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Dark horse by Honey Brown
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Dark horse

by Honey Brown

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The narrative is told from Sarah Barnard's point of view and so the reader shares Sarah's anxiety when a stranger comes out of the wild weather at the Hangman's Hut. The weather worsens and they are stranded on Devil Mountain for seven days between Christmas and New Year. There are things about Heath that don't seem to ring true, and although she and Heath become very intimate, Sarah feels he is not who he says he is. But then how much of her own story does Sarah tell?

Mid-story there is a twist that I really didn't see coming. Excellent psychological suspense. ( )
  smik | Mar 15, 2015 |
“After witnessing last year’s fifty-metre-high rolling fireballs, she’d wondered if the treetops were truly Satan’s home. And God resided in the water. Everything about that fire had smacked of hell.” – [b:Dark Horse|17282710|Dark Horse|Honey Brown|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1359042450s/17282710.jpg|23899977]

This is my second [a:Honey Brown|4190844|Honey Brown|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1389497033p2/4190844.jpg]Honey Brown book. And while I enjoyed After the Darkness, this has to be my favourite read of the year so far. I literally couldn’t put it down.

[b:Dark Horse|17282710|Dark Horse|Honey Brown|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1359042450s/17282710.jpg|23899977] delivers on all fronts. There is not a moment when something isn't happening. Brown somehow manages to imbue every setting and every exchange with suspense, which is all the more surprising given the small cast of characters – one woman, one man, a horse and the weather. Simply masterful.

I also love it when a twist catches you by surprise – especially when all the clues are there.

Days after I finished reading [b:Dark Horse|17282710|Dark Horse|Honey Brown|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1359042450s/17282710.jpg|23899977], I found myself still thinking about the story. It is a rare book that stays with me like that.

A must-read. ( )
  VickiTyley | Jun 23, 2014 |
Set in the Australian bush, Dark Horse is the story of Sarah, a divorcee who appears to set out on horseback for some 'alone time' in the Mortimer Ranges on Christmas morning.

Bad weather soon springs up and flash flooding takes out the bridge and most of the riding tracks. Sarah takes her horse to high ground, setting up camp at Hangman's Hut. All is relatively calm until a handsome and well-built man walks out of the bush and turns the story on it's head.

Where did he come from? Why doesn't he have any supplies and why is he behaving strangely? All these questions will be answered, but not in the way you expect. Dark Horse is a thriller of the highest order, and the twist totally blew my head off! I definitely did not see it coming.

Author Honey Brown is able to create a realistic scenario where two characters are essentially trapped in the Australian bush while her descriptions of the bush are both eerie and impressive at the same time.

Readers who love horses will enjoy the role Sarah's horse Tansy plays, although by the end of the novel I must admit I was a little tired of the horse and the name Tansy. That's my only complaint though, and thoroughly recommend Dark Horse to readers who enjoy a good thriller, a twist they don't see coming and of course novels by Aussie authors! ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Sep 27, 2013 |
A classic of foreboding and suspense set in the Victorian High Country. Full review at The Newtown Review of Books: http://newtownreviewofbooks.com/2013/05/07/crime-scene-honey-brown-dark-horse-re... ( )
  austcrimefiction | May 6, 2013 |
Having read After the Darkness last year I thought I knew what to expect from Honey Brown and while I was rewarded with a compelling story of psychological suspense, the shocking twist in the tale of Dark Horse took me by surprise.

After a messy divorce and the reluctant sale of her property Sarah Barnard can't face a day of forced celebration with her parents and so just after dawn on Christmas morning, she packs supplies and canters into the bush upon her beloved horse, Tansy. Distracted, Sarah doesn't notice the change in the weather until a torrent of water is rushing towards her. With no way to retreat, Sarah and Tansy are forced to seek higher ground and take refuge at the site of an old bushranger's hut in the midst of being renovated. Resigned to waiting for rescue, Sarah establishes camp, content in her solitude, but then a man calls to her from the darkness, and Sarah is no longer alone.

From the moment Heath whistles to Sarah from the edge of the campsite I believed I knew the path the story would take but the twist in the plot left me breathless, catching me unaware. In hindsight the clues are there in the story, hiding, at times, in plain sight, but Brown masterfully plays on the reader's expectations and with careful, but never obvious, manipulation, subverts the truth.

Sarah's reason for being on the mountain is seemingly clear while Heath is the enigma. He appears untruthful, giving vague answers to even the simplest of questions and as Sarah's suspicion of him grows, so does ours. The tension builds as Sarah battles her intense attraction to Heath, who is young, fit and handsome, even though she suspects him to be dangerous. Brown skillfully develops a relationship between Sarah and Heath that is, if not entirely understandable, feasible, despite the obvious contradictions.

The sense of unease that permeates the narrative comes not only from the situation but is also carefully cultivated by Brown as she creates a disquieting landscape of thick fog, unstable ground and howling winds. Lashed by rain and in danger of flooding, the mountain is a threatening presence. Sarah and Heath's battle against the elements, and their isolation, heightens the suspense whilst enforcing intimacy with the need to keep dry and warm.

Once begun, I found it impossible to put Dark Horse aside. The pace is compelling, the tension superb and the plot veers into a breathtaking twist. Dark Horse is a finely crafted, stunning psychological thriller that I can't recommend strongly enough. ( )
  shelleyraec | Apr 24, 2013 |
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It's Christmas morning on the edge of the rugged Mortimer Ranges. Sarah Barnard saddles Tansy, her black mare. She is heading for the bush, escaping the reality of her broken marriage and her bankrupted trail-riding business.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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