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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! I've discovered a new author to add to my Favourites.
After a very stressful week attending to family business, I decided to treat myself to the eighth Stephanie Plum novel to read on the train back home .. and as luck would have it, the station bookshop had an offer of "two for a tenner" so I mosied around for a while trying to decide on my other selection.
I chose Dark Horse despite knowing nothing about Tami Hoag's...
Published on 25 Jun 2003 by ImReallyAnElf

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough horse
In a former life, Elena Estes was a cop. In her present life, she's an angry, blunt, and suicidal ex-cop who made a mistake on the job that cost another cop's life. When 12-year-old Molly Seabright searches Elena out for help in finding her missing 18-year-old sister, Erin, Elena's hiding out on a friend's Florida ranch with her horse. Elena protests that she's not even a...
Published on 1 Mar 2003 by Anna Klein


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! I've discovered a new author to add to my Favourites., 25 Jun 2003
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
After a very stressful week attending to family business, I decided to treat myself to the eighth Stephanie Plum novel to read on the train back home .. and as luck would have it, the station bookshop had an offer of "two for a tenner" so I mosied around for a while trying to decide on my other selection.
I chose Dark Horse despite knowing nothing about Tami Hoag's books because (a) the story revolves around the horse world and I'm into horses and (b) because she writes in the first person which I much prefer to the old "she gasped", "he stated", narration. Well, it's as good a way as any I know of to choose a new author.
I'd finished the book by the next night, and have just added several more of her previous titles to my wishlist at Amazon, so's I can treat myself to them on payday. Can't get a more sincere recommendation than that!
Dark Horse has a believable plot line, a heroine who's likeable, tough AND vulnerable (although I did get frustrated with her a few times, since I didn't think her guilt-trip, a central theme in the book, was altogether justified) and some really fine supporting characters.
Hoag draws a really sympathetic picture of the child in the story, involving her readers in insights to the psychology and dynamics of families and personality, but does it so light-handedly that you only realise after you've put the book down rather than finding it a distraction or patronising.

