Series: Fia McKee #1
Genres: Action, Crime, Crime and suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Womens Fiction
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound
Baltimore police officer Fia McKee is put on leave for excessive use of force after interfering in a crime that turns deadly. Given a second chance, she is sent to work undercover for the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB) at the Gulfstream Park in Florida, where she works as an exercise rider. Her assignment is to watch and report back on two racetrack workers who have been suspected of illegal activities and whose horses continue to outperform all expectations, winning their owners unseemly amounts of money in the races.
To complete her cover story, Fia moves in with her semi-estranged brother, Patrick, who lives near the racetrack. Her investigations are complicated when her niece, Jilly, disappears after a shadow gang takes Jilly’s beloved horse. Now Fia must work two angles—first to find out what’s really going on with the men who might or might not be gaming the system, and second to bring the men who prey on horses to justice. Along the way, Fia encounters Cuban gangs living off the grid, a (very handsome) do-gooder who’s close on their trail, and a cabal of super wealthy gamblers who will stop at nothing to ensure they always win.
I bought Flamingo Road a few months past because it looked like an interesting book. I was intrigued that it revolved around crime, horses, and the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. The TRPB is a real agency, which I knew absolutely nothing about before I read this book. If you want to check it out here is a LINK to the home page of the organization. Pretty cool, right?
Fia McKee as a character is likable. She worked as a Baltimore cop but her background was that she grew up with horses and horse racing until her father was killed. After that she had a burning need to find out what happened and who killed her dad. It also changed her career path and she went into law enforcement.
The start of the story is straight action, and it does not stop. Fia finds herself being implored to come see her niece who is causing trouble, and since she was put on leave for an incident that was pending investigation she figured “why not?” Fia has nothing better to do at the moment. So, she heads to Florida to spend time with her brother and niece. While there she comes face to face with the issue of horses being butchered for meat. That was definitely an upsetting element to consider.
Fia does a little investigating with a man she met, Zanin, but before she can really scratch the surface she had to get back to Baltimore where she had to deal with the internal affairs disaster surrounding her excessive use of force. Nearly cut loose, Fia was given a second chance and agreed to work undercover for the TRPB. Given her background around horses and her brother’s proximity to a racetrack that was the focus of the investigation into who is “juicing” horses and how are they doing it, Fia was the ideal candidate for the job.
Although it sounded simple to Fia, work undercover as an exercise rider and see what she can pick-up while at the track, things heated up pretty quickly. Soon, Fia finds herself embroiled in a major scheme that goes beyond the boundaries of what she was expecting when she took this job. As the danger increases so does Fia’s resolve, especially when her family becomes a target. Fia was determined to keep her family safe and make sure that those abusing the horses were stopped, no matter what the costs.
What I felt was a turn off for me in this story was two characters, Zanin & Jilly. Zanin was a real-estate agent turned animal activist and he runs PAL (Protect the Animals League). So, he was a gun toting, animal saving, guy with a background in real estate going against some heavy hitters. Nope, not believable to me, and it was hard to get behind his contributions in the story. Jilly was Fia’s niece and she was at the worst stage ever for a teenager and boy did I find her annoying in every way possible.
Flamingo Road is truly non-stop action and the twists and turns of the story were pretty spectacular. As far as Fia’s character went I liked her and I would consider continuing the series because she is a great character. I also liked where this story ended up and I am willing to see where it goes.