As an old tourism ad once noted, "America borders on the magnificent," and this week, our neighbors to the North have a magnificent reason to celebrate -- it's Freedom to Read Week in Canada. This year's theme of self-censorship is an interesting one for bloggers to consider, and anyone's celebration of reading freedom is reason enough for a party in the Turf Luck stacks.
As a nod to the rather mysterious and romantic nature of freedom, all of the titles below are novels from the Mystery and Romance sections of your local library.
Dead Heat by William Murray. Yes, I love William Murray, and I still mourn his death last March. I found Dead Heat, his final novel, one of his best, focusing on a female jockey with a troubled past, a depressed trainer, and gruff jock's agent/horseplayer at Santa Anita. Perhaps they don't sound all that appealing, but Murray's characters are always the best part of his books; he has a knack for making even the most outlandish character (like a retired mob enforcer at Sanat Anita)seem real. And the trackside scenes all ring true.
Dead Man's Touch by Kit Ehrman. I'm not much of a mystery fan, but the Steve Cline mysteries by Ehrman always keep me reading. There's a good bit of action, and the character of young Cline is rather appealing. The life around the backside is described vividly; in Dead Man's Touch, Steve's a hotwalker at a Maryland track looking into alleged horse-doping for a friend.
Hugger Mugger by Robert Parker. Spencer, P.I. investigates horse shootings at a farm in Georgia. Spencer's sidekick, Hawk, is absent from this one, and here at the Quinella Castle, we found the ending weak.
A Killing at the Track by Janet Dawson. Jeri Howard, private investigator, looks into threats, then actual murders, at a California track. Amazingly detailed geography in this one, considering that the track is fictional. Not a great read, but any character who can hit the exacta now and then is ok by me.
Legacy by Jayne Ann Krentz. Despite the fact that Krentz was once a librarian, I couldn't make it through this "web of deception ... and desire" set at Santa Anita. Still, your mileage may vary.
True Betrayals by Nora Roberts. Unlikely tale of a young woman who learns that her dead mother is actually alive and running a horse farm in Virginia after serving time in prison for murder. To get to know her murdering mom, Kelsey stays on at the horse farm, where she falls for the handsome owner of the neighboring farm. Conveniently, both mom and the handsome neighbor have colts in the hunt for the Triple Crown.
So, while you wait for that next Derby prep race, I encourage you to pop the cork on the bubbly, pick up a book, and exercise your freedom to read.