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The Sea Horse Trade (A Nikki Latrelle Racing Mystery Book 3)

The Sea Horse Trade (A Nikki Latrelle Racing Mystery Book 3) [Kindle Edition]

Sasscer Hill
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Literary star Sasscer Hill's growing multitude of fans who have been chomping at the bit for another Nikki Latrelle Racing Mystery need wait no more! Hill’s latest spellbinding, page-turning suspense story, The Sea Horse Trade, takes readers to South Florida for a wild ride on the dark side, mixing horse racing, a mysterious drug kingpin, prostitution, and a mother’s brave search for the daughter she was forced to give up at birth.

When Nikki works the January meet at Gulfstream Park near Miami, something about a new racehorse owner worries her. Bad enough she’s expected to handle Currito Maldonista's evil-minded colt, but Nikki begins to suspect the Colombian may be a drug lord, using horses as a cover to sell his product in the United States. Worse, could he be abducting underage American girls into a network of overseas sex trafficking?

Nikki's world and Maldonista's become further entwined when Nikki's oldest friend, Carla Ruben, comes to Florida to find the teenage daughter she gave up for adoption years ago. The teenager's adoptive parents died unexpectedly, and the exotically beautiful girl was last seen in Miami. Could Maldonista be involved? Nikki and Carla must put lives on the line to find out.

A thrilling new racing mystery from the Agatha and Macavity Award-nominated author of Full Mortality and Racing from Death!

“If you love Dick Francis, you’ll love Sasscer Hill. If you don’t love Dick Francis, you’ll still love Sasscer Hill! This twisty and fast-paced page turner is cleverly plotted and genuinely entertaining—Hill’s insider knowledge and love of the horse-racing world shines through on every page. Sasscer knows her stuff!” – Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity–winning author

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1709 KB
  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1434441962
  • Publisher: Wildside Press (17 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CF43R8G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #299,432 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Early praise for RACING FROM DEATH.
"When Nikki Latrelle swings into the saddle and takes the reins, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride. Hill takes us into the stables; she lets us smell the sweet clover and timothy and yes, the sweat and manure, too; and she sets our hearts pounding as Nikki races to find a killer. This is a major new talent and the comparisons to Dick Francis are not hyperbole." --Margaret Maron, New York Times Best selling author and winner of the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.

"RACING FROM DEATH is only the second in the Nikki Latrelle series, and already I consider intrepid jockey Nikki, her redheaded sidekick Lorna, and her loco horse Hellish old, favorite friends. Great characters, great action, and as for the setting, Hill could be the next Dick Francis. It's that authentic." - Julie Smith, winner of Edgar Best Novel Award and best selling author.

Hill's first book, FULL MORTALITY, was nominated for both 2010 Agatha and Macavity Best First Mystery Awards! Hill lives on a Maryland farm and has bred racehorses for many years. A winner of amateur steeplechase events, she has galloped her horses on the farm and trained them into the winner's circle. Author of several mysteries appearing in the "Chesapeake Crimes" Anthology, her articles have appeared in numerous magazines.


*** Sasscer Hill: Full Mortality, Wildside, $13.95. Jockey Nikki
Latrelle, compelled to visit her upcoming stakes mount Gilded Cage late
one night at Laurel Park, finds the mare dead in her stall. Other
equine and human deaths follow. First-time novelist Hill, herself a
Maryland horse breeder, is a genuine find, writing smooth and vivid
descriptive prose about racetrack characters and backstretch ambience
that reek authenticity. Familiar plot elements are gracefully handled,
including that old romantic-suspense conundrum: which of the
attractive but mysterious males is the good guy and which the villain?

Jon L. Breen. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Appearing in the February 2011 issue.

