Review: Shedrow

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The opening scene sets the stage for what has to be the most terrifying experience in the life of a surgeon. What would cause the mob to want hurt and maim a well-known surgeon?

What would is behind their devious and diabolical plan to destroy this man? Dr. Anthony Gianni is about to undergo some unwanted surgery at the hand of a maniacal killer. Why? That remains to be revealed.

Dr. Anthony Gianni is a plastic surgeon looking for an exciting diversion away from his medical practice and his loveless marriage. Enter an opportunity to buy into a percentage of a racehorse and let the games begin. The author introduces the reader not only to the world of plastic surgery but in depth to that of horseracing and the behind the scenes intrigue and action.

A Shedrow is a row or double row of horse barns at a racetrack, having a separate stall for each of the horses and fronting a walkway according to the dictionary. The care of the horses is in many hands and  the security in these barns should be tight to protect the horses and those taking care of them. But, sometimes those we entrust we the care of the most precious things in our lives are the ones that often betray us. Friends are not what they appear to be and events are sometimes manipulated and orchestrated for appearances as I review this outstanding novel Shedrow by author Dean DeLuke.

Chiefly Endeavor is a prize winning horse that Gianni bought a piece of. Proud of his investment and quite attached to this horse he and his partners are thrilled when he keeps winning races. But, often times good things come to an end when the control is taken away from you and turned over to others without your knowledge and what happens next you won’t believe.

As Chiefly Endeavor, Gianni’s horse begins winning races other set backs occur. Owning 25 percent of the horse along with three others soon changes as one man buys out two of the partners and things begin to change. Just who is Chester Pawlek and what are his reasons for wanting a huge stake in this horse. Appearances are deceiving and added to this mix are several patients that Gianni operates own whose surgeries are due to the handiwork of the mob. Sometimes the purse you receive for a horse is larger when the horse is gone.

Horrific thought but true to say the least. So, who is behind all of this? What part does Pawlek play and why are the others involved? This and much more remains to be seen. As Gianni becomes enveloped in his new found interest, and reaps the benefits of many of the wins along with his partners and the owners of the farm, several horses are killed, victims of something called sponging causing nasal and breathing problems setting the stage for what is about to happen next. Their connection might be related to the sponging of three horses and possibly the death of Chiefly Endeavor.

As Gianni learns of the death of his prize horse, Chiefly Endeavor and Chester Pawlek disappears and many lives are lost along the way. He and his close friend veterinarian Steven Highet search for why the horse was infected with the equine herpes virus and who would profit from his death. Threatened by the mob, instructed to stay out of the investigation into the horse’s death, the death of a gate attendant and much more, Gianni is caught in a web so tightly woven and spun it might never be untangled.

Racing fans enjoy the rush of watching their favorite cross the finish line. Trainers, jockeys, owners and gamblers alike wait with baited breath until the final turn,  the horses round the last stretch and the winners are announced: Win- Place or Show. Partnerships can be lucrative if handled the right way. But, Dr. Anthony Gianni, Brad Hill and two others will learn that not everything is what it seems and some partnerships are often severed with the flick of a knife. Owning several horses, breeding rights or the purse from the winners’ circles would increase many bank accounts keeping everyone in the money. But, as the truth about why Chester Pawlek bought out two of the partners in Midway Farms things change and the stakes are no longer in Gianni’s favor. Just why was Chiefly Endeavor their prize horse infected with the equine herpes virus? Was he sick? No! Did someone make sure he would die? Yes?

As you hear the announcer’s voice, the starting gun beginning the race and the horses going around the track you feel the excitement as each race is vividly described allowing the reader to enter the world of racing, experience the race and exhilaration of the winners. The winner’s circle is the end prize and some will do anything to get there. But, when one horse becomes a liability to several and his winnings alive not as lucrative as the insurance would pay in his death, things take a nasty turn for not just Gianni but others too.

Chester Pawlek was into the mob for millions and needed a way out. Threatened by the mob and given instructions as to how his debt would be repaid would cost many lives not just that of the horse. As Chiefly Endeavor’s body is found and a full investigation into his death begun, Gianni and his vet friend Steven Highet do some detective work of their own with the help of Ryan Fischer a smart and savvy vet student who uncovers more than she should and puts his own life on the line.

What would one hermit and some of his friends have to do with the murders of the horses and that of some of the employees of the farm? Revenge is one motive but this one you won’t believe and the reasons behind it you need to find out for yourself. But, when Chester disappears why would someone close to him want to assist the police in their investigation and how does his disappearance change the complexion of the events and bring other truths to light?

From Saratoga, to the Kentucky Hill Folk, New York’s high society, Manhattan, mob connections, prominent doctors, bets, stable hands and more this medical mystery/ thriller is jam packed with sharp and deadly edges that will cut deep wounds that will never heal as the deceptions increase, the lies mount up and the players come to their final turn to see who wins, who dies, who comes out ahead and who makes it to the final finish line.

Janice Gianni loves the high life. She hates waiting around for her husband to come home. Theirs is a loveless marriage. Wanting more she forms her own alliance with someone hoping to come out ahead, forge a different kind of partnership and use someone close to her to provide the information needed and the end result she and her new partner desire. But, what she gets and the end result will make you think twice before crossing the line. Outer beauty is all that matters to her and material gain even more. Her final payoff will not be what she or the reader expects.

As the pieces start to fit together and the finish line is coming into view the final surprises will be revealed, the end result you won’t see coming and the outcome will leave room for much more to come in the lives of many. When faced with the truth and confronted with what really happened to Chiefly Endeavor, one doctor’s life will change, another will find a new path in life and some will lose much more. Working with the poor, volunteering in the poorest hospital in St. Lucia, Dr. Anthony Gianni learns many hard lessons and begins to see things in a different light.

Loyalties, friendships, lies, deceits, betrayals and hate are just part of what is brought to light in this novel. Trusting those close to you will not always be wise. Corruption runs deep, threats run high and one horse that pays the ultimate price. Author Dean Deluke created a plot so intricate, intense, unparalleled to any mystery/ thrillers that I have read and reviewed in the past bringing the reader up close and right into the world of crime, horseracing, greed, revenge and much more.

But, it’s not over yet and the ending will keep the reader wanting for more and hoping that the author will write the next chapter in the life of Anthony Gianni and what is next for him. Revenge: The Final One: Has Yet To Come! This is one novel that is a must read for everyone. Racing lovers will want to put this book on their shelves and Dean DeLuke’s novel is equal to that of Brad Thor, Robin Cook, Michael Palmer and Linda Fairstein.

Who crosses the finish line at the end?  You need to find that out for yourself since I would never reveal the winner beforehand nor would I ever fix a race.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer
This book gets Five Gold Horseshoes.

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