Friday, 2 September 2016

Extracts of Horse Flesh by Tina Sugarman - Blog Tour

    “ The ghost of Theo Vettore, wearing a black cowboy hat and leather chaps, was heading straight for him. The hair on Crawfish’s neck stood up on end. Vettore’s spirit was moving like a robot, his eyes blank, his face expressionless. Crawfish had heard that you could walk right through a ghost and it wouldn’t even notice. He waited until the last second, then lost his nerve and lurched sideways, ending up in the gutter. 
    “Hey, Vettore!” he shouted out, mustering his courage after the phantom had passed by. But he might as well have been talking to the wall. The ghost kept on going. But something about him just wasn’t right. While he was alive, Vettore had been a cocky son of a gun, swaggering around the Race Barn like he owned the place. Not anymore though. Still, Crawfish reasoned, death’d do that to a guy, wouldn’t it? ”  


     “ It was so cold that ice crystals were forming in the air. A breeze sprang up. Snowflakes came floating down from a darkening sky, swirling around the little family, encircling them in a world of their own. The woman was pregnant, Phil realized, swallowing hard, unable to explain away the lump in his throat. The boy was looking at him curiously. Phil stared back. The scene was searing itself into his brain with the ferocity of surgical steel. 
    “Be seeing you all,” he cried. Then without further ado, he jumped into his car and sped off down the laneway onto the icy road, fighting back the tears. And he knew then that nothing would ever be the same for him. 
    How could it be?”


   “ Constant vigilance was Lazer’s only defence against tragedy’s bite: bones fractured in the rock hard track in winter, tendons sprung and ligaments ruptured in the spring mud, the speedfest of the summer season which knocked down young horses like ninepins, leaving a ragged column to limp through the fall. What hope did any horse have, really? When it all got too much, Lazer lit up another cigarette.” 


   “ In the darkness, just before dawn, Harmony Light lay dreaming. He dreamt of the land of his birth, Harmony Farm. They were all there, all the colts in his group. The strong bay with the white face, the slender grey, the chunky little black colt, smaller than the rest. Together, they thundered across the wide green meadow, coming to a breathless stop at the white fence. The meandering stream beckoned and the grass tasted so sweet. Petty rivalries, bites and kicks, posturing and play fights. All were forgotten at the end of the day when, safe from the night, noses buried in good clean oats, they huddled together in the run in barn that sheltered them from the hot summer sun and the icy blast of winter. Harmony Light’s legs moved gently. His breathing grew deeper and deeper. He was running, running over the hills, kicking up his heels, chasing the leader who was always just ahead of the pack…
    The noise from the feed room woke him. It was a new day. Evie Mercer was feeding breakfast. “


Amazon UK

Enter the highly competitive world of Standardbred horse racing, in this exhilarating debut from an insider. The story, however, goes far beyond that and touches on universal themes that every reader will recognise. 

You’ll be thrust into the front car on a roller coaster ride, through triumph and disaster, that begins on page one. You’ll feel every twist and turn of the story in the pit of your stomach. You’ll laugh and cry with the rough, tough guys who put on the show, rain or shine. You’ll empathise with the women who give this world a heart.  You’ll meet the cheaters who use horses as pincushions, who want to win at any price.  You’ll get to know the equine athletes who give their all, whatever challenges life throws at them. Last, but not least, you’ll feel the overwhelming sense of community that pervades this world, despite the sharp edges of a highly competitive sport. If that’s not enough, there’s a backstory that will keep you on the edge of your seat, which takes you on a journey from Ontario, Canada to the Rockies, the US, the Caribbean and even the UK. The icing on the cake is an ending full of surprises that will leave you feeling well satisfied.

The characters leap off the page: a brilliant harness horse driver whose drug habit risks costing him everything, his cousin, a trainer who refuses to compromise her integrity, a mysterious individual known only as the Scorpion, lurking in the shadows, pulling the strings, the Director of Racing trying desperately to clean up the industry, his mentor and best friend who has his own agenda, a low life groom who knows too much for his own good, the Canadian Mountie who inadvertently gets involved, with unforeseen consequences, a veterinarian caught between two worlds, young horses unaware of what’s in store for them and trainers whose livelihoods hang by a thread, who face a Hobbesian choice if they are to survive. These are just some of the players in a story where passions run high and where the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, is always blurred. 

Fascinating, fast paced and with shocking twists and turns until the very last, HORSE FLESH is a breakthrough debut novel set to entertain not only horse and racing enthusiasts, but fiction fans looking for a fresh next read.  

About Tina Sugarman
Tina Sugarman has been involved with Standardbred horse racing in Ontario for nearly two decades, spending summers on a horse farm a few kilometres from Mohawk Raceway, the premier harness racing track in Canada. She lives in Poole, Dorset with her husband and their maine coon cat, Juliette and enjoys driving their hackney mare, Mango, in the New Forest.  She still takes a keen interest in the sport. HORSE FLESH by Tina Sugarman (published by Clink Street Publishing September 1st, 2016) is available to order from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.

Horse Flesh is touring around the following great blogs, take a look! 


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