The gritty, exciting Full Mortality by Sasscer Hill (Wildside Press, $13.95), is set on Maryland race tracks, where protagonist Nikki Latrelle is a female jockey attempting to survive in a man's world. And a rough world it is, too. Nikki's world is as dirty as it is glamorous, packed with physical violence, betting scams, and insurance rip-offs, where horses and humans often pay the ultimate price. Simply because of her gender, the gutsy Nikki is so loathed by some male jockeys that one engineers an on-track accident that kills her horse and injures her. When the jockey is later found murdered, Nikki becomes the main suspect and is warned off the track, which dries up her income. Now she can't even make her rent, let alone pay the board bill for the horse she rescued from a slaughterhouse. To keep body and soul together, she takes a job at another stable, only to find herself surrounded by drug addicts and felons, and other horses headed to the glue factory. Determined to win back her place at her home track, she starts digging into the jockey's death. In between post calls and pay outs, we learn about the blood beneath the glitter, the hand-to-mouth existence that most jockeys endure. Mortality is a thrilling, eye-opening read written by a former steeplechase jockey who now breeds racehorses. Hill knows what she's writing about. - Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine, Winter Issue 2011



I was born with horses in my veins and started galloping about the family farm on a stick horse when I was four years old. By the time I was seven or eight, I was sneaking rides on the Belgian plow horses. I did this because my father didn't like horses and considered ponies dangerous. So instead, I drummed my heels on the sides of a 2,000 pound draft mare, while grasping whatever string or rope I managed to tie to her halter.

This year, with my first book being published, I've looked to that past and dedicated my horse racing mystery to the two people who recognized and nurtured the horses that raced in my veins - Rhoda Christmas Bowling and Alfred H. Smith, Sr.

Rhoda is probably America's first female sports writer. She wrote a racing column for the Washington Times Herald in the nineteen forties. She bred Maryland racehorses, and held a trainer's license, too. She had a fiery temper, often cursed like a sailor, and threw society parties that could turn Mary Lou Whitney green with envy. Rhoda's brother, Edward Christmas, trained the legendary Gallorette, the mare that won the Metropolitan and Brooklyn Handicaps, the 1948 Whitney Stakes, and beat the champion colt Stymie. Beat him three times.

Rhoda had a lovely estate in Upper Marlboro named Bellefields where she gave me my earliest riding lessons on a dappled, grey rescue horse named Blue Bantam. I first met Rhoda at a birthday party held for her niece, Edward Christmas's daughter, Kitsi. It was one those dreaded events where I was forced into a fussy little dress and patent leather shoes. Kitsi, a motherless child with curly red hair, squirmed in an equally frilly outfit. Like me, she was only five or six, but must have recognized a kindred soul, for we snuck off, found a creek, and returned covered in mud. Kitsi and I have been friends ever since, and my only regret is that I never met her father, who died not long after that party.

Rhoda visited my father at our farm, Pleasant Hills, when I was seven or eight. It was summer, and we sat on wicker chairs on the front porch, where I soon realized Rhoda was intent on persuading my father to buy me a pony.

It was ridiculous, she said, when he owned a farm and had a tenant who kept plow horses, anyway.

I sat, tensely watching them bat the argument back and forth. I prayed Rhoda would win, but my father wasn't having it. When Rhoda left, I was crushed. I'd been so close.

My father died when I was sixteen, and Alfred H. Smith Sr., owner of 1966 Eclipse Champion steeplechaser, Tuscalee, took me under his wing, probably because my mother told him I was a handful and headed for trouble.

Mr. Smith, as I always called him, took me out horseback riding with his family, and after determining I could ride, he took me foxhunting, putting me on a just-off-the-track Thoroughbred, named Hillmar. Those were some wild hunts. I confess I committed the sin of "passing the master" several times, pulling vainly on the bit stuck firmly between Hillmar's teeth. But I'd found a place to channel that teenage passion, and my grades improved steadily. I wound up graduating from Franklin and Marshall College with honors and a degree in English Literature.

I bought my first broodmare in 1982, to keep my lonely hunter company. I raised her foals, prepped them, and sold them at the Timonium yearling sales. My husband, Daniel Filippelli, and I had no help. We worked full time and took care of the farm ourselves. Work was something to get through until I could be home with the horses.

