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At Risk

Steve Cline Mysteries, no. 1

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


"It's amazing what horses can do for a mystery. Kit Ehrman's debut novel, At Risk, reeks of authenticity, and the hunters and jumpers that are boarded at this no-frills garage have personality to burn. When seven of these horses are stolen in the dead of night, Stephen Cline, the 21-year-old barn manager . . . in the honored tradition of a Dick Francis hero, vows to track down the thieves . . ." ~Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

"Both horse lovers and crime fans who've never stepped into a stirrup will relish Ehrman's riveting debut . . . Ehrman treads Dick Francis territory with a sure foot [and] has created a memorable cast. With his youthful zeal and perseverance, Steve Cline makes a captivating hero and sleuth, one readers will be eager to see again." ~Publishers Weekly

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 23, 2002 – Both horse lovers and crime fans who've never stepped into a stirrup will relish Ehrman's riveting debut, set on a Maryland horse farm. When his successful surgeon father disowns him after he drops out of college, 21-year-old Stephen Cline takes a job as barn manager of Foxdale Farm, which specializes in the training and boarding of thoroughbred jumpers. In the middle of a late February night, Steve visits the stable to medicate a sick horse only to stumble on a horse theft in progress. Haunted by the events of that night after barely escaping from being kidnapped and murdered, Steve resolves to track down the perpetrators before they find him. In spite of the warnings of state police detective James Ralston, he continues his search to unravel what becomes a suspenseful mystery, but not before he puts himself in grave peril. The cold, wet Maryland spring vividly turns to summer amid the smells of horses, hay and sawdust as the plot gallops forward. As a former groom, veterinary assistant and barn manager, Ehrman treads Dick Francis territory with a sure foot. From Steve's girl-crazy friend, Marty, to the motherly farm manager, Mrs. Hill, to the ruthless villains who leave more than one body in their wake, she has created a memorable cast. The sensitively drawn relationship between Steve and the alluring Rachel, a boarder at Foxdale, is one of the novel's highlights. With his youthful zeal and perseverance, Steve Cline makes a captivating hero and sleuth, one readers will be eager to see again.

Customer Reviews

A great read!

A very enjoyable book! Quick paced, hard to put down. I have read all of the Dick Francis books and liked this just as much!

All the horsey details

Kit Ehrman definitely had all the equestrian details right in this book. I've sat up nights with colicky horses; she hit every note. The story was compelling, the pacing was spot on. Every character was fully realized. I liked the protagonist very much ... most of the time.

One thing only kept me from giving the book five stars and that was what seemed to me like out-of-character behavior on the part of the protagonist, Steve Cline. He's described in the book description on iBooks as a "principled character", but he had a rather epic fail in principle in "At Risk".

I can understand a man being attracted to a beautiful woman who's coming onto him, but I can't understand a man who's dating one woman he seems more than just attracted to, then lets himself fall into a sexual encounter with a married barracuda he barely knows and actively dislikes. It played right to the stereotype of men as creatures that think with their sex organs and can't control themselves even when they want to. God help us if this is the good guy, I thought.

It bothered me, too, that after expressing disdain for the woman he shags in the tack room (in a scene that felt completely gratuitous) the hero's conscience didn't kick in until late in the game and only when a friend wonders what will happen if his girlfriend finds out about his wild ride with another man's wife. Until that happens, he's terribly blasé about the encounter in a boys will be boys way, and when the subject of his exclusivity with his girlfriend is raised, no one seems to remember that the other woman is married. All in all, it was a bit confusing and, as I said, seemed out of character for the man Ehrman established Steve Cline to be in every other way.

Fortunately, as I read on, it became apparent that Steve did have a conscience and a capacity for more than animal attraction, but that part of the story was probably the most uneven.

Did that keep me from enjoying the book? Nope. Neither did the occasional word misuse ("squelching" instead of "stanching" and "would of", "could of", "should of" instead of "would have", "could have", "should have"). I couldn't put the book down because the other elements were so strong.

I've already bought the second book in the series.

At risk

I enjoyed the book,knowing about horses helps somehow but i recommend it for everybody, about 15 per cent shorter and I should had rate it excellent, read it and you shall see

At Risk
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Published: Jul 10, 2011
  • Publisher: Kit Ehrman
  • Seller: Smashwords
  • Print Length: 361 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings