A stud manager at a broken-down farm in Ireland, ex-con Mickey Brennan learns that he must soon guard Sansovino, the most sought-after stallion of his time. By the author of The Devil to Pay. 10,000 first printing. $10,000 ad/promo.
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A jockey-trainer with a checkered past returns home to Ireland and the farm that was once his family's--only to enter a world more compromised and compromising than he is. Months after his release from prison after he ran down a pedestrian in a drugged stupor, Micky Brennan still can't make a living hawking vitamin supplements for his former mounts. But he's none too eager to take a job with Cathy Kramer--the crippled matriarch who bought Ballysheenan after his father lost the money to keep it together. So he diverts himself on the job by falling in love with Cathy's unhorsey niece Jenny Farlow and by planning an ingenious betting coup: he'll buy Martindale, a hack with an operable brain tumor, and enter the horse under a roundabout series of substitutions that will keep his identity and his links to Ballysheenan secret. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing: IRA extortionists--headed by courtly, plausible Colonel Murphy--demand protection money from Cathy, threatening her prize stud Sansovin if she refuses. She refuses anyway, and Micky, who'd like nothing better than for her to come to her senses and pay them off, spends months walking a tightrope between his loyalty to his stable and his fervent desire to avoid violence. Using his old Republican friend Fergal Doherty as a go-between, he arranges to cut the blackmailers in on his scheme to race Martindale if they'll drop their demands for cash--but they make it clear that if anything goes wrong with the scheme, they'll be back for an extra pound of flesh. Daniel's skill here in playing off multiple levels of corruption and compromise allows him to kick over the Dick Francis traces that hobbled his The Devil to Pay (1993): a superior horseracing suspenser. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
This atmospheric mystery outdoes even the Dick Francis tales in its density of horse lore, but it fails to keep up a page-turning pace. Daniel ( The Devil to Pay ) slowly and cryptically reveals the events that have led to-the-manor-born Micky Brennan to his lowly position as a horse trainer at a farm in rural Ireland. There the owner's best asset, the breeding prowess of Sansovino, is endangered by blackmailers who may or may not have a political agenda. In the same way that his dad squandered his fortune, Micky has tossed his life away in a bad marriage, illegal substances and finally a prison term for vehicular manslaughter. Released, he tries selling animal feed supplements but is mainly cold-shouldered by old pals. Then he links up with the American woman who owns the old Brennan estate. Micky knows horses, he knows the land and he needs a job. He can't walk away when his boss determines to stand up to the blackmailers, who present the test of will that Micky must pass if he is to have any chance of redemption. Much fine crime fiction has recently been exported from Ireland, including John Brady's All Souls and Thomas Adcock's hallucinatory Drown All the Dogs . Daniel's characters are equally colorful, and his language suitably evocative. But his tale falls short of suspense, his moral imperatives are crudely hammered into place, and the crime itself seems curiously underpowered.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Arrow, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 99846705
Book Description Arrow, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099846705