Acid and Bribery
As an avid lover of horses, I was ecstatic to receive a copy of Jeanne Ann Off’s book Acid and Bribery. A fictional story told from the point of view of both the main character, Kelsey Kelley, and in the third person, I found the story and characters to be both intriguing and delightful, respectively. Kelsey is a sixteen-year-old girl who lives and works with her Mom, Loren. Loren is an assistant horse trainer for racehorses, and they both work for a lady named Janice Moran. The story introduces the reader to the favorite of the next race, Tomar El Oro, a beautiful American Quarter Horse. As the story moves on, Kelsey discovers foul play and overhears someone wanting to throw the race. Because Tomar is the favorite, she suspects someone is going to harm him or pay the jockey off. Then someone starts putting battery acid on the horses, making them ill with a deadly virus. There is also acid being put on the horse’s legs. Kelsey does what she needs to protect Tomar.
What I enjoyed about this story the most was the explanation of what happens behind the scenes of a horse race. As the reader follows Kelsey and her best friend, Saira, in and out of the stables, it is easy to picture their daily lives of mucking out stalls, giving horses fly medicine and exercising the horses. A short glossary of equine terms is given to the reader at the back of the book and is quite useful for someone who might not know what “the green monster” is or what a “maiden race” is. The characters are all very well described and all have their own parts in the story. Kelsey is very mature and likable even though she is so young. She is a good girl and listens to and respects her mother. I felt her reaction to her father and his new wife was very realistic since her father up and left Kelsey and her mother without anything. Kelsey is angry at him and part of the side story of the book is the father trying to heal his relationship with Kelsey. This side story fits in nicely. Another detail is the budding relationship between Kelsey and Blaine, the nineteen-year-old security guard. The author did a fantastic job creating uncertain trust between Kelsey and Blaine while Kelsey is trying to solve the mystery of who is poisoning the horses.
There are quite a bit of grammatical errors (e.g., punctuation, incorrect use of the word “veterinary” instead of “veterinarian,” etc.), as well as parts that are repetitive (e.g., the description of the horse’s flaxen mane). I rated the book 4 stars based on the great storyline, but it really needs to be given to an editor to do a final proof to fix these errors. Overall, this story was very entertaining and enjoyable to read. Its storyline was clear, and the characters were all important and well-developed throughout. It just needs to be polished.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Author||Jeanne Ann Off|
|Page Count||158 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|