cover image Murder at the Racetrack

Murder at the Racetrack

, . . Mysterious, $24.95 (361pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-018-7

Penzler's third sports-themed anthology (after Murder at the Foul Line ) is slow out of the gate but soon hits its stride. The opener, "Keller by a Nose," Lawrence Block's confused mix of stamp collecting and off-track betting, is followed by Ken Bruen's "The Return of the Thin White Dude... Screaming," a sordid tale of drugs and gambling. Things begin to get on track with Jan Burke's "Zuppa Inglese," in which intrigue surrounds the apparent suicide of a horse owner and restaurateur whose precocious son falls victim to an amateurish kidnap plot. "Yellow Mama's Long Weekend" by Lorenzo Carcaterra explores the sensitive relationship between a lovable steed and his debt-ridden trainer. Gambling addiction figures in Max Collins's taut South Side Chicago procedural "That Kind of Nag." Tension builds before the big race in Joyce Carol Oates's "Meadowlands," in which glamour-boy Fritzi Czechi sees betting on horses not as gambling but "an art." Other notable contributors include Thomas H. Cook, Michelle Martinez and Scott Wolven. (Apr.)