I strolled down the wide cobblestone steps to the water’s edge. Exhaust fumes mingled with an underlying odor of stagnant water, while above my head, seagulls swooped and cried, ever watchful for a handout. I squinted at a distant sailboat as it skimmed silently over water that sparkled under the winter sun and thought how appearances could be deceiving. Up close, where the waves lapped against the bulkhead, the greasy white body of a fish floated between rotting pieces of lumber and the plastic rings from a six-pack. The water was coated with an oily film, and I wondered how anything could live down there.
I walked past one of the pavilions that had been boarded up for the season. Tacked alongside the entrance, its faded corners curling back onto itself, was a poster announcing a performance by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The event itself had long since come and gone, and if my sister hadn’t up and moved to California, her attendance would have been a sure bet. I had spent countless hours listening to her music filter through the bedroom wall as she worked her way through a piece, her brow furrowed with concentration, the smooth wood of the violin tucked under her chin.
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REVIEWS . . .
"It's amazing what horses can do for a mystery. Kit Ehrman's debut novel, AT RISK, reeks of authen-ticity, and the hunters and jumpers that are boarded at this no-frills garage have personality to burn. When seven of these horses are stolen in the dead of night, Stephen Cline, the 21-year-old barn manager . . . in the honored tradition of a Dick Francis hero, vows to track down the thieves..."
~ The New York Times
"The smart money could make the unusually likable protagonist a favorite in the Francis Stakes."
"Both horse lovers and crime fans who've never stepped into a stirrup will relish Ehrman's riveting debut . . . Ehrman treads Dick Francis territory with a sure foot [and] has created a mem-orable cast. With his youthful zeal and perseverance, Steve Cline makes a captivating hero and sleuth, one readers will be eager to see again."
"At best, only a small fraction of first novels turn out to be first in a series (why assume that success for AT RISK?) The over-arching reason is that its author is thoughtful and clever, as well as skilled. Ehrman's writing is unob-trusively crisp . . . The plot is intricate, intriguing, and solid in the best tra-ditional style . . ." (see the complete review-->)
~ The Drood Review
"AT RISK by Kit Ehrman is suspense on steroids and one of the best debut novels to hit the crime literature racetrack since Dennis Lehane's A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR. Clear ample shelf space for a Steve Cline series because Ehrman, a real-life horse farmer, has hit for the literary trifecta."
~ Andrew McAleer of Austin Layman's Crimestalker Casebook
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