New author beats the odds with a thoroughbred of a thriller

Secretariat Reborn, by Susan Klaus. Oceanview Publishing. 280 pages. $26.95.

Can another horse as magnificent as Secretariat come along? In the imagination of Susan Klaus, that’s exactly what happens. The complications that follow are artfully developed to create the same kind of suspense one feels when the thundering hoofbeats of thoroughbreds pound toward the finish line.  SecretariatRebornHi-res3-D

Christian Roberts, a handsome blond fellow in his mid-twenties, makes a modest living from renting small sailboats and providing various services to boaters on Sarasota Bay. Long estranged from his father, a down-on-his luck horse trainer in Ocala, Chris enjoys a blistering relationship with his sex-crazed and increasingly possessive girlfriend, Kate.

Learning that his father , Hank, is nearing death, Christian (hereafter, Chris) makes his way to the dilapidated Ocala farm and begins a slow reconciliation with the bossy, judgmental man who always chose the thrill of the horse raising and horse racing world over time with his own son.  He forces a “sure-thing” race horse upon Chris, who reluctantly agrees to play into his father’s dreams of having the big winner. 

Susan Klaus and friend

Susan Klaus and friend

The horse turns out to be a great prospect, but a crooked trainer, Ed Price, hides its talent through falsifying time trials, then puts it in a claiming stakes race assuring Chris that no one would make the offer.  When an Arab sheik, in league with trainer Ed Price, claims the winning  horse, Chris is devastated. He is also broke.Another chance comes when Hank hands over to Chris a marvelous horse whose registration papers obscure the fact that he is a clone of the great Secretariat. Needing to pay off a huge debt on the horse, Chris succumbs to taking a loan from a New York mob kingpin named (of course) Vince. Soon enough, Chris is paying off his debt by participating in drug transfers for Vince in Gulf Coast waters. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the October 3, 2013 Naples Florida Weekly, the October 30 Fort Myers edition, and the November 14 Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter edition,click here: Florida Weekly – Susan Klaus

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