Sunday, 26 February 2012

Death on the Home Straight - a modern thriller with a horse racing theme

Gripping, unnerving and terrifying, the thriller 'Death on the Home Straight' by Iris V. Penn is a truly compelling read. As the title suggests the narrative is set amidst the exciting and exhilarating world of horse racing and gambling.

Iris Penn writes in first person, starting with two powerful sentences.
‘The word was indelibly printed on my mind – conspiracy. Had Ken just got in the way of the wrong people?’
By structuring the first sentence in such a way, emphasis is added to the word ‘conspiracy’. This immediately and dramatically sets the tone of the narrative leaving you intrigued. As if you were not already engaged, Iris Penn then uses a literacy device known as a narrative hook, a question. Although the question is rhetorical it serves to further involve you, the reader in the plot, leaving you gripped from here on in.

The narrator and protagonist, Valerie Elphick is the personal assistant and close friend of the recently deceased insurance underwriter Ken Hinde. a keen horse racing fan. Ken died as a result of suspicious car crash, when returning home from a meeting at Kempton Racecourse. The car he was driving ran inexplicably out of control. He died a few hours later in hospital, the doctors unable to revive him. The Coroner’s verdict as to the cause of death is accidental but Valerie doubts this due to certain events after the apparent accident and also wonders what happened to two valuable race horses.

In 'Death on the Home Straight' Valerie sets out to discover the truth, beginning her investigation in East London and ending at the famous Cheltenham Festival. Yet she attracts the unwanted attention of people who will stop at nothing to hide the truth about why Ken really had died and what had truly happened to two valuable race horses. As the plot unfolds, the narration turns from mysterious and puzzling to terrifying.

Author Iris Penn is a lifelong racing aficionado and a member of the Elite Racing Club. Her insight into the sport adds authenticity to the characters and narrative making her debuting novel ‘Death on the Home Straight’ both vivid and powerful.