Friday, March 6, 2009

Hot Blood by Ken Englade:a true crime book review

Helen Branch left behind a huge fortune - and a mystery that would haunt the nation for year to come. A coal-miner's daughter, she was a beautiful hat-check girl who snagged a millionaire...only to become an eccentric, pet-loving widow who, one day, disappeared without a trace. Was she a victim of "The Galloping Gigolo?" Richard Bailey was an admitted swindler who spent years persuading rich women to invest in bum horses...even though he claims not to have harmed Helen Branch. Other suspects included a champion rider and an Olympic hopeful - each with dangerous connections to wealthy horsemen, and both with cold-blooded schemes to achieve their mission. One man is dead-set on finding out. When Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Miller launched an investigation into Helen Branch's death, he went from the polo grounds of Palm Beach to the lavish horse farms of Connecticut to Kentucky's thoroughbred stables in search of answers. What he learned would cast a dark shadow on one of America's favourite pastimes...

The title of this book "Hot Blood" is derived from the term used for thoroughbreds in the insider horse world.First off I did not enjoy this book.The story plot is not very interesting to start off with and this specific book has a lot of information to digest and so many names to keep track of,names of horses and names of people and the story keeps jumping back and forth and it requires a lot of concentration to keep track of everything that is going on.I was constantly paging back to re acquaint myself with some characters just so I could keep track of the story.It is also a very "technical" story without much of an emotional element so that is a further reason why I did not enjoy it so much.For the logical and fact hungry people this book should be a pleasure though.

To give credit to the writer Ken Englade this must have been a very difficult story to write as there is so much information and to try and keep to a specific timeline must have been a mind boggling quest.I think he did the best job he could with all the information at hand and I doubt any other writer could have bettered this.

Another reason I did not enjoy this book is the actual characters.They seem to be set in an age that is not in the least bit interesting to me.

What I did learn however is how the horse world operates and the many scams out there and how deceitful humans will always find a way to do in their fellow human beings.I do not regard reading this book as a complete waste of time as I learnt quite a bit that otherwise I would never have found out about outside of this book.

I give credit to the writer and the police who followed this over many years and eventually emerged successful in their chase of these scam artists.If you want proof of how much our police and detective force actually do out there this is the perfect book to read.Their determination and tenacity towards solving this case should dispel any doubts about how important a police force is and how valuable it is to have dedicated police force personnel protecting us and our families.

I read this book in August 2008.
It has 335 pages and 8 pages of pictures.To help stay abreast of the story there is a list of names of people in the story and description of how they feature in the story,also a list of important "horse" terms so you dont get lost while reading and a list or timeline of important events as they occur.Those are at the end of the book so it is quite easy to access in order to help you read and keep track.In fact I suggest you get this book and take on this challenge.If you conquer it then you know you will have exercised your brain.This can be your brain triathlon.

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