Ralston stepped closer and angled the beam across the siding. Even though we kept the arena floor watered down, the horses kicked up a lot of dust. Except for a few smudge marks at shoulder height, it looked like ten-years’ worth of dust and dirt coated the walls, and the spiders had been busy, too. I backed out of his way and pulled my coat collar up around my neck.
After a moment, he straightened and pocketed the flashlight, then walked behind the bleachers and paused alongside the large sliding door the students used to bring their horses into the arena. Because of the cold, it was open only a foot or two, just enough for a person to squeeze through.
He looked around. “Notice anything missing? Out of place?”
I scanned the area. Except for the bleachers and two fifty-five gallon drums we used for trash, the spectator space was empty. “No. Everything looks the way it always does.”
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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