Dark Horse Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Dark Horse

Ex-cop Elena Estes is approached by a 12 yr old girl seeking her missing sister who her parents don't seem be overly concerned about, specially the stepfather. Disappearance comes during major horse show in Palm Springs, FL. and after the mysterious death of a champion jumper. With the assistance of a local policeman, Elena sets out to prove the stepfather may be responsible for the disappearance and maybe the death. Shunned by the local police force for the death of a colleage, Elena has to rely on her wits and the help of a wealthy Palm Beach playboy and friend. Sneaking around horse barns, questioning riders, stablehands, and pretending a love interest in another major suspect may soon prove her undoing as she gets closer to the truth. A stablehand is raped and killed and it appears as if the killer may not be the same person involved in the kidnapping. Two more possibilities come to light along with video tapes that the stepfather has hidden including one demanding a ransom. Elena must also deal with the guilt she has regarding the death of her partner in the police force while surching for the link between the kidnapping, the horse killer and the trainers of champion show horses.But there is a surprise twist to this plot and all is not what it seems.
Click here to see the rest of this review

The review of this Book prepared by Darlene Magdaluyo

   Elena Estes, a former narcotics dective whose career ended abruptly when a stakeout went horribly wrong, killing another detective, is attempting to cope with every day life. She's not only been damanged physically, but emotionally and pyschologically. Since the incident, she has managed to barely hang on to life working as a low profile ranch hand for a close friend. Since cast out of her police society, her only refuge is working with the horses at the ranch. Estes' world is turned further upside down when Molly Seabright, an extremely intelligent 12 year old girl, attempts to hire her to find her older sister Erin, who has been missing for two days.
    As Estes begins to unravel the mystery, the dark ways of the horse world is revealed. There are too many possible suspects and unpredicable characters: Erin's boss, Don Jade, already suspected of horse killing insurance fraud. Tomas Van Zandt, a Belgian horse dealer who's character is threatening and has the motive to kill. Micheal Bern, Don Jade's arch enemy, who has sworn that Jade will pay for his fraudulent ways. Not even Erin's family members can escape questioning.

The review of this Book prepared by Patricia Cabel

After a drug bust gone terribly wrong, ex-sheriff's detective Elena Estes lives on a friend's farm, feeling cast out and alienated from society. When a young girl approaches her and asks for her assistance in locating her missing sister, Estes initially refuses. But the more she learns about the ruthless horse-racing sport that enveloped the missing groom Erin Seabright, the more she finds herself being dragged into a world of corruption, blackmail, and murder...
The review of this Book prepared by LaPierre

Bantam, Sept 2002,26.95, 435 pp.
ISBN 0553801929

For over a decade Elena Estes was a good police officer who justified her solid reputation and respect from her peers with hard work. During a stakeout of two drug dealers, everything she earned goes down the tubes when she disobeys her commander. Elena makes a move on the perps, which ends up with one officer dead and Elena needing reconstructive surgery.

After all the surgery and physical therapy, Elena is physically if not mentally whole since she was kicked off the force. Twelve years old Molly Seabright, thinking Elena is a private detective, wants to hire her to find her older sister Erin. Unable to turn down the little girl, who has stolen a piece of her heart, Elena agrees to investigate. For the first time in a long time she comes alive again and sees a future for herself that might prove albeit a short if she doesn't take extra precautions.

Though it has been too long a time since a Tami Hoag novel was published, fans are going to be surprised with the style of DARK HORSE. There is very little emphasis on romance with the focus of the tale on a protagonist who must learn to go on after she makes a tragic mistake. The mystery itself is a complex cerebral puzzle that will keep readers on edge until all the answers are revealed.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Dark Horse

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 17.5%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 42.5%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   skilled citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings of fear/loss/inadequacy Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   vigilante getting revenge    -   escape/rescue from kidnappers Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   champion of justice Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast    -   California City?    -   Yes City:    -   wealthy Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   ranch    -   lots of descript of animal care

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Dark Horse

Tami Hoag Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian