Poisoned Pen Press, Nov 2003, 24.95, 319 pp.
He saw a man executed and was nearly killed himself. Twenty-two years old Steve Cline has recovered but is still emotionally fragile and unable to return to his job at Foxdale Horse Farm. He is estranged from his wealthy and prominent family but when he learns that his father was killed, he returns home for the funeral. His angry and embittered brother Robert tells Steve that he was not biologically related to the individual he thought was his father.
When he confronts his mother, she admits that his biological father is racehorse trainer Kessler working out of Washington Park. When he finally tells Kessler who he is, the man tells him that he is glad to have a son. When he learns his father is having trouble with an unknown person who wants him to fix the races, Steve volunteers to go undercover to find the guilty parties. In the course of his inquiries, a co-worker is murdered and Steve comes within a pixel of losing his life too.
Kit Ehrman has a unique voice that makes DEAD MAN'S TOUCH an exciting amateur sleuth tale. The protagonist, rather young in physical years, has experienced so much that he comes across as a mature person so familiar with death that he realizes it can strike without warning at anytime. There is a lot of action in this straightforward mystery much of it dealing with a protagonist who refuses to stay down after being threatened and battered. DEAD MAN'S TOUCH is as good as the works of Dick Francis.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner