In Bullet Work, by Steve O’Brien, we see the back stages of the horse racing community. It is about the trainers and crews that work the horses, and do the work not seen by the people attending the events. It is a hard but rewarding life full of dangers. O’Brien’s descriptions put you in the paddocks and on the track, making you feel the heat and sweat. The depictions of the situations are brutal, with an eye at realism.
Through it, all you get to know the characters, they are hardworking and gregarious. The horses are their love and they take pride in their jobs. Where winning is everything, it is sometimes a thankless task. However, the work and pride goes on.
A.J. is an anomaly, a lonely young man, except for the horses. They mean everything to him. He has a form of autism, and is incapable of socializing, so is often the butt of jokes and often abused.
This is a wonderful tale, full of stories of the people behind the scenes. It is a mystery and suspense, with a bit of paranormal overtones. People are often interested in the “horse-whispering” phenomena and Steve O’Brien brings it to another level in Bullet Work.
I would recommend this book for reading groups and book clubs. It is interesting and fast paced with plenty of discussion fodder. I would consider it a must read for the Dick Francis fans, just another direction for the aficionados of the horse racing field with is mysteries and suspense, but it is also a wonderful addition to the paranormal scene. This book is a must have for any library.