Tuesday, December 9, 2014

High Stakes: A Jack Doyle Mystery-John McEvoy

High Stakes: A Jack Doyle Mystery
John McEvoy
Poisoned Pen, Dec 2 2014, $24.95
ISBN 9781464202766

FBI Agents Damon Tirabassi and Karen Engel contact former Chicago Golden Gloves champ Jack Doyle to help them with another case involving murdered race horses (see Blind Switch for their previous collaboration).  At Jack’s favorite greasy spoon, the Feds explain that retired horses are frequently given to veterinary schools; however an unknown fanatic vehemently opposed to the practice has performed several mercy killings.  They want Doyle to seek clues among his racing cronies at the track.

Just after their breakfast meeting, Doyle travels to Dublin to attend an award ceremony honoring his friend jockey Mickey Sheehan.  While still in Ireland, a frightened Sheila Hanratty informs Doyle that her husband Niall the bookmaker has suffered several questionable accidents; suspecting foul play, Jack investigates. Back in the States, affluent jailed convict Harvey Rexroth (see Blind Switch) seeks “justice” against the man who assisted the Feds in sending him up river.

The fifth Jack Doyle turf mystery (see Photo Finish, Close Call and The Significant Seven) is a terrific thriller with a strong trifecta of subplots enhanced by appealing horse racing tales.  If you don’t know Jack you are missing a treat summed up on the first page when the felon muses: “the lock had been easier to pick than Secretariat in a Fantasy League Race.”

Harriet Klausner

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