Jockeys and Jewels is an entertaining, genre-blending mystery/romance. Bev Pettersen slowly unravels clues to a murder linked to criminal activity, while developing a believable romance between the two main characters. The story is set on the backside of a small-time horse racing track. Kurt McKinnon is a race trainer who has reluctantly returned to police detective undercover work because of the murder of his former partner. Julie West is an aspiring jockey, trying to earn her way into the horse racing world by exercising horses stabled at the track. Like the Dick Francis mysteries, which are set in England’s horse racing tradition, the hero/detective is a very likable character. Also, like the Dick Francis mysteries, we are introduced to a unique aspect of horse racing that makes crime possible. Ms. Petterson shares an inside look at the working side of grass-roots horse racing. She provides an atmosphere of camaraderie among people who share hard work, little pay, passionate dreams, and a love for horses and racing. Hopefully this is just the first of many enjoyable stories.
The story line carries the day. There is a bit of suspense, although the antagonists are clearly defined. Probably the biggest disappointment is that none of the characters have any depth or development.