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Bullet Work by Steve O'Brien
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Bullet Work (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Steve O'Brien

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3012541,229 (3.4)1
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Title:Bullet Work
Authors:Steve O'Brien
Info:A & N Publishing (2011), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 349 pages
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Bullet Work by Steve O'Brien (2011)

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I've enjoyed most of Dick Francis' books, and a lot of other mysteries, so this struck me as a good fit. I found, however, that Steve O'Brien's writing style didn't grab me. The occasional awkward sentences and grammatical issues brought me out of the story a number of times. Some of the jargon is explained in detail, and yet some is just thrown in there. I did enjoy the story and the mystery, but didn't love the book. There is enough good here that I will definitely give the author another chance, though. ( )
  NorthernStar | May 5, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I started reading this book, put it down and completely forgot about it. I hope to go back and finish it eventually, but it just didn't catch my attention, which is odd because I am a big racing fan. It just seems as though every novel about horse racing has to do with an insurance scam, fixing a race, murder, etc. ( )
  FionaCat | Jan 18, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Reminiscent of Dick Francis's work, this is a mystery that takes place at a racetrack. There are times where the author attempts, rather unsuccessfully, to philosophize about life and it's just kind of annoying. But when he sticks to the story, this is a fast paced mystery with some yummy romance thrown in. The race scenes are well imagined and thrilling. The descriptions of life on a racetrack are fascinating and I learned much about this world. I can forgive the corny philosophizing because this is a tightly written and interesting tale. I really enjoyed it. ( )
  drsyko | Aug 2, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In “Bullet Work” Steve O’Brien gives the reader a view of the ‘backside’ of racing, the hotwalkers, the farriers, the stable hands and a different side of trainers and owners, the working side. Readers of horse mysteries by authors such as Dick Francis, John Francome and Lyndon Stacey the view of horse racing presented to the reader is mainly the ‘front side.’ They feature the owners, trainers, stewards and jockeys, the side of racing viewed from the stands.

Someone is running an extortion racket at a racetrack outside Washington D.C. A mare is kidnapped, leg bones are broken, poison is added to feedbags, but for a weekly fee per head a trainer can protect his horses. Some participate and some do not. The blackmailers want total participation and raise the stakes by killing two horses just prior to their race.

Owner Dan Morgan wants to protect his young filly, the best horse he has ever had, by having his trainer pay the fee. He also wants to find out who is behind the scheme and to stop them. He enlists the help of teenager AJ, a hotwalker/horse whisperer. Dan gets too close to the truth and is left to die in a burning barn. He does escape and solve the case.

I enjoyed the book but in the beginning found it difficult to keep the minor and in some cases major characters straight. The plot is realistic and as the book progresses the speed picks up. The presentation of the setting is both entertaining and informative, but could have been edited to tighten it up. Better development of the characters, in particular Dan and AJ would add to the book.

Readers of horse mysteries would enjoy “Bullet Work.”

I received this book through Earlier Reviewers. ( )
  pmarshall | Jun 1, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bullet Work is a crime fiction novel in the style of the Dick Francis and John Francome horse racing thrillers. The story is about a protection racket at a Virginia horse track. A “protection fee” is being demanded from the trainers at the track in order to keep their horses safe. Several horses are cruelly killed to enforce the demand. The protagonist is Dan Morgan, a horse racing enthusiast and the owner of a promising young filly. When his horse narrowly misses being shot Dan, with help from a young stable helper, takes on the hunt to unmask the extortionists. He is ultimately successful and the identity of the crooks was a surprise to me. The solution to the mystery comes well before the end of the book which also took me by surprise.
The story moves at a fairly brisk pace, although in the beginning chapters there’s too much technical detail about the “backside” of the track (the stable and training area) where most of the public never goes. This information overload may put off some readers because it bogs down the story-telling and gets tedious to read while not being actually necessary for the story.
I never got to really know Morgan as a character. He is an attorney as well as a horse racing fan and his occupation plays a role in the story development. He suffers considerable angst over his marriage breakdown and readers are left hanging about his relationship with Beth, one of his trainer’s assistants, with whom he seems to be developing a relationship.
There’s a big gap in the story about the young stable hand that helps Dan. The kid is a sort of a “horse whisperer”, who is bullied by other stable hands on account of his talent with horse. Unfortunately he “disappears” into the story so that an otherwise interesting character is under developed.
All in all, it’s an OK read, but not an outstanding one. I think it could be improved through editing: taking out some of the technical filler and working on some character development for Dan and the young horse whisperer. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | May 26, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0982073593, Paperback)

"They lived for that one chance; the chance to get home first. They waited for that one second. For that moment when they broke into the clear down the home stretch, and no one was going to catch them. Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing, lies the gritty reality of the backside. Within this fiercely competitive world of owners, trainers, vets, and jockeys something has gone terribly wrong. As opening day approaches, one racehorse is poisoned, another has her leg crushed by a lead pipe and a third mysteriously disappears. Shock and horror grip the racing community.Despite all security efforts, the brutal killings continue. For Dan Morgan it becomes personal when his precocious two-year-old filly is targeted. Dan befriends AJ Kaine, a lonely, horse whispering young man. AJ is a hotwalker, the lowest of jobs in the backside food chain. But AJ has a secret--perhaps a secret that can corner a killer. With AJ s help, Dan must crack the extortion scheme or risk becoming the next victim. "

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:49 -0400)

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