Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Challenges: Finishing the Series Reading Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
Jeff Hinkley, investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, has been seconded to the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency (FACSA) where he has been asked to find a mole in their organization—an informant who is passing on confidential information to those under suspicion in American racing. At the Kentucky Derby, Jeff joins the FACSA team in a raid on a horse trainer’s barn at Churchill Downs, but the bust is a disaster, and someone ends up dead. Then, on the morning of the Derby itself, three of the most favored horses in the field fall sick.
These suspicious events can be no coincidence. In search of answers, Jeff goes undercover as a groom on the backstretch at Belmont Park racetrack in New York. But he discovers far more than he was bargaining for: corrupt individuals who will stop at nothing—including murder—to capture the most elusive prize in world sport, the Triple Crown.
The Triple Crown, the grand prize, the ultimate achievement, of American Thoroughbred racing. While I don't watch it on TV anymore, I always enjoy books set at or around these prestigious races. It was inevitable that one of the Francis men, Dick or his son Francis, would tackle and it turns out that Felix took on that challenge.
Jefferson Hinkley is going through an emotional crisis. His girlfriend left him and his work no longer satisfies him; his boss is worried he will quit. So when Jefferson's presence is requested in the US to help with an investigation into horse drugging, both he and his boss jump at the chance. Over the next five weeks Jefferson goes undercover at the stable of one of the Triple Crown contenders.
The story was slow, not a lot of action, and the horse details, especially about a groom's work, were sometimes tedious. The mystery was convoluted, some of the actions made no sense, and the director of the American agency that brought Hinkley over was portrayed as incredibly incompetent. Now, the story wasn't all bad. Although the detail could be tedious, I enjoyed getting an up close look at American Thoroughbred racing and the similarities and differences to British racing. Hinkley was clever and sneaky and there were some twists to the story, especially the ending. The story wasn't compelling, but it was pleasant enough.