Friday, September 01, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Moonblind by Laura Crum

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Moonblind by Laura Crum. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Moonblind by Laura Crum

Moonblind by Laura Crum
A Gail McCarthy Mystery
Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-90-1 (1880284901)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-90-1 (9781880284901)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $13.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Gail McCarthy, seven months pregnant, is on leave from her work as a horse vet. Despite her firm intention to rest and prepare for her baby, she is drawn into the odd situation surrounding her cousin Jenny, who claims that she is being stalked. Newly relocated from Michigan, Jenny hints at nefarious dealings in her past as a racehorse trainer that may return to haunt her; and accidents seem to happen with astonishing frequency at her Thoroughbred lay-up farm. As Jenny’s only relative and friend in the area, Gail feels the need to support and help her cousin, but can hardly sort out truth from fiction as she tries to discover who the stalker might be. Jenny’s ex-husband, her former lover, the lover’s ex-wife, an unscrupulous player on the racehorse scene?

Gail finds herself confused and frustrated, while she struggles at the same time to solve a medical mystery involving one of her own horses. As the accidents at Jenny’s farm become more serious, Gail’s concern becomes desperate and personal, leading her to a dark confrontation where she must use all her wits to survive.

Review: Laura Crum's 9th mystery featuring horse veterinarian Gail McCarthy, Moonblind, is a simple, yet effective, story of how one's actions in the past may have unintended, and deadly, consequences in the present.

Pregnancy has made Gail philosophical. She muses about the life she will have with her unborn child, nicknamed Mac, and the life with her beloved horses she fears she will leave behind. When her cousin, Jenny, a thoroughbred race horse trainer who has recently purchased property nearby, suddenly calls late one night, obviously distraught but unwilling to provide any details, Gail wonders how she can help without knowing what the problem is. As Gail learns of the circumstances of her cousin's move to California from Michigan, she realizes Jenny's situation is far more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

The title, Moonblind, refers to a disease (Equine Recurrent Uveitis) that affects the eyesight of horses, temporarily and sometimes permanently causing blindness. The original term "moonblindness" was coined decades ago due to the recurrent nature of the disease, and many at that time erroneously thought the condition was related to the cycles of the moon. It is an authentic, integral, and unexpected, component of the story.

Crum allows the suspense of the story to build and proceed slowly, almost mimicking how Gail, being 7 months pregnant, might move and react. The side story about Gail's favorite horse, Danny, offers insight into how she handles critical situations both intellectually and emotionally, and that in the end, people and animals adapt to their given situation in the best way they can. The concluding scenes in the horse barn are vividly constructed and provide a shocking conclusion to this most unusual mystery.

Special thanks to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of Moonblind for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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