Shame the Devil

Alan J. Leavitt, Author, Alan J. Leavitt, Other Dutton Books $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55611-006-1
Hardcore fans of harness racing might find some appeal in this novel set against the background of high-stakes trotters. Otherwise, its lures are few. The writing is often amateurish and the story lackluster as Leavitt recounts the exploits of trainer and driver Johnny Behn, who takes the titular Shame the Devil, a three-year-old pacing colt that others have found incorrigible, and trains him for the most prestigious race in the trotting world. Gradually impinging on the background details of Johnny's craft is a shadowy pair of men who run the racetrack where Johnny is employed and who, it turns out, are also involved in drug smuggling. But this belated stab at trying to introduce some mystery or suspense into what has been a tepid sports story is unconvincing. Though a veteran of the harness-racing world, Leavitt is no threat to Dick Francis when it comes to horses and mysteries. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
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