June 2014

05593-frontcoverfinalbig Hang on to your sanity while you read Lorne Oliver’s latest book!

When I read the Prologue,  I felt the author couldn’t take his readers to a place more horrific.

When I reached Chapter One my nerves had a chance to settle down.  Things seemed pretty simple.   Spencer, reluctantly consents to go with his sister Chrys to help clean up a house that has been foreclosed by the bank.

When they arrive at the scene, the place is in shocking disarray.  Remnants of the lives of the previous owners are found scattered throughout the house.  It appears that they left in haste, and according to the bank that foreclosed and the neighbours, no one knew where they’d disappeared too.

At first Spencer finds the whole thing unsettling, but Chrys is still driven by curiosity…until they find the Cistern. Then they know life will never be quite the same because they’ll never be able to forget what they found inside it.

The cistern holds ugly secrets, but Spencer and Chrys soon learn it isn’t the only place where secrets lie. There are unexplained coincidences and ransacked rooms. Then there is a grisly incident in the kitchen of the family’s restaurant where Spencer works as head chef and Chrys works as a waitress.  It leaves them in no doubt that their personal security has been breached and their lives are in jeopardy.

Sometimes the things…and people who wait in the light of day are the deadliest.

This book has everything that a mystery/thriller should; heart pounding fear, mystery, danger, intrigue, deception , along with a couple of serial killers.  The plot turns and twists, leading to a conclusion that makes you know there will more great things to come. I’ll definitely be looking for the next  Alcrest  Mystery!

I became a die-hard fan of Lorne Oliver’s work when I discovered Red Island, the first book in his Sgt, Reid Series.   I loved the ending of Red Serge which is the second Sgt. Reid book and I waiting to know what Oliver’s devious mind concocts in the next one.  I’m also “dying” to know what Sgt. Reid’s first name!


The Cistern can be purchased on Amazon

4e69555144d96f16560f6a706700c5c6                 NOTE: the above picture was borrowed from a Yahoo newsfeed.

I was one of the thousands who wanted to see California Chrome win the Triple Crown.

Chrome is a beautiful horse, but it wasn’t so much the horse that captured me. It was the story of an underdog and the dream of an unknown rising up amongst the elite and taking the prize.  It was my desire to see those outsiders win; the two owners who appear to be blue collar workers that come from humble ranks; the older trainer who hoped against hope that his hard work through the yearswould receive recognition; the jockey who dreamed of making a second winning ride for the Triple Crown.  Sadly their dreams all evaporated when the horses crossed the finish line.

I watched co-owner Steve Coburn lash out, driven by the absolutely shattering loss of a dream that had been so real in his mind he must have been certain it would happen. I wished he’d just left his comment at “I thought he was gaining ground, but he didn’t have it in him, apparently.”  But he went on to denigrate the system in his disappointment.

When the race was over I posted on facebook, saying:

Sadly California Chrome didn’t win the Belmont Stakes–no Triple Crown winner in 2014. I could sympathize with his owners frustration, but it would have been more becoming if he’d expressed his feelings in private. I’d say 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, and California Chrome is still a great horse.

Another person came back and posted;

“It was more than frustration it was a rambling rant. The practice of horses losing at the Derby, skipping the Preakness to make a run at a “potential” Triple Crown Winner has been going on for years. This is nothing new, and if the owner of Chrome can’t handle the loss he should have stayed in California. The Triple Crown is supposed to be tough!!!”

Factually, what this individual posted was dead on, but the tone of it bothered me. There was no recognition of the man’s emotional pain as he’d watched a dream slip away.   It stayed with me all night and it’s still with me today.

I’m from the middle class, and I enjoy watching horse racing on TV, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the ranks of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes are away beyond my financial bracket.  But I say “go for it” to anyone who has those dreams and aspirations and are willing to make the sacrifices it takes to make them happen.

On a much lower level I have witnessed the snobbery that can run in other horse related circles.  The way the “professionals” look down on a newbies in the crowd.  But everyone starts somewhere and since Dumbass Partners are not from the usual elite horse racing crowd, I believe it had to be pretty hard for some of establishment to watch an unknown snatch the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

One comment on face book was:

“The Belmonte stakes sort out the pretenders from the professionals.”

It’s hard for me to see Dumbass Partners or California Chrome as pretenders.  Those two men dug deep into their resources to buy a horse that nobody else thought was worth a pinch.  Word has it that Mr. Perry put a great deal of thought into researching bloodlines for the breeding that resulted in California Chrome.  As the foal grew they could see potential in it; it became the nucleus of a dream.  Gradually that dream grew and ballooned for them; especially evident in Steve Coburn who appears to be more flamboyant than his partner.   When Chrome started winning, they had glimpse of something rare and wonderful, something that fired their wildnest dreams.

And the horse did win important races that qualified him to reach for the Triple Crown. Was he just a “pretender” at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness?  And where were the “professionals” at those races?

Can we fault anyone for reaching for the golden ring? No!  I don’t think Steve Coburn and team should have stayed in California, no matter how devasting the loss was to them. I’m glad they had the courage to follow their dream and if they all hadn’t wholeheartedly believed in that dream they would have been lost before the race began.

Unless he spoke out later, Coburns partner, Perry Martin, seemed to keep his thoughts and emotions to himself.  I can imagine some of the team wished that Mr. Coburn hadn’t been so outspoken, but I could empathise with him.

I hope we hear about California Chrome and Dumbass Partners in a winning way again.  I actually had to chuckle at the “unprofessional” way that Coburn and Martin played off each other.  It looks like a winning partnership to me.

I’m glad they dared to dream!