his son, he recruits Steve to work undercover at his training barn to thwart the fix by discovering who's been doping the most promising horses.

As Steve settles in, he gets caught up in the unique lifestyle inherent to the backside. Everyone who works there lives and breathes it the hopes and the dreams along with the shattering disappointments until the work itself becomes a way of life. For a man recovering his health, and his courage after an earlier brush with the kind of toughs who can make a life with horses a nightmare, the backside is an inspiration.

But it is not a life without peril—some men are willing to do anything to get the right horse under the wire first. Anything from threats to violence to murder. As Steve puts pressure on the bad guys, a young woman is found dead in a horse's stall, and Steve becomes the prime suspect in her murder. He must now discover the ringleader's identity to keep from being put in jail, or worse, in the ground.

Cold Burn by Kit Ehrman

Steve Cline has managed the hunter/jumper show barns at Foxdale Farm for the better part of three years. But he has a deal with himself: When he no longer feels challenged, when the routine becomes stagnant, he will look for another job...and he passed that point months ago. So when Corey Claremont, one of Foxdales boarders, asks Steve for help because her brother has gone missing, Steve embraces the puzzle with enthusiasm.

Two weeks earlier, for no apparent reason, Bruce Claremont quit his job working the night shift on a thoroughbred breeding farm in Warrenton, Virginia, and vanished. To find out what happened, Steve slips unobtrusively into Bruces world.

The more Steve learns, the more he suspects that Corey may never see her brother again. Secrets, jealousies, and obsessions are the norm in this pastoral setting, and the present seems to be repeating its fiery past.

The Dick Francis Complete Treasury of Great Racing Stories The Dick Francis Complete Treasury of Great Racing Stories

From his extensive experience as a Steeplechase rider, he and John Welcome 'a fellow best-selling writer' have gathered 28 of the most classic horse racing stories around. The authors range from Arthur Conan Doyle and Beryl Markham to John Taintor Foote and Francis himself. Damon Runyon's 'Pick the Winner' introduces us to the unforgettable, ironically named Hot Horse Herbie and his ever-loving fiancée, Miss Cutie Singleton. In her 'Pullinstown', Molly Keane brilliantly evokes racing among the Anglo-Irish gentry. Horse loving readers will definitely judge this a winner.

The New Treasury of Great Racing Stories by Dick Francis The New Treasury of Great Racing Stories by Dick Francis
Dick Francis Treasury of Great Racing Stories Dick Francis Treasury of Great Racing Stories

The master thriller writer and world-renowned champion steeplechase rider has selected these fourteen classics of short fiction to represent the most enthralling of all stories about horse-racing. Inside, you'll find a stableful of thrills and a few surprises from such famous authors as Arthur Conan Doyle and J.P. Marquand, Beryl Markham and John Galsworthy, Sherwood Anderson and Edgar Wallace. Brimming with color, excitement and atmosphere, here are compelling tales of dreams and treachery, horses and horseplay, Holmes and Watson, love and death, and a full complement of riders, rogues, and the fascinating royalty of the turf.

Kentucky Rich by Fern Michaels Kentucky Rich by Fern Michaels

Nealy Coleman is no longer the troubled teenager who slipped away from home thirty years ago with her illegitimate child. She's now rich, sophisticated and renowned in the racing world. And she's come back to SunStar, her family's thoroughbred horse farm to confront the secrets of her past. Nealy's shocking return will change everything for her two brothers; for her daughter, Emmie; and for all the Thorntons and Colemans who have connections to SunStar.

Kentucky Heat by Fern Michaels Kentucky Heat by Fern Michaels

With Nealy, horses come first. So when her two grown children's irresponsible acts nearly cost her Shufly, the foal that carries all of her hopes for the Triple Crown, she throws them both off Blue Diamond Farm, an action that changes their future - and her own. To the world, Nealy looks unbreakable. Inside, her heart has shattered. Estranged from her daughter Emmie and son Nick, she struggles alone to build her racing stables into the best in Kentucky - and Shufly into the horse of the century. When Hatch Littletree, her ex-husband's law partner, pays an unexpected visit, he brings Nealy much-needed comfort. But he also brings turmoil.

Kentucky Sunrise by Fern Michaels Kentucky Sunrise by Fern Michaels

Kentucky Sunrise finds Nealy once again hellbent on producing a Derby winner and on showing the world that she's not a quitter. Newly married to lawyer Hatch Littletree, and with her daughter Emmie running the family's famous stables, Blue Diamond Farms, Nealy should finally be content. But returning to Blue Diamond Farms for a family reunion sends Nealy reeling. Emmie has let the farm slide, and she has picked a small, gutsy colt to send to the Derby - a nice horse, but clearly the wrong one. Suddenly Nealy is back in the game, ready to prove she's not too old to back a winner - even if it means taking on another colt as her personal project.

All Hat by Brad Smith All Hat by Brad Smith

Just out of prison for attacking the man who assaulted his sister, Ray Dokes heads back to the small town where he was raised. Vowing to lie low, he moves in with Pete Culpepper, a Texas cowboy who has always been a grounding influence on Ray, but whose debts are growing faster than his corn. Between roofing houses and watching Pete's nine-year-old gelding at the races, Ray soon develops a plan to con his sister's attacker, a local heir to an electronics fortune and a know-nothing horse breeder, out of a considerable chunk of money. Surprisingly poignant yet laugh- out-loud funny, All Hat tells a classic story of little guys fighting big guys and reaffirming the meaning of honesty and friendship--and second chances--in the process.

