Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Book Review: Death by Equine by Annette Dashofy

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and characters in a fun setting
Cons: Uneven start; police not believing Jessie
The Bottom Line:
Dead vet at the track
A compelling mystery
For fans old and new

Tragic Accident or Murder?

With all the murder mysteries I read, I always enjoy it when an author comes up with a new murder method.  That’s definitely the case in Annette Dashofy’s stand-alone Death by Equine.  Yes, as the title suggests, the murder weapon this time around is a horse.

Veterinarian Jessie Cameron has agreed to fill in for her mentor, Doc Lewis, at Riverview Racetrack so Doc can take a much-deserved two-week vacation.  However, the night before Doc is supposed to leave, he is killed by one of the horses at the track.  Jessie’s work at the track makes her begin to question the supposed accident that killed Doc.  Could there be more to it than the police are seeing?  The more Jessie investigates, the more she begins to see her mentor in a different light.  Did she really know the man?  What secret she is uncovering led to his death?

If you’ve read any of Annette’s Zoe Chambers mysteries, it’s obvious how much she loves horses, so this setting for the mystery isn’t a big surprise at all.  I am not a horse or a horse racing enthusiast, but I enjoyed learning more about that world as the mystery unfolded.

I did feel that the book took a little while to get going, or maybe it’s just the impatience of knowing that Doc was murdered (or we wouldn’t have a book) before Jessie got there.  I’m probably just being overly picky here, especially since Jessie uncovers plenty of secrets and motives before the story ends and I was hooked for most of the book.  The climax is wonderfully suspenseful and kept me turning pages.

While cops not believing the main character is a trope of the amateur detective novel, I did roll my eyes a few times at the police here.  The evidence that Jessie was uncovering and the events that were happening seemed very obviously connected to a murder.  Then again, it gave Jessie motive to continue investigating Doc’s death.

The characters were wonderful, which is no surprise to anyone familiar with Annette Dashofy’s other books.  She always creates strong characters.  Not only does this help us love Jessie, but it means that the suspects keep us from figuring out what exactly is going on.

If you are already a fan of Annette’s books, you pretty much know what to expect here content wise.  There is a smattering of foul language and the opening chapter is a tad more violent than a cozy would be.  However, that is in keeping with her other books.  I’ve described her other books as cozy adjacent and traditional, and that’s the case again here.

Death by Equine is a fun novel.  Fans of Annette Dashofy will enjoy it, and if you have been meaning to read one of her books, this is a great place to jump in.  You’ll find herself a new fan of this author by the time you are done.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Mark! And I actually agree with your comments about the cops. This was written well before my others and, while it has been revised and revised and revised, I still see my mystery-newbie self in its pages. I'm very glad you enjoyed it.


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