In which we pause this blog for some book reports: good books for horse-lovers

Those who know me know that there's only a few things I value as much as a really good ride on a really good horse. 

On the days that the weather just won't cooperate, though, it's nice to have something almost as good:

for example:
a really fun book about a really good ride on a really good horse.

I read most of Laura Crum's books when they were first published--and I'd forgotten most of the plot details in the intervening decades (Cutter was originally published in 1994!).  I recently re-read some of the books at the author's request, and enjoyed them just as much as when they were new--maybe more.  After all these years, I remembered what I enjoyed most about the series:  that the author (and the main character, veterinarian Gail McCarthy) talks about horses the way my friends and I talk about horses. 

We might joke about our magical winged ponies, but my friends and I don't devolve into the "sparkle-pony gushing" featured in so many horse books (ahem, Mercedes Lackey, I am talking to you!!!). 

Gail McCarthy's horse Gunner doesn't sparkle and he doesn't poop rainbows.  He doesn't magically intuit the identity of the badguy(s), and he doesn't run for help when Timmy falls into the well.  In Laura Crum's books, the fictional horses run, they sweat, and they bleed just like real horses because the fictional horses are based on Laura's real horses. 
author Laura Crum and real-life Gunner
(image stolen from an online source)
Let's face it: if you can't spend the day with a real horse and with real horse people, the next-best-thing is to spend the day with a fictional horse person who acts just like real horse people act.

In Cutter, book #1 of the Gail McCarthy mystery series, Dr. McCarthy DVM is called out to treat seven colicky horses--and the horses' trainer is sure that they have been poisened by a rival trainer.  It turns out the trainer was right...but he doesn't get to gloat about it, because by the time the lab results come back, the trainer is dead and Gail McCarthy is plunged into her very first mystery.  This book introduces a lot of long-running characters: a skeptical detective, a handsome boyfriend, and some other horse owners and riders.  

And, of course, there are the horses.  Never forget the horses, Best Beloved!

In Hoofbeats, book #2 in the series, Gail shows up to a routine vet appointment and finds a hungry horse and two dead people.  Once again, the police beg her to butt out, but she continues to investigate the various shady suspects: the parents and siblings of the deceased, an untrustworthy horse-dealer, and a few others. 

Great fun, and more great horses.

This evening I finished reading book #3: Roughstock, which is my favorite of the series thus far. 
cool, spooky cover
Dr. McCarthy meets up with an old friend from vet school while they are both attending a veterinary conference in Lake Tahoe.  However, Joanna has changed since school days:  she is no long a strong-minded and independent woman.  Instead, Gail's old friend has fallen badly in love (as so many female characters in this series do) and completely lost her spine in the process.  Gail is dismayed at the change, but she still can't believe that Joanna is the culprit when another conference attendee turns up dead. 

So, blog readers who long to read these fun titles, here's a great deal for you:  Laura is re-releasing her mystery books on Kindle, for

(drumroll please)

99 cents.

Truthfully, I can't even drive to the library to pick up hardback copies of the books without spending a lot more than 99 cents in fuel, and bus fare to the bookstore is even more than that!  If you are a Kindle reader looking for something to keep your brain busy while the weather is tumbling down around you, treat yourself to a little fictional fun.

Link to Cutter on Kindle HERE.
Link to Hoofprints on Kindle HERE.
Link to Roughstock on Kindle HERE.

Coming soon: a book report for another, completely different, book for horse-lovers.


  1. Yay! You write way better book reviews than I do. I just finished #2 and I'm going to read that Woodcutter book someone recommended to me before I dive into #3.

  2. Thanks for the great review, Aarene. I'm so glad you enjoyed the books.


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