‘Horse Flesh’ by Tina Sugarman

Horse Flesh

A brilliant harness horse driver risks losing everything because of a drug habit, while the Director of Racing struggles to rid the industry of its dirty tricks and dodgy practices. In this epic tale from the world of competitive Standardbred horse racing, this is a story of riders, trainers, mounties and mysterious strangers. Written by an industry insider, Horse Flesh tells the real story behind Canada’s favourite sport.

Tina Sugarman certainly knows about horse racing and has an eye for detail and authenticity that brings her characters to life. She writes about all things equine with a knowledge and familiarity that will appeal to enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Nevertheless, the author’s huge cast of characters is at times a bit unwieldy and it wasn’t always easy to follow what was going on. It’s also a very long book and Ms Sugarman’s habit of repeating herself probably adds several pages.

The novel started well and gripped me for the first few chapters, but it seemed like the twisty turny story began to slip away from me after a while and by the time I reached the end, I felt I’d spent a little too long in the enclosure. Although her prose is generally very good, I thought the author’s style of punctuation let her down – in particular, the profusion of exclamation marks became more than a little irritating (there are several thousand of them), and spoiled much of the dialogue for me. A bit of time spent with a good editor would transform this book into a first-class thriller.

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