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Larry King called William Murray "the USA's Dick Francis, only funnier," and critics everywhere have praised his novels starring Shifty Lou Anderson, horse player and closeup magician. Now Shifty is back in a fast-paced mystery that moves from the gamblers' mecca of Las Vegas to the bluegrass of Kentucky, from the elegance of the Turf Club to the paddocks and stables where the dreams are born.
As We're Off to See the Killer begins, Shifty heads home from a magic gig in Vegas after Charlie Pickard, his horse trainer buddy, has a heart attack. Charlie is desperate not to lose his prized contract with the owner of Clarendon Farms, the Kentucky stable that has entrusted him with a once-in-a-lifetime colt named Old Roman. Convinced the two-year-old will take him all the way to the Breeders' Cup at last, Charlie persuades Shifty to handle things around the track for a while.
But when a series of mishaps and a suspicious murder seem to hint at a mysterious connection between some Vegas high rollers and East Coast money, Shifty can no longer ignore what doesn't add up. Why do the odds always go down just before certain Clarendon horses run? And what's with this new jockey he's been ordered to put up on good horses, but who's so slippery he just misses the winner's circle every time - then blames his mounts?
Tempted beyond reason by May, a sexy lady groom who's determined to give him the ride of his life, Shifty finds himself dangerously distracted from the dirty business at the track - until he realizes what the price of seduction might be. Drawn into a shadowy world of money laundering and sexual enslavement, small-time hoods and world-class villains, dangerous liaisons and fatal consequences, Shifty struggles to uncover the truth behind a deadly scam. But the more he learns, the better he understands that death wears many disguises - and somewhere close by the killer always waits.
We're Off to See the Killer is an irresistible read by an author who truly knows the addictive, high-risk racing world-where bettors dream of faster women, older whiskey, and winning tickets.
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Lackluster seventh outing for gambler/magician Shifty Lou Anderson (the excellent The King of the Nightcap, 1989, etc.), now spending a few months watching over the stables while horse trainer Charlie Pickard recovers from bypass surgery and trying to make sense of horse owner Roger Baldwin's insistence on having smarmy jockey Daryl Spencer up on his ponies. The Vegas Sports Books go crazy, and it's obvious that dirty dealing (money laundering?) is going on. Meanwhile, a small-time hustler, a phone-for-sex girl, and a repulsive goon die as Shifty scrutinizes track tote boards and ogles the lewd activities staged by Baldwin associate Gene Aramis and his heavy-betting, sultry pal Alma (who steals Shifty's most recent love, May, from him). There'll be two horse calamities- -and more--but Shifty will still handicap a few Del Mar winners before things wrap up. Magic tricks and quirky characters galore, but Shifty's soured romance makes him testy company. Moreover, there's surprisingly loose--and dull--writing from the usually adroit Murray, whose plot this time around runs well out of the money. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Shifty Lou Anderson, professional magician and obsessed horseplayer, always has a trick or two up his sleeve where, in this, his seventh adventure, he also wears his heart. But by the time the story ends, Shifty will have once again proved his "inability to commit to any living creature without a saddle on its back," as Murray demonstrates anew his acute ear and eye for racing's argot and characters while avoiding the merely Runyonesque. Shifty becomes assistant to ailing Los Angeles trainer Charlie Pickard, narrowly escapes having his nimble fingers broken, loses his girlfriend, stablehand May Potter, and gets involved in a banking scam that uses the track and Charlie's employer's horses to launder huge sums of money headed to Balkan ethnic cleansers. "Corruption is an American specialty and cheating is a national pastime," Shifty muses. He has always kept himself clean, however, and does so again in this tale that may fall a notch below the earlier I'm Getting Killed Right Here , but is still full of flavor and Shifty's gallant, galloping spirit.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Doubleday. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0385470355 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW33.2101135
Book Description Doubleday, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0385470355
Book Description Doubleday, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st - may be Reissue. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0385470355n