Reining in Murder – Leigh Hearon

I guess the “girls in love with horses” thing is a cliché, but clichés are clichés because they’re true. I was obsessed when I was a child, and still suffer from a nostalgic longing to go take riding lessons again. Basically what this means for me now is that when a book comes my way in which horses feature prominently, I’m all over it. If I see it on Netgalley, I’m requesting it – and only afterward will the realization come along that this could be a major mistake. Horses + cozy mystery could have been awful.

Fortunately, it wasn’t.

Of course there were a couple of nitpicks; it is mentioned a dog’s breath “reeking of meat and onion”, when according to my vet onions are poisonous for dogs. And the genders of a litter of puppies got somewhat confused. And Annie does at one point forget to tell someone something extremely important which … well, it stretched my credulity a bit that she would forget it. It’s a trope I loathe – “Oh, well, I’ll tell him next time I see him” – and then one or the other person involved dies, or whatever it is becomes otherwise irrelevant. This sort of string of complaints would normally indicate a book I was not happy with – the fact that I did enjoy the book in spite of quibbles is testament to other good qualities.

Annie Carson has nearly the life I’d ask for, working with horses and seeing more animals than humans. She doesn’t like children – I don’t like children. She loves horses – I love horses. The writing is smart and fun. The plot is engaging and doesn’t strain credulity. I think I’ll like this series.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.

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