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Publisher's Summary

In a trailer in a Florida swamp, time is running out for Erin Seabright. A pawn in a kidnapper's terrifying game for a ransom no one can pay, her last hope is a washed-up ex-cop who has already lost it all - not once, but twice.

The wealthy world of the Palm Beach horsey set seems a long way from a cop's world in the narcotics division. A lifetime ago, undercover sheriff's detective Elena Estes worked the mean streets and back alleys, living by her wits and playing the long odds until she took one risk too many. Now Estes lives on the ragged edge of lost hope and self-hatred, hiding from the past and believing she doesn't deserve to have a future. But the past is about to come back with a vengeance, and the future is about to become a race between life and death.

A young woman is missing and her 12-year-old stepsister comes to Estes for help. No one but serious, studious Molly Seabright seems concerned about what's happened to her troubled older sister. Estes has no P.I. license, and no desire to break her self-imposed exile. But the more she learns about the people Erin Seabright was involved with, the more her long-dormant cop instincts come back to life.

One trip to the showgrounds where Erin worked as a groom, and Estes is quickly pulled to the dark side of a glamorous sport. Behind the ultra-rich facade is an ultra-ruthless world of drugs, payoffs, and dirty deals. And in that world stalks a killer who will lead Estes down a twisted trail of mayhem and murder to a final showdown that could cost her everything. A race against time and evil. A race in which Estes is the dark horse...and no one is betting on her to win.

©2002 Tami Hoag; (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, a Division of Random House Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A definite winner." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    210
  • 4 Stars
    186
  • 3 Stars
    108
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    17

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    119
  • 4 Stars
    68
  • 3 Stars
    39
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    7

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    123
  • 4 Stars
    63
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    39
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Sort by:
  • Overall

Horses and Murder

I loved this book! I'm an animal-lover and was fascinated by the information about dressage (the fancy footsteps that horses and their riders can do.) I've seen this done and it is so beautiful to see how the horse and rider can "dance" so gracefully. Also, I can really identify with female detectives and murder mystery stories since my own background is in law enforcement. This particular female detective/ex-cop (Elena Estes) was ridden with guilt for an on-duty mistake she made which cost her partner his life, left her with horrible scars and rendered her an outcast with her former fellow officers. She lost her friends, her job, her looks, and her self-confidence and fought suicidal thoughts as she spiraled downward. I could feel her thoughts as she faced her physical and emotional battles. Somehow a lonely, unloved and desperate little girl named Molly managed to pierce through Elena's shell and asked for help in solving the disappearance of Molly's older sister. This book is a good choice!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Terrific read -- hard to get out of the car

One of the best mysteries I've listened to in a long time. I actually -- for the first time -- got out my ear set and listened in bed -- and so spent a few very tired days. An absolutely terrific and well written book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A good story about a tough intelligent woman.

This story centers around a tough, intelligent woman that can't come to grips with her own mistakes. The book is slow at times but engaging. While the story bogs down sometimes, the ending seemed rushed and not flowing from the previous story development. If you like women to be sweet, dependant, and stupid, you won't like this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Hoag has it...

I always enjoy a book that is successful in creating a strong but likeable female as the central character. Elena Estes is just that; tough yet incredibly fragile, gutsy but dealing with deep fears, just a good complex character with a great wisecrack built right in. I'm hoping that there is a future for this her in books to come. It will be interesting to see how she develops....

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A real winner!!

Tami takes the triple crown with Dark Horse. The narrator does an excellent job with bringing the characters to life. The story keeps you guessing throughout the entire book. She is becoming one of the very best authors in the genre. Buy and enjoy!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • WoodbridgeUnited Kingdom
  • 12-08-03

Gripping stuff.

A story that grabs you from the off and keeps going all the way. The narration was good and the almost 14 hours of the story seemed far too short.

This sort of story justifies the ?430 spent on my ipod.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fast Paced

My sister recommended this writer to me and she was right. It is a fast paced book. I did not want to turn it off. The Alibi Man is another book that includes the same characters. Tami Hoag uses strong language in her books, so if you fine it offensive, you might want to try a different writer. She did write White Knight that is more of a love story than a detective type novel.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Allison
  • Cary, IL, United States
  • 09-11-07

Enjoyable!!

I love this narrator! It's a great story line and I enjoyed every minute of this listen!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • MEMcL
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • 07-14-07

Disappointing

This was too predictable and wordy. Sorry, but I found it very boring.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Something original

Protagonist Elena Estes IS surly,tough and chip-on-the-shoulder but she's not a cardboard cutout. She's not a cop (anymore) and not (really)a private detective. She's youngish and attractive enough, but not a knock-out. She's hurting but somehow deserves to, making her very vulnerably human. The hinted maybe-someday romance with the detective on the case plays surprisingly unforced, tenative and very credible. The language is good, the characters diverse. There are quite a few you'd love to shove down the stairs so just who's the biggest bad guy is not obvious. I very much enjoyed the story and the horsey-set ambiance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful