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By David Ramus

Pocket Books, June 2000, $24.95 (HC)

Reviewed by Anthony Neil Smith

Ramusís interesting and compelling new thriller takes us from a gritty federal prison to the stables of Atlantaís horse breeding upper-class. Sounds like a cross between Jim Thompson and Dick Francis, but the story itself rises above such comparison. Ben Hemmings, a man in jail for something he didnít do, narrates the story, telling us of his struggle to make it back to his family and a normal life. He used to build barns and stables for the horse breeding set, but he becomes unwittingly involved in an illegal transaction. He refuses to trade info for freedom, and has to serve time.

Luckily for him, his experience with the horse breeding class makes him a perfect mole for the Feds when an interesting problem arises. Is this his ticket back to the outside? Is it worth it?

Ramus keeps us interested in Benís life and problems. Being out doesnít solve everything, and we struggle with him in his mission, his last hope to hold on to his wife and kids. Beyond the criminal element here, the personal story is told with the same suspenseful care as the main storyline, which takes this thriller to a higher level than the usual run of the mill books.

Other titles by this author include: THIEF OF LIGHT and THE GRAVITY OF SHADOWS.

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