Some of the story was a tad grittier than I'd have liked, but as nothing was superflous to the needs of the plot, I can't really complain.
The tension really did build, and I was guilty of my besetting sin .. flipping a quick peek at the last couple of pages to make sure it had an ending I could live with ;-)
My only complaints would be that I'd have liked a couple of the supporting characters to be more fully developed, and I'd have appreciated a little more on the romance side .. but then I'm the sort of person who won't watch the news because it depresses me so much ...
In summary, I'd recommend Dark Horse as an intelligently written, engrossing story, with characters you'd like to meet again in a future book; plenty of action, one EXCELLENT demise of a bad guy (think Arnold Schwarzenegger movies & "over the top")and overall a really satisfying read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars page-turning thriller with feisty heroine, 8 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Horse (Hardcover)
Dark Horse is something of a departure in style from Tami Hoag's previous novels - it's less formulaic than her early novels and has much less focus on romance; the result is a more mature novel.
Dark Horse is a story of violence, kidnap and murder set on the Florida equestrian circuit. The primary character, Elena Estes, is one of the best female characters created by Hoag - she's tough, feisty and streetwise, sharp, witty and intelligent, but vulnerable and on the edge, finding it difficult to rebuild her life after a tragic mistake 2 years before destroyed her career and way of life.
Elena is reluctantly drawn into investigating a kidnapping when a desperate 12-year-old girl tries to hire her after mistakenly thinking she's a private investigator. The relationship Elena develops with the girl, and her deep involvement in the case ultimately start her on the road to salvation.
I hope that Hoag will use the characters of Elena and Landry in future novels - they are certainly strong enough characters with scope for further development. They work well together, have a good rapport and some very funny exchanges. It would be a shame to use them in only one novel.
I would definitely recommend this novel to Tami Hoag fans, but also fans of crime fiction in general. She always delivers a good novel, and this is a real page turner - one of her strongest novels yet.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What a great story., 3 Oct 2002
This review is from: Dark Horse (Hardcover)
I have been waiting for over a a year for a new Hoag novel and this one was definitely not a let down. This story was not what I expected, a change from her previous works but this made it all the more entertaining and unpridictable, so many red herrings I could not even guess who the bad guys were or where the story was heading. I loved the way the story was told through the main charactor, a very bolshy ex police officer trying to overcome her traumatic past, great idea, great read. Can't wait for the next one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, 4 Feb 2006
A gripping thriller with multiple plots. Nail biting, but ultimately a story of redemption.
I can't praise it highly enough. One of my all time favourite books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - You'll read this again and again, 14 Mar 2005
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This review is from: Dark Horse (Unbound)
This is one of the best thriller books I have read in a long, long time. I don't know a fetlock from a foot locker, but it really isn't important if you are into the horse world or not. It just makes a fascinating background to what is superb storytelling. The plot is wonderful and the ending completely unpredictable, I doubt if anyone could work it out in advance. However, apart from the great plot, what I really loved about the book was the development of the central characters. The girl, Molly, a pivotal character, really tugged on the heart strings, but it was the initially reluctant heroine and hero, who just leap off the page. I wished they could have had more scenes together, but it was really refreshing not to have everything revealed at once. I think the romance angle was perfectly pitched. It developed over the book through a growing respect for each other's professional abilities, humanity and guts, and you just knew at the end of the book they would be good for each other because it wasn't based on the surface stuff as you find in so many other books. The relationship was much more realistic than books where they fall into each other's arms, or bed, within a few chapters. I borrowed this book from a friend and it was so good I had to go out and buy my own copy because I wanted to read it all over again, and I have, twice, in the space of a month. It was so good I never wanted it to end and would love to see the two central characters continuing in another book. The subliminal messages of not judging a person by the attitudes of others, rebuilding one's life, that one error of judgement doesn't make you a bad person, that you don't have to look perfect to be valued, and above all of hope in the future was uplifting. I also like Sue Grafton's books, some of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich (but not the absolutely dire rubbish Metro Girl) and the later works of Sandra Brown, but this book knocked them all into a cocked hat. It was simply the best novel I have read for years - an absolute classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough horse, 1 Mar 2003
This review is from: Dark Horse (Hardcover)
In a former life, Elena Estes was a cop. In her present life, she's an angry, blunt, and suicidal ex-cop who made a mistake on the job that cost another cop's life. When 12-year-old Molly Seabright searches Elena out for help in finding her missing 18-year-old sister, Erin, Elena's hiding out on a friend's Florida ranch with her horse. Elena protests that she's not even a PI, but Molly, wise and scared and painfully old for her years, is hard to put off. And it soon becomes apparent no one else is looking for the missing girl. Erin's parents don't care. Erin's former boyfriend tells Elena she's way out of line. At the stable where Erin worked, a valuable horse has been mysteriously killed. When Elena tries to bring the case to the attention of her former employers, she's handed over to Detective James Landry, who dislikes her on sight and refuses help. She shares his disaffection, but there's a girl missing and a lot of strange things happening in the horse show business and if he won't do anything she'll do it herself. Elena the dark horse finally has a second chance.
A couple of days ago I took DARK HORSE out of the library again, forgetting I'd already read it five months ago, and so had another go at it. It wasn't much better the second time. The equestrian angle is very interesting and I would have enjoyed this book if it had spent more time in the stables and on the show ground, but after the kidnapping took the spotlight I grew increasingly bored and incredulous. Also, while I enjoyed the chapters written from Elena's first-person perspective, I found the jumps to the third person accounts disjointed. The best part of this novel is the high tension between Landry and Elena, and Tami Hoag would have done well to keep this strictly a horse mystery while stepping up the romance.
Readers seeking tightly woven and credible mysteries would do well to look elsewhere, but equestrians and fans of Tami Hoag will probably find DARK HORSE worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favourite book, 7 Mar 2006
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
Gripping from start to finish. Involved plot, but a great book for serious readers who want more than cookie cutter thrillers.
I would definitely recommend this to others, even if you have no interest in the horse world. I would definitely buy more of Tami Hoag's books with Elena Estes and James Landry. Two imperfect, but great characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 23 July 2004
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
This book was given to my mum by her sister to read because she she thought that it was a good book to read. After my mum had finished it I started to read it. I started to read it and I kept saying at each chapter, I'll read to the next chapter then I'll stop, and I kept saying it over and over again. This book built up the tension whilst you were reading it. Every day I was walking faster to get home after school so I could carry on reading it. I'm not going to tell you what happens in it because it will spoil it but the twist near the end was a real suprise to me. I have just started to re-read it again and as before I can't put it down. I have horses myself and I thought this book was really believable although some part were too real and upset me slightly, but it all adds to the book. I can only describe this book in one word - Excellent. It is more ranged for 15years +
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 4 Feb 2006
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
One of the best and most complex thrillers I have read in ages. Not a cookie cutter author and not for readers who can't follow multiple plot lines.
Worth every penny. I'd definitely recommend this author and in particular this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - One to read again and again, 14 Mar 2005
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I have read in a long, long time. I don't know a fetlock from a foot locker, but it really isn't important if you are into the horse world or not. It just makes a very interesting background to what is superb storytelling. The plot is wonderful and the ending completely unpredictable, I doubt if anyone could work it out in advance. However, apart from the great plot, what I really loved about the book was the development of the central characters. The girl, Molly, a pivotal character, really tugged on the heart strings, but it was the initially reluctant heroine and hero, who just leap off the page. I wished they could have had more scenes together, but it was really refreshing not to have everything revealed at once. I think the romance angle was perfectly pitched. It developed over the book through a growing respect for each other's professional abilities, humanity and guts, and you just knew at the end of the book they would be good for each other because it wasn't based on the surface stuff as you find in so many other books. The relationship was much more realistic than books where they fall into each other's arms, or bed, within a few chapters. I borrowed this book from a friend and it was so good I had to go out and buy my own copy because I wanted to read it all over again, and I have, twice, in the space of a month. It was so good I never wanted it to end and would love to see the two central characters continuing in another book. The subliminal messages of not judging a person by the attitudes of others, rebuilding one's life, that one error of judgement doesn't make you a bad person, that you don't have to look perfect to be valued, and above all of hope in the future was uplifting. I also like Sue Grafton's books, some of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich (but not the absolutely dire rubbish Metro Girl) and the later works of Sandra Brown, but this book knocked them all into a cocked hat. It was simply the best novel I have read for years - an absolute classic.
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Dark Horse
Dark Horse by Tami Hoag (Paperback - 3 July 2003)
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