DEAD MAN’S TOUCH (Steve Cline Mysteries Book 2)

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What do you do when everything you’ve held to be true, when your entire life, in fact, turns out to be a lie? When 22-year-old Steve Cline learns that he’s illegitimate, and his real father is a race- horse trainer, he heads to the Maryland track. Steve’s father recruits him to work undercover in an effort to discover who’s been doping his most promising horses, and he quickly gets caught up in the unique lifestyle inherent to the backside. But it is not a life without peril because some men are willing to do anything to get the right horse under the wire first.

From Publishers Weekly
Still recovering from the physical and psychological bruises he received in his first outing, At Risk (2002), 22-year-old Steve Cline, barn manager of a Maryland horse farm, faces more trauma when his estranged father dies in a car accident in this chilling sequel from Ehrman. At the father’s funeral, Steven learns from his brother that he’s not the son of the man in the coffin, but rather the product of an affair. When Steve confronts his socialite mother, she confesses that his real father is horse trainer Christopher J. Kessler. Curious, Steve heads for the Maryland track to observe him until Kessler becomes suspicious and accuses Steve of being involved with the people who are pressuring him to throw races. When he learns that Steve is his son, Kessler hires him to work undercover at his training barn to find out who’s been drugging his most prized horses. With the determination, bravado and resilience of the young, Steve begins an investigation that will lead to two murders. From the labor-intensive work in the oppressive heat of a Maryland summer to the cockroach-infested living quarters of the help, Ehrman creates an authentic and vivid picture of the reality behind the glamour of the races. The bad guys may be a bit too obvious, but with its sensitively drawn characters and enchanting horses with unique personalities, this is sure to be a contender for the winner’s circle.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Review
Hidden away from the glittering stage of thoroughbred racing, with its flashing silks and gleaming horseflesh, is a place they call ”the backside.” In her second stable mystery, DEAD MAN’S TOUCH (Poisoned Pen Press, .95), Kit Ehrman refers to this behind-the-scenes area — where trainers, grooms, barn managers and stable hands minister around the clock to the needs of their high-strung charges — as ”a world unto itself.” Ehrman, who has worked at show barns and breeding farms, strikes a solid claim to this gritty territory with another heels-up thriller that takes up where Dick Francis left off. In the barn. Steve Cline, the young stable hand who made such a strong and sympathetic hero in ”At Risk,” searches out the father he never knew, a thoroughbred trainer at a Maryland racetrack, and signs on as a ”hot-walker,” a lowly exercise worker, when he discovers that someone has been fixing races by tampering with his father’s horses. In true Francis tradition, Steve takes plenty of physical punishment as a sleuth. But his undercover role also gives him the inside track on life as it’s lived on the backside, a grueling, even squalid existence that pays off in the chance to get close to the magnificent animals that have more character and heart than the two-footed fools who view them as a commodity. –Marilyn Stasio, NY Times — Review –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

“Ehrman, who gave us the well-received At Risk, has produced a second solid, diverting and apparently authentic equine mystery. Along the way we get enough details of the hard, smelly, underpaid life in that part of racing called–not without humor–the backside to make up for several screenings of Seabiscuit.” ~ The Chicago Tribune

“Dick Francis fans rejoice.” ~The Denver PostWhat do you do when everything you’ve held to be true, when your entire life, in fact, turns out to be a lie? When 22-year-old Steve Cline learns that he’s illegitimate, and his real father is a race- horse trainer, he heads to the Maryland track. Steve’s father recruits him to work undercover in an effort to discover who’s been doping his most promising horses, and he quickly gets caught up in the unique lifestyle inherent to the backside. But it is not a life without peril because some men are willing to do anything to get the right horse under the wire first.

From Publishers Weekly
Still recovering from the physical and psychological bruises he received in his first outing, At Risk (2002), 22-year-old Steve Cline, barn manager of a Maryland horse farm, faces more trauma when his estranged father dies in a car accident in this chilling sequel from Ehrman. At the father’s funeral, Steven learns from his brother that he’s not the son of the man in the coffin, but rather the product of an affair. When Steve confronts his socialite mother, she confesses that his real father is horse trainer Christopher J. Kessler. Curious, Steve heads for the Maryland track to observe him until Kessler becomes suspicious and accuses Steve of being involved with the people who are pressuring him to throw races. When he learns that Steve is his son, Kessler hires him to work undercover at his training barn to find out who’s been drugging his most prized horses. With the determination, bravado and resilience of the young, Steve begins an investigation that will lead to two murders. From the labor-intensive work in the oppressive heat of a Maryland summer to the cockroach-infested living quarters of the help, Ehrman creates an authentic and vivid picture of the reality behind the glamour of the races. The bad guys may be a bit too obvious, but with its sensitively drawn characters and enchanting horses with unique personalities, this is sure to be a contender for the winner’s circle.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Review
Hidden away from the glittering stage of thoroughbred racing, with its flashing silks and gleaming horseflesh, is a place they call ”the backside.” In her second stable mystery, DEAD MAN’S TOUCH (Poisoned Pen Press, .95), Kit Ehrman refers to this behind-the-scenes area — where trainers, grooms, barn managers and stable hands minister around the clock to the needs of their high-strung charges — as ”a world unto itself.” Ehrman, who has worked at show barns and breeding farms, strikes a solid claim to this gritty territory with another heels-up thriller that takes up where Dick Francis left off. In the barn. Steve Cline, the young stable hand who made such a strong and sympathetic hero in ”At Risk,” searches out the father he never knew, a thoroughbred trainer at a Maryland racetrack, and signs on as a ”hot-walker,” a lowly exercise worker, when he discovers that someone has been fixing races by tampering with his father’s horses. In true Francis tradition, Steve takes plenty of physical punishment as a sleuth. But his undercover role also gives him the inside track on life as it’s lived on the backside, a grueling, even squalid existence that pays off in the chance to get close to the magnificent animals that have more character and heart than the two-footed fools who view them as a commodity. –Marilyn Stasio, NY Times — Review –This text refers to the hardcover edition.

“Ehrman, who gave us the well-received At Risk, has produced a second solid, diverting and apparently authentic equine mystery. Along the way we get enough details of the hard, smelly, underpaid life in that part of racing called–not without humor–the backside to make up for several screenings of Seabiscuit.” ~ The Chicago Tribune

“Dick Francis fans rejoice.” ~The Denver Post