Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Independent on 11 June 2011
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Kurt MacKinnon was a great cop but he has moved on to be a very successful horse trainer. When his ex-partner Connor dies while investigating something dodgy in the horse industry, Kurt tries to find out what went wrong. His knowledge of horse racing ought to give him an inside edge. A little more subtlety with the title would have been fantastic as it spoilt the story. Kurt was a bit of an oddity as a hero. He was supposed to be a confident, successful trainer but it often came across as arrogant or immature and his investigation as fairly transparent. He provoked the main suspect time and time again and then got his feelings hurt when the person retaliated. It seemed as if he used Julie’s innocence to his advantage in their relationship and professionally so I found it hard to relate to him at all.
Julie might have been an adult but she was written as a naive teenager. She is trying to make a name for herself as a rider and so is willing to ride mistreated animals and tolerate abuse from trainers. She clearly has talent but has to fight against gender discrimination to get decent mounts. Her youth is shown when she drinks to excess the night before a big race (a big no-no) and her desperation when she chooses to ride while injured.
A lot of thought was put into representing the horse racing world and to be honest, it wasn’t pretty. Pettersen dealt with the serious issue of animal abuse but I found it upsetting that none of the characters reported the abuser to authorities or really tried to stop it. Kurt freed one horse which ought to have been a heart-warming moment but ultimately gave the criminal the funds to purchase another horse and do the same thing again. For someone who was an ex-cop, surely he would have been aware of animal cruelty laws? Likewise, the race officials turned a blind eye.
While I appreciated the world-building, I thought Kurt was just a bit too much of a bully and Julie just a bit too fragile for a relationship between the two to come across as sweet.