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The Dirt-Brown Derby    by Ed Lynskey order for
Dirt-Brown Derby
by Ed Lynskey
Order:  USA  Can
Mundania, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

Money takes PI Frank Johnson to Kaiser, Virginia. $200,000 big ones. He's introduced to Kaiser by three street thugs offering to beat him up in front of the liquor store. But Johnson has other fish to fry. Wealthy widow Mary Talliaferro thinks her daughter was murdered. The sheriff says it was an accident. Talliaferro is willing to pay big bucks to Johnson to prove otherwise.

Kaiser is a one horse backwater town if there ever was one. Mary Talliaferro doesn't belong in Kaiser, but she hangs out in an aging, ugly mansion, Dakota Farms, sitting on mucho acres of fine Virginia horse country. Her daughter Emily was a headstrong teen who loved to ride her horse Hellbent. One day, according to the sheriff, Hellbent tossed Emily and kicked in her head. Mary Talliaferro maintains that a thoroughbred would never kick his rider in the head. Who is right? Johnson is about to find out.

But information never comes easy. The sheriff refuses to cooperate, the employees on Dakota Farms are less than friendly and Johnson keeps running into the punks who think it would be fun to crack open his head. By chance Johnson also runs into an old girlfriend who smoothes his way with the townspeople - and then Hellbent's trainer is murdered. More questions with no answers for Johnson.

The Dirt-Brown Derby is a classic PI novel with all the components of a fast-paced rollicking mystery, and enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing about the murderer.

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