Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: BOLD BLOOD by Lindy Kelly

Well, since it's Easter Weekend and I don't have anything Easter-themed to write about, crime fiction-wise, I thought I'd be inspired by the fact I've headed home to Nelson for the weekend, and re-share a review of a Nelson-set crime novel, BOLD BLOOD by Lindy Kelly (who also lives in the region).

BOLD BLOOD by Lindy Kelly (HarperCollins, 2009)
Horse-loving journalist, poet and children’s author Lindy Kelly adopts the old adage, ‘write what you know’, with her crime debut BOLD BLOOD, parlaying her youthful experience as an international eventing rider into a suspense tale set amongst the stables, saddles and sorrels of the New Zealand equestrian world.

Dr Caitlin Summerfield is happily living a hectic Wellington lifestyle, accessorised with overseas travel and a rich boyfriend. Her rural Nelson childhood has been left far behind, along with her emotionally abusive mother.

A fall and a phone call destroy Caitlin’s reverie, and she takes the bunny-hop flight across Cook Strait to return ‘home’. Playing caretaker at her comatose mother’s horse farm, helped by rugged neighbour Dom and multi-pierced teenage groom Kasey, Caitlin scratches beneath the surface of high-tech horse trailers and well-fed thoroughbreds to discover looming financial ruin, and a shot at a million-dollar breeding contract. A contract someone is willing to do anything for. Even kill.

Having published more than 100 short stories, sixteen children’s books, 36 poems, and had her writing feature on National Radio and performed on stage, Kelly told me she had one goal for her first adult thriller. “I wanted to write the sort of book that I like to curl up with for sheer pleasure… something with excitement and adventure, likable strong characters… a few mysteries, a bit of romance, humour, and passion.”

Overall she succeeds, spinning an engaging tale that carries the reader along. She strikes a nice balance - peppering local references, without over-seasoning in any contrived attempt to foist ‘Kiwi-ness’ onto a universal story. Populating a plot of assaults, arsons, horse theft and murder with a diverse cast, Kelly impresses most with her rich portrait of life in the eventing world, along with the way the horses aren’t mere props; but full-blown characters with personalities in their own right.

Although there is the occasional plot misstep, BOLD BLOOD is a good debut – a must read for horse-lovers, and an enjoyable read for anyone.


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Other reviews of BOLD BLOOD:

Have you read BOLD BLOOD? Do murder mysteries set in the equestrian world interest you?


  1. Craig - Glad to hear you enjoyed this. I've read enough good reviews of this one that I really ought to try to get hold of it...