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Paperback Dark Horse Book

ISBN: 0752849603

ISBN13: 9780752849607

Dark Horse

(Book #1 in the Elena Estes Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

$4.69

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Thriller and page-turner!

What a treat -- we get to learn a little bit about Tami Hoag in this book that is set in a show horse arena in Florida. Hoag has competed in dressage, a specialized type of horse competition that appears to be more like horse ballet. Dressage is a terrific and competitive sport -- I've seen them perform. The horses appear to fly! Hoag brings her love for and skill in dressage into this book and even uses some of her own horses' names in the book. Elena Estes, the main character, plays an ex-cop who would rather disappear into the competition than live her life coping with being responsible for another officer to lose his life in a drug bust gone bad. She works to put the pieces of her life together and is helped when 12-year-old Molly Seabright asks her to come find her sister, Erin, who has been missing for a week. Estes wants to opt out but ends up intrigued in the disappearance, which turns out to be a kidnapping. On the same day Molly visits Elena, a $250,000 horse mysteriously dies from an overdose of a sedative. As Estes digs further into the case, a horse groom, like Erin, is killed by having her face pushed into horse manure. Whoa, horse! Meanwhile, everybody looks guilty as Estes interviews people at the horse arena while trying to look like an innocent, rich girl like all the others running the competition. She fools most and finds herself in a world of hurt as the killer stalks her. The ending is such a delight. You have to read this one to believe it! Great job to Tami for a wonderful read and great, believable characters. Horse sportsmanship is far from dull!

Great book!

What a great book....the heroine in this story is one of the best drawn characters I've read in ages. Great mystery.

Intense suspense with the horsey set

This novel is set in Palm Beach during the winter horseshow season. The horse set is known for all kinds of extremes and many are found here. The main character, Elena Estes, is a former detective. As a narcotics officer, a bad decision cost a colleague his life, and she lost her job, her self esteem, her looks, and sometimes, she thinks, her sanity. After months in the hospital and rehab, she takes refuge in her first love, horses. Her childhood friend and fellow rebel against well to do parents owns a successful horse farm and needs someone to work a few of his horses. He allows her to stay in his guest house. A young girl, seeing her picture in a horse publication, identified as a private investigator, tries to hire her to find her missing sister.This is a very well developed novel. In the beginning, I felt little sympathy for Elena. The author makes you identify with her feelings for herself. As her self confidence and sense of self worth improve, so does the reader's opinion of Elena. Combine this with a really good mystery, and this is one of the best books I have read this year.

Perfect for High Level Equestrians

To start: I am an equestrian. I ride jumpers in the Chicago area and spend 3 months of every winter in West Palm Beach and Tampa to show my horse. I write this review as a national level equestrian to other national level equestrians. If you do not fit this description, this review will most likely not be of any assistance to you at all.Personally, I don't read much of the category most people title "Beach Books," and the stuff Tami Hoag writes seems to fit that picture. I wasn't even going to read this book, but a friend of mine who rides with my trainer convinced me it was worth it. She was right.Dark Horse takes place in West Palm Beach on the Wellington Equestrian Festival show grounds. There is a cornucopia of shady characters in this book, and I suppose an average reader would find it unbelievable or even ludicrous, but anyone familiar with the microcosm of West Palm or any part of the USEF hunter/jumper show circuit will not find this unconvincing. The plot involves a horse murdered for insurance and the kidnapping of a girl who knew the truth about the animal's death. Names of certain jumper trainers in the Chicago area and numerous multimillionaires come to mind. Anyone who thinks of "the Sandman" as someone besides a character in a fairytale will believe this plot. Now, like I said, I don't read this sort of thing, but the author portrays her West Palm setting perfectly, depicting all parts of the show grounds to a tee. I loved it for its accuracy, if nothing else. This review is not intended to explain the book to you -- read the official description for that -- but it is intended to encourage all hunter/jumper riders to read it. Dressage people, too -- the main character is a dressage rider. This book also contains a great deal of accuracy. Robert Dover is mentioned and even the drama at Cellular Farms a few years back is referenced. The primary jumper trainer in the novel is hauntingly similar to a certain Chicago trainer... So please, read it if you are any kind of a horse person, even if you hate this sort of book or all books in general. It is worth it. For those of you who do not ride, I cannot say whether to read it or not.

Another great novel

Tami Hoag is probably (alongside Ruth Rendell) my very favourite female author. I love her plots, i love the way she sometimes mixes romance and suspense, i love her range (she's written everything from straight-romance to serial killer novels) i love her punchy writing style (she can come up with some really glittering sentences) and, most of all, i love the way she draws her characters as realistic, fully realised people. This novel tells the story of a simple kidnapping, which evolves into something altogether more sinister and complex. The heroine is one Elena Estes, an ex-cop who, once upon a time, made a bad decision that cost a colleauge his life. She has retreated to the world she knew before, the world of horse rearing which she so loves. But then, one day, a young girl comes to ask her for help, and Estes finds herself unable to refuse, drawn into a web of intrigue and crime which depresses her, but that she feels must be fought against. Estes is a brilliant character...(this is Hoag's first novel in the first person, and it works very well, by the way. Some authorsd find the transition ahrd...Hoag has found the way with ease.) She is likeable, quirky, and extremely entertaining throught the adventure. She more than makes up for the intense unlikeableness of many of the other characters. Another wonderful (and moving) aspect of this book is the delightful youngster Molly Seabright, sister of the missing girl. She is a wonderful, wonderful presence and brightens the book in every single scene in which she appears. She is brilliantly and emotioanlly. Her innocence contrasts frighteningly with the darkness and crulety of many of the other characters and events. (In fact, some may find that there are a few too many unpleasant characters in this novel, and would prefer some more nice, likeable ones. At times it would have been great to have a few more nice people to read about, instead of the selfish and insular indivudals which populate this novel). However, these nasty characters all help to create a sense of fear and tension which fairly ratchets up, and towards the end blossoms with a sense of inevitable awfulness about to occur. I will admit that no, this is not Tami Hoag's best book (i myself will always think that that is "Cry Wolf", a masterpiece of a story) it's not even second or third, but it still gets five stars, which can only demonstrate the sublime quality of her books. The plot is complex and interesting, it is easy to understand, despite its complexity, there are some hreat characters and some nice twists to the story (particularly the one at the end...) which help keep it fresh and interesting. Her writing style is quirky and brilliant, eminently readable and entertaining. This novel is original (giving insights into the world of horse-rearing) and always manages to sustain interest by the fact that Hoag explores many plot-paths, (as she always does to marvellous effect and enjoyability, helping to build a multi-layered an
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