Synopses & Reviews
Desperate Jack Doyle accepts a sketchy job which leads to a deadly game of fixing horse races and murder--of the four-legged kind.... One-time amateur boxer Jack Doyle, an irreverent and rebellious advertising account representative, goes to work one fine Chicago day and finds his desk--and his job--both gone. A two-time loser at the marriage game as well, Doyle, usually ultra-confident, fishes himself out of a bottle to take stock, realizing, ""with a thumping finality, that Life sure as hell did have his number and was crunching it.""~At loose ends, Doyle accepts a most unusual offer from an acquaintance, Moe Kellman, ""furrier to the Mob,"" to fix a horse race. The context of making the deal, a Cubs game at storied Wrigley Field, sets the tone for the drama that follows. Thus begins a chain of events that will lead the FBI to Doyle's door where they ""coopt"" him into a quest after people who are maiming or killing thoroughbred horses for their insurance values. Their number one target is a loathsome media mogul who can't bear to lose at anything.~Built upon recent factual events, spiced with satire and peppered throughout with engaging loonies, Blind Switch is a noteworthy first novel with a hero forced to ask in its ultimate line, ""Where have I gone right?""
This accomplished first novel set in the world of horse racing is bound to be compared to the novels of Dick Francis, though McEvoy may be a little broader and perhaps sunnier than Francis. Unemployed ad man Jack Doyle--so appealing he might be described as freewheeling instead of plain old irresponsible--decides to help gym acquaintance Moe Kellman, a tiny man with a Don King explosion of hair, fix a horse race. He finds the assignment interesting, though he's distinctly uncomfortable with its illegal nature. After the race, Doyle is not only relieved of his payoff by two erstwhile pals, but the FBI swoops in and threatens to prosecute him if he doesn't help them with another crime involving race horses. Doyle agrees, and is given a job on the estate of the evil Harvey Rexroth. Rexroth's eccentricities, insisting that a babe perpetually rollerblade on a track
around his pool area, for example, are amusing if a little strained. Rexroth's farm manager, a good-hearted New Zealander, suspects that his boss
is having horses killed--in ingenious ways that look like natural deaths--for insurance money. The denouement wobbles toward an ending that could have been stronger, but a mesmerizing, all-too-human protagonist, a playful tone and exceptionally lively language more than make up for any flaws.
Forecast: As the former Midwest editor and senior correspondent for Daily Racing Form (and author of five nonfiction books on thoroughbred racing),
McEvoy is in a good position to promote this book, starting with a signing at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. -- Publishers Weekly (7.12.2004)
"Forecast: As the former Midwest editor and senior correspondent for Daily Racing Forum (and author of five nonfiction books on thoroughbred racing), McEvoy is in a good position to promote this book, starting with a signing at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame." --Publisher's Weekly
, starred review
"Easy prose, always interesting subject matter (shades of Dick Francis!), and an admirable protagonist make this a satisfying first novel." --Library Journal
"...if you have any interest in the sports he so expertly dissects, you'll probably wish the sequel was waiting on the nightstand." --Chicago Tribune
"It’s a good tale, fleshed out with plenty of colorful character and a finely realized racing setting at home on the track or in the barns." --Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
About the Author
John McEvoy, former Midwest editor and senior correspondent for Daily Racing Form, is the author of five previously published non-fiction books on thoroughbred horse racing, including the award-winning Great Horse Racing Mysteries. He has also published a book of poetry. This is his first novel. McEvoy and his wife Judy live in Evanston, IL.