Book 1 in the Neil Marshall Mystery novel series — When poet-turned-chef Neil Marshall stumbles into the dark world of illegal horse breeding, his best friend turns up dead, and Neil is the prime suspect. To avenge the killing, clear his name, and rescue a missing championship thoroughbred, Neil is in a race against the clock, and the cops. Neil's friends — his attractive writing teacher, his cooking colleagues, and a freckle-faced teenage horsewoman — offer their support. But their cheers quickly turn to gasps when Neil becomes the hunted.
Hemlin's first mystery is a very promising, quite smart, launch to a new series. Neil Marshall is busy enough as a poetry grad student, part-time caterer and soon-to-be divorce. But when Neil's best friend, horse breeder Jason Keys, is murdered and Neil becomes a suspect, he reluctantly adds amateur sleuth, racing analyst and teen psychologist to his resume. This is a Southern-fried tale blessed by an unconventional cast of characters who are at times more reminiscent of Greenwich Village than Houston. One request of the author, though: Hemlin could go a little easier when he attempts Southern dialogue: a little "I ain't got spittle for anyone who knew that son of a bitch!" goes a long way.