4 out of 4 stars
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Meet Jim Guthrie, a 40-year-old private investigator living in Louisville, Kentucky. He saves Libby Fontaine from a stupid boat accident; as a result, he gains a new pro bono client. Libby’s friend, Carlos Rojas, is a hotwalker from Guatemala who wants to find out who killed his father one year ago. For your information, a hotwalker helps horses to cool down after a race.
The investigation leads the protagonist to Churchill Downs, the horse racing complex where Felipe Rojas, the victim, worked as a groom. Jim has a wide range of suspects, starting with Felipe’s colleagues, like Juan Diaz, a drinker with a history of domestic violence. Herb Alexander (a rich guy with financial problems) and Freya Hall, the attractive veterinarian, are not excluded. One thing is certain—the crime is related to the thoroughbred horse racing business.
I loved the way Rick Neumayer created the mystery and built the suspense in this engaging novel. The writer let me follow the clues without revealing the killer, so I felt like Jim’s partner. The setting was actual; it mentioned the pandemic and Biden’s new policies. Nevertheless, I found some interesting facts about the horses. They prefer having smaller animals around, like goats or cats, but they dislike dogs. The book was very informative about the Kentucky Derby and the entire racing industry.
The author has a great sense of humor, and he poured it into the main character. For instance, after “absorbing a beating,” Jim “eased out to the porch with the grace of an arthritic octogenarian.” I also enjoyed the numerous artistic and cultural references. You would not expect a former cop such as Jim to paint as a hobby. However, expressing his feelings on a blank canvas help the protagonist deal with his emotions.
This captivating book will appeal to fans of crime mystery, investigations, or fast-pacing thrillers. Read the book if you want to discover what it takes to be a good jockey, a trainer, a groom, or a hotwalker. It might be unexpected, but the art lovers will encounter some pleasant surprises along the way. The author also included some insights regarding the immigration policies and the dire situation of the immigrants.
Hotwalker by Rick Neumayer gets a rating of 4 out of 4 stars because it is a very captivating read. There was nothing I disliked about the novel, and I only found several minor errors. It was my favorite type of book: entertaining and instructive, with a touch of humor inserted in the perfect moment.
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