In 1985, the Smith family gave me another retired steeplechaser named Circus Rullah. A grandson of Nasrullah, that horse would jump anything and carried me to a win over the timber fences at the 1986 Potomac Hunt Races. I've never been so focused or so scared in my life. You don't race to the fences - they rush straight at you.

Above, Sasscer Hill on the lead aboard Circus Rullah on the way to winning the 1986 Potomac Hunt's Foxhunter Timber Race.

By 1992, Barry G. Wiseman - currently the top assistant to Jonathan Sheppard -- was training my home-breds, and I was looking for a new broodmare. Barry liked a Hero's Honor filly that belonged to Maryland trainer Gary Capuano. Bred by Jim McCay's wife and named In Her Honor, she was sore and laid up on a farm on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Trusting Barry, I paid for the horse sight unseen. We drove across the Bay Bridge in a terrible rain and wind storm, in November of 1993 with the horse trailer whipping behind us. We reached the farm and Gary's uncle, Lou Capuano, led us into a dimly lit barn, pointed to a stall and said, "There she is."

A small horse resembling a woolly mammoth glared at us from the depths of the stall.
"Watch yourself, when I bring her out," Lou said, "she's mean and she'll kick you."

What had Barry gotten me into?

But when Lou led her out, she stepped up from that deceptively low stall and towered over me. She had a bowed tendon the size of a melon. Her hair was matted, dirty and wet. We loaded her on my trailer, took her home, and put her in a paddock with a run-in-shed. Disdaining the shed, she stood outside. The hard, cold rain slicked her coat down and revealed a powerful, classic body. As usual, Barry was right.

I bred that mare to the new sire, Not For Love. I named the resulting colt For Love and Honor, and no doubt some of you New Yorkers will remember him running and winning at Saratoga and Aqueduct. He won around $418,000 and so far is the best horse I've bred. But you never know, he has yearling half-brother, named Out For Honor. The colt is by Outflanker, and when he flies around my front field, I recognize the racing in his veins.

Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fabulous 10 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Sea Horse Trade is the third book I have read by Sasscer Hill and after every book I think the next one can't get any better, but believe me, they do. The Sea Horse Trade has more twists and turns than a giant slalom and poor Nikki finds herself slap bang in the middle of trouble from the first page. I loved the new characters, Stella, Klare Voyant and especially Diablo - what a horse! . Sasscer Hill's books are so fast paced, you find yourself actually holding your breath as you are reading - the ending had me gobsmacked for days afterwards. I highly recommend the Sea Horse Trade and I defy anyone not to enjoy it once they start reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellant story 10 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have always enjoyed horse racing fiction and this book is really very good. It is set in the USA which is a complete change for me, I had been an avid Dick Francis fan before but I will be reading more of this author's work and I look forward to more coming out.
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This author has a vivid writing style and clearly a detailed knowledge of the US racing scene. Unfortunately what could be a really good book with some judicious editing is let down by a ramshackle plot both ultimately unbelievable and prone to sudden lurches in the narrative. We are expected to believe that the sassy heroine isn't suspicious when a Columbian gangster turns up with three horses to train at the struggling business she works for. When his horse is found to have ingested cocaine after winning a race, there is no mention of contacting him to discuss the impact, it is only mentioned in passing much later in the plot. These are just two examples of the disjointed plot. Shame because the writing is good and with a little more care it could have been a really good book.
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I have read this author's previous books over the years and have enjoyed them all.
I know it's a cliche, but I started reading this book on Friday night and I couldn't put it down. I finished it late on Sunday. Hill tells a good tale and is very easy to read. The chapters are relatively short so you can always read one more (because you want to see what happens next, of course). It is a proper, full-size, novel as it finishes at location 4266 on my Kindle. I will also be getting a printed copy to share with my friends.
Next weekend, I will start re-reading Hill's previous books.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sea Horse Trade 2 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Never read this author before, tried it but didn't like it Its the first heroine book Ive tried but I only got about 30 pages in then gave up
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