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Today I am happy to feature
Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery)
by Amber Camp
About Canter with A Killer
Canter with a Killer (A Horse Rescue Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Arkansas
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639101802
ISBN-13 : 978-1639101801
Digital ASIN : B09S3G8PDD
Perfect for fans of Amanda Flower and Mollie Cox Bryan, Amber Camp’s debut novel will have you galloping through the pages, as a horse rescue owner races to find a killer and clear her name.
Mallory Martin left her marriage and her unfulfilling job to move back to her hometown of Hillspring, Arkansas, and start a horse rescue. It’s everything she’s been missing, with paddocks of happy horses and one very quirky donkey. But when her cantankerous neighbor and longtime critic, Albert Cunningham, is found murdered in his fancy show barn, Mallory becomes suspect number one. Since Sheriff Grady Sullivan is ignoring all good sense and focusing only on Mallory, she decides to take matters into her own hands.
Aided by her best friend, Lanie, and rescue volunteer Tanner, Mallory races headlong into the investigation in search of the real killer. But horses and murder aren’t the only thing on her mind when she meets Albert’s handsome son, Braydon. Sparks fly, and soon she’s got a new boyfriend. But there’s a case to be solved, and she redoubles her efforts to learn the truth.
The suspects mount quickly. There’s Albert’s girlfriend, Kathleen, who was on the farm when he was murdered; organic farmer Heather Rogers, who accused Albert of contaminating her creek; and Philip Atwood, who’d been trying for a right-of-way across Albert’s farm. None of the evidence is holding up though, and Mallory learns that she’ll need to take the reins on this investigation if she’s going to clear her own name.
Not happy in her marriage or her job Mallory Martin divorces her spouse and moves back to her hometown of Hillspring, Arkansas to take care of her ailing father and open up a horse rescue. Her obsession with horses goes way back as does wanting to make a difference in the world so opening up a rescue on the family farm was an easy choice. But money is not rolling in so Mallory decides to add riding lessons to the rescue. This angers her neighbor Albert Cummings, who owns Champion Performance Horses, a horse breeding and training farm uphill from Mallory’s rescue. He called to voice his displeasure the day before he was killed and found in his fourteen-stall show barn. A witness to the conversation and Mallory’s iffy alibi make her the prime suspect.
Sheriff Grady Sullivan has known Mallory forever so you would think he would know she couldn’t be responsible for the crime but he still is going all out to prove her guilty. Heck, she can think of several others with more motive and even Albert’s son believes she is innocent. So with a little help from her friends, she is bound and determined to find the real killer.
Mallory Martin is a strong woman intent on making her dreams come true but she is a bit gruff at times. She tries to use her knowledge learned as a forensic nurse to ferret out the killer but at times she leaps into action before thinking things through and that just gives the sheriff more ammunition against her. He clearly had tunnel vision when it came to Mallory. He also had a problem in his department he failed to address. I was not a fan.
Mallory has two college-age volunteers to help her take care of her rescues. Tanner and Ashley are knowledgeable about horses and love their jobs. They can’t believe their “boss” is even considered a suspect. With her daughter away at college these kids help her deal with her empty nest feelings. Her friend Lanie along with her husband Bill truly have Mallory’s back and fully support her throughout the whole ordeal. I loved the way Bill stepped up when a supplier was treating Mallory so poorly. It gave her the strength to take the man on too. Mallory’s lawyer Andy was great too.
I loved the unique setting of a horse farm with rescues. The horses and a crazy lovable donkey tugged at my heart. Mallory also has a wonderful blue heeler. We have a loveable red heeler and they are great dogs.
The mystery was filled with some nice twists. There were some clear suspects and a couple more that I added to my personal list. I was focused on the wrong person for quite a while so I was surprised when the actual culprit was revealed. I was not sure how Mallory was going to save herself but then her rescuer took care of it in an awesome way.
Canter with a Killer was a strong debut and a very enjoyable read. A fine mystery with a brisk pace and a smashing ending that was very entertaining. I look forward to getting to know these characters better as the series continues.
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About Amber Camp
Amber has lived in Northwest Arkansas for twenty+ years, working as an RN at a rural hospital in the area. She has a menagerie of animals that includes dogs, cats, horses, chickens, and what has been described as the Mule from Hell, which may or may not be a slight exaggeration. Writing has always been a focus in Amber’s life, something she describes as “food for my soul.” An avid reader since grade school, she enjoys multiple genres and is always looking for new authors to add to her favorites. Amber is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”