cover image Grand Theft Horse

Grand Theft Horse

G. Neri, illus. by Corban Wilkin. Tu Books, $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-62014-855-

In what the author’s introduction calls a “secondhand memoir” about his cousin, G. Neri (Tru & Nelle) details Gail Ruffu’s lifelong love of horses and career as a racehorse trainer. When Ruffu buys her own horse, Urgent Envoy, the partnership turns sour as her co-owner demands to cut corners around the horse’s training and care. To protect Urgent Envoy from likely death, Ruffu rescues the animal on Christmas Eve, whisking him away to a secret location. She faces alienation, years of legal battles, and limited employment opportunities as her former partner makes her life miserable with investigations and surveillance. The narrative focuses primarily on Ruffu’s connection to Urgent Envoy but intersperses early encounters with horses. Using thick outlines, grainy backgrounds, and unflattering depictions, artwork by Wilkin (But I Can’t) evokes Will Eisner’s drawings and articulates the story’s descent into a dark world around racehorses and animal care. Neri’s storytelling captures the everyday dedication and sacrifice behind Ruffu’s tale and manages to feel both potent and unpretentious. Ages 12–up. Agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, [em]Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Sept.) [/em]