This story has something for everyone. It’s a story of struggle against inner demons, others’ prejudices, selfishness, foolishness and danger. It’s also a story of growing love, and the nature of friendship.
Evan trains horses because he loves them. His small but growing business provides him with a sense of satisfaction and joy his previous acting career didn’t. It’s obvious he has secrets and the tension builds beautifully before the final reveal of them.
Actor Wes Tremayne is on his way up. The only thing threatening his rising career is the possibility he’ll be outed. In the end the decision to out himself is an easy one: Evan deserves more than to be someone’s dirty secret. The reaction of the television network he’s contracted to isn’t what Wes expects, and the timing of his big reveal is cruelly taken from him, perpetrated by someone he’d never suspected.
You’d think that would be enough plot for a story, but, wait, there’s more. There’s also Evan’s less-than-likeable soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend. As well, something strange is happening with the owners of the horses Evan trains, security at his farm is threatened, and Evan himself comes under investigation by the racing authorities. All the plot elements weave in and around each other, skilfully linking the world of horse racing with the world of acting until they come together in a series of (figurative) explosions that kept me turning the pages because I had to find out who was responsible for what. The clues were there, but so were some red herrings.
The world of horse racing is skilfully drawn, showing the devotion and dedication of those working with the horses, as well as promoting a need for training facilities to buy shares in ice machine companies or medicinal cold-pack manufacturers. The only thing that made me question the reality of the world is that someone other than a jockey unsaddled a horse after a race. That might be an American thing: in Australia, the jockey is the only person to handle his riding equipment from weigh-in before the race to weigh-in after the race.
EM Lynley is a solid writer. I’ve yet to read something from her that isn’t eminently readable and enjoyable. Out of the Gate is another good one. Four stars.