Shortly before seven, a police car pulled down the lane and jerked to a halt between the barns. As the officer climbed out and grabbed a clipboard off the dash, a dirt-streaked white Taurus parked alongside the grain bin. I answered questions that had become increasingly familiar in the past two weeks, while the driver of the Taurus popped the trunk and levered himself out of his car. He wasn’t in uniform, and judging by the equipment he’d hefted onto the asphalt, I guessed he was a technician of some sort. When he joined us, carrying a black duffel bag with HCPD stenciled on the side in one hand and a heavy-looking aluminum case in the other, we walked into the barn.
I glanced over my shoulder when one of them whistled.
The uniformed cop adjusted his mirrored sunglasses. “How many horses you got in this place?”
“In both barns, one hundred and ninety three.”
He whistled again, then grinned at his partner. “Look like they’re in jail, don’t they?”
The plainclothes cop didn’t respond, and I wondered what was eating him. We stopped at the tack room door.
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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