Reining in Murder
Book 1, A Carson Stables Mystery
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When horse trainer Annie Carson rescues a beautiful thoroughbred from a roadside rollover, she knows the horse is lucky to be alive…unlike the driver. After rehabilitating the injured animal at her Carson Stables ranch, Annie delivers the horse to Hilda Colbert--the thoroughbred's neurotic and controlling owner--only to find she's been permanently put out to pasture. Two deaths in three days is unheard of in the small Olympic Peninsula county, and Annie decides to start sniffing around. She's confident she can track down a killer…but she may not know how ruthless this killer really is…
Praise for Leigh Hearon:
"Here's a new heroine after my own heart. Plan to stay up all night with this one because this mystery is a winner right out of the gate!" —Fern Michaels, #1 New York Times bestselling author on Reining in Murder
"This strikingly polished first mystery is, quite simply, remarkable. Reining in Murder has it all: rounded characters, likeable protagonist, thrilling, perfectly paced plot and impeccable narrative style . . . Leigh Hearon masterfully maintains the suspense to the very finish line." —Mystery Scene Magazine on Reining in Murder
“Leigh Hearon seems destined for high marks with what is shaping up to be a delightful new series in the mystery genre.” —Colorado Daily News on Reining in Murder
“This murder mystery will be enjoyed by anyone who likes chewing hay and wearing riding boots.” —Fresh Fiction on Reining in Murder
“The action-packed scenes are stellar, as well as the descriptions of the gorgeous and dangerous Washington wilderness. This third in the series presents a unique heroine, one whose devotion to horses is as admirable as her wit and intelligence.” —Kings River Life Magazine on Unbridled Murder
First book in a new series!
Reining in Murder by Leigh Hearon is the first book in A Carson Stables Mystery series. Annie Carson is a horse rescuer in Suwana County, Washington. She receives a call during the night from Sheriff Dan Stetson. A man was in an accident, and he was hauling a horse. The horse needs to be brought back to Carson Farm. The man who was driving, Wayne Johnston, did not survive. The horse was okay and only suffered minor injuries. Unfortunately, the gorgeous horse belongs to Hilda Colbert of Colbert Farm. Hilda has a nasty personality. Hilda contacts Annie after she has been up all night caring for her horse, demanding that the horse be transported to her farm immediately (indicating that her farm is far superior). When Annie insists that the horse cannot be moved yet, Hilda states that they will pick up the horse first thing the next day. The next day no one shows or calls. When Annie goes over to Colbert Farm (the next day), she finds Hilda dead in her bedroom. The suspect list is long (since Hilda did not have a winning personality). Sheriff Stetson’s number one suspect is Marcus Carson, Hilda’s husband (feel sorry for him—being married to Hilda). Annie is not so sure. Annie starts investigating (while keeping Dan filled in—sort of) and then Marcus disappears. Annie is sure that foul play is involved, but Dan feels that Marcus took off. Then one of the Colbert Farm ranch hands is missing. People are dropping like flies. What is going on? Not only is Annie investigating Hilda’s murder, but her half-sister Lavender has decided to visit (they have never met). Lavender is a quirky individual who believes that she has psychic powers (Lavender was spoiled by her parents). Life is never dull at the Carson Farm.
Reining in Murder is an easy to read cozy mystery novel. I just wish more of the book had been devoted to the mystery. The clues are very sparse (more show up just before the killer is revealed). More time is devoted to Lavender and her antics than to the mystery. We also get quite a bit of information about horses, mules, dogs, Annie’s eating habits, Sheriff Stetson’s marriage troubles, and the type of scotch Annie (and Dan Stetson) like to drink. I give Reining in Murder 3 out of 5 stars. I wish the mystery had been harder to figure out. You would think there would be a lot of suspects (since Hilda was not liked by anyone but her husband), but, in reality, there are few of them provided in the book. As soon as Annie found the body, I knew who killed her (you know who is going to be killed as soon as she is mentioned in the book). I did like the main characters and the gorgeous setting. I will read the next book in the series.
I received a complimentary copy of Reining in Murder from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.