Poisoned Pen, Mar 2008, $24.95
Former boxer failed advertising account executive Jack Doyle is euphoric with his new position as the public relations director for Monee Park thoroughbred racetrack outside of Chicago. However, Jack also knows the job may prove fleeting as the track struggles financially with bankruptcy a very strong possibility. Besides liking the job, Jack is also attracted to his employer, Celia McCann, whose husband suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Celia’s hopes of saving the track that she and her cousin Niall Hanratty co-inherited from her Uncle Jim reside with the legislature that is considering allowing Monee Park to install video slot machines. However, Niall wants to sell the property to developers. He hires hooligans to disrupt and impair the track. Jack believes he must protect Celia anyway he can.
Jack Doyle remains an interesting lead character (see RIDERS DOWN and BLIND SWITCH) as he tries to keep his employer safe from her cousin, keep the race afloat, and keep his hands off the married dedicated woman he desires. The story line is action packed as thugs sabotage and threaten Celia. However, the milieu of a racetrack is underplayed as CLOSE CALL never digs deep into world of thoroughbred racing like its predecessors did. Still fans who enjoy a damsel in distress thriller will find John McEvoy’s latest a winner.