Shady Deals: Cindy McDonald
Why would an experienced young vet with a blooming practice chance losing it all? Why would anyone succumb to a drug lord’s wishes and find himself writing prescriptions for drugs that would enhance the performance of racehorses? Holden Reese and Dr. Ben Spears handled all of the cases involved in Keystone Downs Thoroughbred Racetrack. Chip Walker was the man who ran the drug operation and managed to strong-arm not only Holden but anyone who got in his way. Claiming he was providing a service for the trainers in order to help their horses win more at the track, Chip seemed to be untouchable but will it last?
Warning him that he might think twice before crossing him, Chip reminded him that he had someone focusing their attention on his girlfriend, Kate West. The West family was powerful and the one thing you don’t want to do is cross them. But, Holden was positive that he would not hurt Kate but when push comes to a big shove you can’t trust anyone.
As the plot unfolds we learn more about the drugs, the reasons for the different types of prescriptions, that fact that Holden wrote them and someone was filling them did not stop authorities from trying to put a permanent end to what Chip Walker had set in place. But, in order to make sure that they had someone who could assist them and undercover agent was sent in pretending to be a bug boy who would work out different mounts and eventually be allowed to race. Meeting him Doc Spears introduces him around, Dave Blake becomes part of the West team and meets his first mount Sheldon and my favorite character the ever-persistent Guido the pig who loves to enter the stalls and steal the hay. Following Sheldon around this sparky pig gets in the way but you have to love him.
The star of the show is Shady Deal who the West family bought when the owner placed him in a claiming race. So, Eric West claimed him and he won a lot of money for him after his son Mike and his favorite hand Punch nursed him back to health after being shot up with drugs. But, Shady Deal was a commodity and Chip Walker was a greedy and cruel man whose threats had plenty of backbone as long as his two goons were there to carry them out.
Misunderstandings, accusations, lies, betrayals and fights ensue and relationships are severed and things heat up while the drugs are still coming in and Chip Walker wants to find a way to silence anyone that might stop what he has started. Holden Reese is becoming paranoid and goes off the handle as Kate West notices behavior changes but discounts them.
With Doc Spears alerted to what is going on and threatening to test every horse for everything and not stop until he finds out who and where the drugs are coming from, those involved become edgy, lives are at stake and once again author Cindy McDonald sets the pace faster than the fastest horse on the track keep readers moving at a galloping pace to find out just what will happen, if Kate will be accused of being a part of this plot and if she will marry Holden or see him for who and what he really is.
Ava West is Mike’s ex-wife and even she is concerned with the strange behavior that Holden has been exhibiting. Reporting to her boyfriend, Lieutenant Carl Lugowski that she is concerned for Kate and what might be happening with Holden, she reports having seen him at Chip Walker’s stables once too often. But, what happens when Shane West and the new bug boy Dave Blake get too close and realize that something is far afield? What happens when Chip Walker decides to send a message to the West family that will destroy one horse, their chances of a big win in the upcoming 6th race sending them in search of answers and one man that might provide them.
Shady Deal was resting in her stall when someone came in a beat her so badly that she almost died. One young pony girl warned Shane and Dave and help arrived but would it be too late? As Holden works feverishly to save the horse in the back of his mind he realizes who did this and why? Rather than confess and seek forgiveness he cons Kate into leaving and heading for Texas for a job interview he claimed was waiting for him. Kate West is really smart and usually quite savvy but when push came to shove and Holden begged her or you might say coerced her to leave you wonder why she goes along with him. Love is one thing but being blinded is another.
When he is sure the horse’s care is being taken care of little does he know that something else will transpire until a phone is received and his fate is sealed. Running is his only solution and the fact that Chip plans to kill both Shane and Dave will not change his plans. As Shane and Dave happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and find themselves at the mercy of Chip and his two goons little do they know that someone would come to their rescue but will it be too late?
Shady Deals in more ways than one as Chip Walker’s idea of providing a service is to help enhance the ability of horses just as athletes use steroids of other types of drugs. When things begin to heat up and Chip Walker is in custody just where will Kate and Holden wind up and will Eric West ever learn her fate? As Kate is forced to go on the run with Holden thinking that he just wants to try his hand at working somewhere else, different clues begin to fit together, behavior patterns change and simple things don’t add up.
The final showdown will change this drastically for Kate and her family as she fights for her freedom, her life and must make a snap decision that will change it all. Loyalties, friendships, love, betrayals, forgiveness and lies are all issues brought to light in this novel. The author brings to the novel her first hand experience with horses, caring for them and explanation of the many drugs used by Chip Walker and prescriptions written by Holden allowing readers to understand how serious this issue really is. Added in we learn more about the care of horses and we get to know just how special Guido is. What will happen to Shady Deal if he cannot race anymore? Bringing in ex-Navy Seal Jack Haliday, to lead the investigation, Carl Lugowski to assist to find Kate, hopefully bring her home, stop the Chip Walker and those trainers who are part of his network.
How far will some trainers and owners go to win a race? How far will one man go to make sure he’s not stopped? Shady Deals: Who will win the race at the finish line: The horses: The Drug Lords or Justice!
This is a fast paced, exciting, quick read that will keep you on your saddle and glued to the horse until you read the last page and wonder: What is next for Kate? What about Carl?
Let’s give this one: GIVE GOLDEN BALES OF HAY FOR GUIDO
Fran Lewis: reviewer