A guest review by Jane Davis of the mystery by Kit Ehrman.
In At Risk, by Kit Ehrman, the action begins on the first page with abductions, violence, and attempted murder as the reader plummets along scarcely aware of the name or even gender of the protagonist. The plot develops simultaneously as the principle character, twenty year old Steve Cline, is introduced. Since this is a first novel the author drops hints at Steveís background thus leaving room for developments in other areas.
Steve is in charge of a large commercial stable where horses are boarded, trained, and shown. Although quite young Steve has already made an impression in the area so when he stumbles onto someone loading horses in the wee hours of the morning into an unfamiliar trailer he sets out after them thereby putting himself and the horses "At Risk." Narrowly escaping death he continues sleuthing on his own taking risks several times as he tries to find out who is stealing horses and why. Insurance scams, new housing developments, a sexy older woman with insatiable desires, several quite unsavory characters, a hard-working detective and a cute young horsewoman vie for Steveís attention as he plunges ahead in search of answers.
Ehrman does an excellent with young Cline. He is a very believable twenty year old. In some areas he is quite competent while in others he refuses to heed advice or take his time and evaluate a situation but simply plunges ahead. Foolhardiness, temper, and impetuousness are viable characteristics for his age which make him quite credible. His overactive hormones are equally authentic. I did wonder if the sexy Elsa Timbrook was truly as vampish as Steve tells us or was there a touch of wishful thinking involved. As is age appropriate he angers easily, wears his heart on his sleeve and is very conscious of any hint of condescension.. Was his job performance affected in any way as he was so often attacked, beaten, or assaulted?. I liked him which made it easier to overlook some of the plot twists or lack of.
I figured out the motive behind all the machinations fairly early in my reading and thought it was unfair of the author to withhold a few facts until the last pages. Once everyone had all the pieces to the puzzle it was a cinch to solve. Even then one personís behavior and attitudes toward relatives was strange and out of character and remained unexplainable.
I look forward to reading more about Steve Cline and hope to watch him mature so further adventures will keep him from being continually "at risk."