THE DARK SIDE OF TOWN
Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB) agents Fia McKee and Calixto Coyune are sent to Saratoga to bring down the crooked, horse-drugging trainer, Marzio Pizutti. They discover he is forcing a young jockey to lose races. Pizutti’s uncle is part of a “Saratoga Mob,” a group of aging New Jersey wise guys, determined to fatten their wallets with a betting scam. When the jockey refuses to cheat, the mobsters threaten his young sister.
Meanwhile, as a backstretch cover, Fia pretends to have a love affair with Calixto. She is disturbed by her growing attraction to this handsome, sexy Cuban American. How can she believe him, or that he really wants her? He’s a trained liar.
Then, the mother, who walked out on Fia and her dad seventeen years earlier, shows up for the Saratoga season with her wealthy second husband. She wants to make nice, but Fia isn’t having it. Fia’s TRPB boss learns the stepfather is involved with questionable men who have started a racing hedge fund. This fraudulent stock could further damage the reputation of horse racing, something the TRPB is sworn to protect. So Fia is ordered to get close to the mother she despises, and a man is brutally murdered at her mother’s home.
The sister of the young jockey Fia’s been trying to protect is abducted. A search for the girl at Lake Desolation blows Fia’s cover and almost causes her death. When Calixto hides Fia in the luxurious Adelhi Hotel, their long restrained sexual desire finally explodes leaving Fia breathless but still uncertain where she stands in Calixto’s heart.
But why is Fia’s mother suddenly afraid? Is the mysterious Jamaican from the night of the murder the killer, or could he be the man behind the hedge fund? Is he squeezing the Saratoga mob? And if the old wise guys take on this Jamaican and his crew of thugs, can Fia and Calixto survive the resulting fire fight at the mob’s Italian restaurant?
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Author Sasscer Hill was involved in horse racing as an amateur jockey and racehorse breeder for most of her life. She sets her novels against a background of big money, gambling, and horse racing. Her mystery and suspense thrillers have received multiple awards including the $10,000 Dr. Tony Ryan Award for Best Book in Racing Literature, and nominations for Agatha, Macavity, and Claymore Awards.
THE DARK SIDE OF TOWN, out in April of 2018, won the Carrie McCray 2015 Competition for First Chapter of a Novel, as well as a 2015 Claymore Award nomination for best unpublished mystery-thriller. After publication the book received excellent critical reviews including a starred review from Booklist.
Sasscer has a rich history as an amateur steeplechase jockey, and horse owner who rode in fox hunts for 30 years. Hill owned and operated a racehorse breeding farm in Maryland where she raised Thoroughbreds. Among the best horses she bred and raised was For Love and Honor, a stakes horse who won $418,000 racing in New York at Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct.
Hill’s love for horses is deeply inbred over a long lineage tracing to Samuel Ogle, colonial
governor of Maryland in the mid-1770s. Samuel Ogle is credited with bringing horse racing
to North America, staging the first English-style race at Annapolis, Maryland in 1745. Ogle
imported Queen Mab, part of the first pair of English-bred Thoroughbreds imported to the
colonies. Queen Mab was a gift from Lord Baltimore presented when Ogle traveled to England
Hill’s experience in steeplechase racing, knowledge of horses and writing style
has prompted many book lovers and critics to compare Hill with the famous British horse racing
mystery writer, Dick Francis. Her first novel, Full Mortality, was nominated for both the Agatha and Macavity Best First Mystery Awards.
“Could Sasscer Hill be the Dick Francis of her generation? Count me among those who would vote yes.” Margaret Maron, New York Times Best Selling Author and Winner of Edgar Best Novel, Edgar Grand Master, Agatha, Anthony & Macavity Awards
Hill graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a BA in English Literature. She lives with her husband, a dog and a cat in Aiken, South Carolina where she still rides horses.