12 Miles to Paradise: A People Story About Horses & Horseracing by Ted Simendinger 12 Miles to Paradise: A People Story About Horses & Horseracing by Ted Simendinger

'12 Miles' is a multicultural ensemble comedy (a PG-13 story) that takes place primarily in South Florida, the Bahamas, and New Zealand. It is, above all, a people story that sits in front of horses and the horse business. '12 Miles' has a lot of interwoven messages and spins a laugh-out-loud yarn about how one seemingly ordinary horse can cause chaos and upheaval in the lives of everyone he comes into contact with simply by his insistent stubbornness on living his life his own way. The star of the story is Bonefish -- a gray gelding and wayward son of a former star racehorse who stubbornly refuses to race. The chaos Bopefish causes when he enters the lives of people from South Florida, Bimini (Bahamas), and both islands of New Zealand is both unpredictable and laugh-out-loud hilarious. The four principle female characters in the story (the self-proclaimed 'Posse') are all New Zealanders. The guys in the story are Americans. Destiny taps all on the shoulder and a spectacularly chaotic courtship process ensues. Bonefish, meanwhile, spends most of his time in the Bahamas resting under a palm tree while watching his owner, Anvil Sanders, build small wooden boats by hand. Regardless whether Bonefish is in South Florida or the Bahamas, how he lives his life changes the life of everyone around him -- including the islanders. '12 Miles' is ensemble storytelling at its romantic comedy finest. A good, positive, upbeat, creative tale with a happy ending.

Hex : A Ruby Murphy Mystery by Maggie Estep Hex : A Ruby Murphy Mystery by Maggie Estep

Having drifted through thirty-three years of life, Ruby Murphy has put down roots in a rootless place: Coney Island. A recovering alcoholic who is fanatical in her love for animals and her misanthropic friends, Ruby lives above a furniture store and works at the musty Coney Island Museum. One day, Ruby is on the subway heading into Manhattan when the train stalls between stations. An elegant blond woman with a scarred face strikes up a conversation, and a misunderstanding between the two women leads to an offer Ruby decides she can't refuse. The woman needs her boyfriend followed, and she thinks Ruby is the woman to do it and do it right. Ruby's life has been flat and painful lately. The Coney Island Museum isn't doing much business, Ruby's live-in boyfriend has moved out, and her best friend Oliver is battling cancer. Ruby agrees to follow the woman's boyfriend, Frank, a man who works at Belmont Racetrack and seems to hang out in odd places with bad company. Ruby soon finds herself pushed headfirst into horse racing's seamy underbelly. This is a dangerous world where nothing is as it appears, and people and horses seem to have limited life spans. When Ruby finds herself staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, she begins to have second thoughts. Only now it's far too late.

Stephen Dobyns
Saratoga Fleshpot: A Charlie Bradshaw Mystery by Stephen Dobyns Saratoga Strongbox : A Charlie Bradshaw Mystery Starring Victor Plotz by Stephen Dobyns

Another winner from the fast-paced racetrack mystery series that gives the reader a run for his money. 

The latest, and most entertaining installment yet, in this popular series features the return of Charlie Bradshaw's scheming alter ego Victor Plotz, 'without whom the world would be a much stuffier place' (The New York Times Book Review). Victor is as crooked as Charlie is straight, and he'll do anything to make a quick buck, including running up to Montreal to collect a suspicious suitcase for a miserly old man. But when he decides to farm the job out to a bumbling black belt accomplice, all hell breaks loose--and the fun begins. In a slapstick, sinister farce with an unforgettable cast that includes Vic's main squeeze, Rosemary, an Amazon stripper named Sheila, and two kneecapping thugs called Steel and Clover, Victor and Charlie embark on the trail of every deadly sin from dirty money to outright murder. Once again Charlie Bradshaw and his hapless henchmen provide what the Boston Sunday Globe calls 'jaunty and colorful, good tongue-in-cheek fun'--and what fans of the series have come to expect. Saratoga Trifecta: Saratoga Longshot/Saratoga Swimmer/Saratoga Headhunter by Stephen Dobyns
SARATOGA LONGSHOT
Charlie Bradshaw is spending his 41st birthday in New York, trying to track down Sam, the son of his great high school love. Sam has gotten himself involved in a big-time drug deal, and everyone -- from Sam to the New York cop on the case -- wishes Charlie would go back to Saratoga to do his sleuthing. 
But a combination of stubbornness and savvy -- to say nothing of Sam's enticing girlfriend -- keeps the small-town cop deep in the Big City mystery.

SARATOGA SWIMMER
Charlie Bradshaw is a regular, down-to-earth guy -- middle-aged, divorced, an ex-cop working as a security guard at a Saratoga stable. Then his boss gets killed. It shows Charlie what's behind those powerful and prestigious stable owners. 
But Charlie doesn't back off. Aided by a motley band of guards and grooms, racetrack touts and toughs, Charlie discovers a far-reaching plot behind the murder -- a discovery that just might cost him his life!

SARATOGA HEADHUNTER
The decapitation of a former jockey hiding out in his house is just the beginning of Charlie Bradshaw's troubles. 
An old man dies in a fire, murder finds a stable owner, Charlie's Volkswagen is blown to bits. And while tracking down the vicious killer, the ex-cop turned private eye must prove that he has no mob connections.
Saratoga Haunting by Stephen Dobyns Saratoga Backtalk by Stephen Dobyns Saratoga Snapper by Stephen Dobyns

With his detective agency facing hard times, Charlie Bradshaw moonlights as night manager at a Saratoga Springs hotel. Victor, his partner, snaps pictures of the happy tourists. But not all the tourists are happy with this self-styled Saratoga Snapper. 
When one
Out of Print - Limited Availability
If you like horse racing, mysteries and a good laugh, you'll LOVE these books by William Murray!
More Great Racing Fiction:
Dick Francis - Horse Racing Mysteries
Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell
72 book series (ideal for ages 9-12)
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