Laura Crum's twelfth mystery to feature equine veterinarian Gail McCarthy, Barnstorming, is a mystery involving horses and murder. But, it's also a story about mid-life decisions, and having the courage to face life head-on.
At fifty, Gail McCarthy has decisions to make. She tells her own story in first person, present tense. She was once an equine veterinarian with a passion for work. But, she took ten years off to raise and homeschool her son, Mac. Now that her husband, Blue, has inherited enough money for them to live on, she has a tough decision. What does she want to do with her life? Blue retired happily. Does she want to go back to her job as a vet? Does she want to just enjoy life with her husband, son, and horses? Or is there something else?
For Gail, those decisions can be reached on horseback as she rides the trails near her house. But, those trails have not been so friendly to riders lately. One man sics his dog on them. Someone is blocking the trails. And, some of the residents in the new subdivision near the woods have made it plain they don't like horses or riders in the backyards. And, when one of Gail's acquaintances is shot out in the woods, soon after Gail met her on the trails, the woods and trails seem more dangerous than ever. Did someone target Jane, or is someone targeting women riding their horses on the trails?
Gail turns all her information over to the investigating police officer. As a former vet with numerous friends in the local horse community, Gail uncovers a great deal of information that she passes on. She's afraid. She's angry. She loves those trails and her horses. And, she's resolved to take a stand. "I'm not standing still for this evil. I'm fighting."
For those not interested in horses or the trails through the woods, Barnstorming might feel as if it drags. Others will find an engrossing story of an evil that invades a close-knit community, and a woman determined to fight back, not allowing fear to rule her life.
Laura Crum's Author's Note in this story is fascinating in itself. She informs readers that it's quite possible this will be the last book in the series. She discusses the relationship between Gail and the author, the similarities in their lives, and the differences. The author, like her character, may be moving on to another stage in life after fifty. She allows the readers to observe some of that thinking process in the course of the mystery. And, that process makes Barnstorming a richer, deeper story than it would be if it was just a mystery involving horses.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
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1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book
Book: 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book Author: Dianne Moritz Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell Pages: 36 Age Range: 3-6 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea is a nice lit...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.