Bad Apple; Michael Jackson
You don't read many mystery novels where the protagonist is a combination livestock broker and private investigator but that's just what Cletus Parr happens to be. The title refers to the most celebrated cutting horse on the planet. The case starts with the murder of Bad Apple.
I suppose the closest equivalent here would be early Dick Francis. Wheeler takes us into a sub culture few of us are familiar with, that of the moneyed, ruthless world of cutting horses. If you think think this is hayseed stuff, you're wrong. Enormous sums change hands with the buying and selling of these horses. And where there is enormous money there is enormous temptation. Wheeler gives us a world just as shadowy as any major sport with plenty of bad guys and and more than a little violence.
I recommend this book both for its unique setting and for the wry way Wheeler tells his story. Early on we hear of cutting horses named Herpes and Clap. If you've read anything by Richard Wheeler you know that he is a fine writer with his own style and own take on this vale of tears. This is not only a very good mystery it's also an introduction to yet another form of competition that has been corrupted by greed and egotism.
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From Jack O'Connell
Just read your words on jackson's death and they made me feel a little less nuts and out-of-touch. Here's what I jotted in the notebook on Friday night:
The only thing he ever sold that I liked was the song, “Ben.” And I was 12 years old. And the song was about a pet rat. I accept the seemingly unanimous public opinion that he was a world-class entertainer. (Berry Gordy, who knows something about talent, called him, “one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived.” Quincy Jones called him, “the consummate entertainer” and “a genius” and said his songs will live forever.) I accept that there was likely something deficient in me that simply couldn’t see it. I found his voice annoying. His dance moves contrived and repetitious. His videos ridiculous. Yes, it appears he had a tortured childhood that likely determined much of his bizarre adult life. But to me, he was always just a hyped-up, vapid, glitzy lounge singer.