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The Rein Equation, by Lisa Wysocky
This is the fifth in the “Equation” series of Cat Enright equestrian mysteries. Previous books in the series include: The Opium Equation, The Magnum Equation, The Fame Equation, and The Mane Equation.
The action in this novel takes place in middle Tennessee near Ashland City, with occasional references to Belle Meade, Franklin, Percy Warner Park, the Harpeth River, and other places in the west Nashville area.
The story opens innocently enough: at a competitive trail riding clinic put on by RFD-TV star and competitive trail horse trainer Shayne Sutton, in preparation for an upcoming trail obstacle competition. Shayne is the “hot horse trainer of the moment,” Wysocky describes.
So what do you do with a clinic participant who’s often telling bad (moan and groan type) jokes and is rather obnoxious in coming on to the ladies? Wysocky bumps him off early in the novel and then keeps us in suspense for the rest of the book trying to find out “who done it?” And, just as murder victims seem to find Father Brown, Cat Enright is the one who finds the deceased during the trail competition. “Why me? Why was I always the one to find the dead bodies?” Cat asks herself. “How come wherever you go people get kilt? Bubba asked, his rural Tennessee accent strong…” Wysocky writes.
For amateur sleuth and renowned horse trainer in her own right, this is not Cat Enright’s first murder mystery to solve, and we often find her in harm’s way as the culprit tries to do away with her, too - more than once.
Cat’s next door neighbor is handsome (hunky, she describes him) country music star Keith Carson, along with his wife Carole and their children. It is Keith who rescues her after she has been attacked and nearly killed in her front pasture, performing CPR to revive her. Unfortunately, she was out cold when he performed “mouth to mouth.”
Jon is Cat’s stable manager - double pun here, referring to the barn/stable and a very stable (sane, sensible, and steady) reliable co-partner in the operation.
For the younger set, there’s Darcy, the 18-year-old riding student of Cat’s who attends Middle Tennessee State University and stays with Cat when she is not in school.
There’s 11-year-old Bubba, Cat’s foster son whose father is in prison, and he is motherless. He tries hard and we often hear some skewed, old timey sayings coming out of his mouth, like “she must be as confused as a fart in a fan factory” and “sometimes you don’t have all your groceries in the same bag,” referring to someone who’s scatterbrained.
It’s helpful that Cat is close friends with Martin Giles, the local police detective who “helps” solve the murder cases. “Martin and I had become friendly during the investigation of my neighbor’s murder:” Glenda Dupree a retired movie star who lived at Fairbanks, a large antebellum mansion located on the property just east of Cat’s, Wysocky explains. Giles is based on the real life Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove.
The comic relief comes with eccentric Agnes, owner of the main horse in Cat’s barn, Sally Blue, who she believes is psychic. Agnes regularly gets “messages” from Sally. Agnes comes to visit Cat periodically, and to see her horse. She brings with her a pampered pig, Arabella, whom we encounter first dressed in a pink tutu with silver sparkles. She comes with quite an entourage of bed and blanket, box of toys, dinner and water bowls, and a suitcase full of clothes. Another time she is dressed in a sparkly ball gown and crown. Later in the book we learn that Arabella is taking swimming lessons and she loves to watch reruns of Green Acres because she has a crush on Arnold. Plus, she is an Elvis fan, so Agnes takes her to see Graceland and Beale Street in Memphis.
Other horses and animals are important in the book: Hank, Cat’s stick-loving hound dog; Dash, the OTTB trained by Shayne, that was the murder victim’s horse; Petey, Darcy’s horse; and Hillbilly Bob, an aged gelding with many championships with whom Bubba has bonded.
You’ll be introduced to the delicious cooking at “Verna Mae’s, a mom-and-pop meat-and-three restaurant in Bellevue,” Wysocky writes.
Something you may want to check out on your own phone is an app like the one on Bubba’s phone. Detective Martin explains, “Apparently there are phone apps that you can download that can bypass any security or restrictions a phone has. The way it works, it steals personal and financial information from numbers the phone sends an imbedded text to. Whatever information that’s on the phone that received that imbedded text, the app can grab: names, phone numbers, bank accounts, social security numbers, passwords, and the like.” In her Acknowledgements at the end of the book, Wysocky writes: “As far as the app on Bubba’s phone, the technology is out there.”
Find out more about this author at: http://www.lisawysocky.com. This book is published by Cool Titles in Beverly Hills, California.
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