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Bullet Work

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  21 reviews
"They lived for that one chance; the chance to get home first. They waited for that one second. For that moment when they broke into the clear down the home stretch, and no one was going to catch them. Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing, lies the gritty reality of the backside. Within this fiercely competitive world of owners, trainers, vets, and jockeys somethi ...more
Paperback, 1st, 349 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by A & N Publishing (first published February 20th 2011)
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Denise Bryant
Bullet Work leads you into the world of the backside, where race horses are royalty, where last chances are played out, where hope of imminent victory keeps stable hands believing. No world is fair and the backside is wickedly cruel.
The story begins as opening day approaches at Fairfax Park. Stables wheel in their prized assets and the community makes its home in the shedrows that line the backside. Opening day approaches fueled by optimism and renewal. That is until someone starts killing rac
Steve O'Brien Continues to Climb

After reading ELIJAH'S COIN, the first book by this fine new author Steve O'Brien this reader couldn't help but reflect that one of the reasons that excellent novel was so powerful was the fact that much of the courtroom denouement of that story was made more visceral because the author is a practicing lawyer: his skills as a legal council were as evident as his new skills as a writer. Now, reading this terse, fascinating novel BULLET WORK a similarity exists: not
Reviewed by Mona at

Bullet Work by Steve O’Brien is out of the gate with a burst of speed! This highly suspenseful thriller will have you “chomping at the bit” as you unravel the mystery behind it all. O’Brien takes us into the world of Horse Racing and what it takes to have a winner.

With his “insider info” on what happens in the life of not only an Owner but of a Hotwalker, O’Brien will send you on a journey through the racetrack backside, a side many never see.

Through the eu
Article first published as Book Review: Bullet Work by Steve O'Brien on Blogcritics.

Somewhat in the tradition of Dick Francis, Steve O’Brien has put together a remarkable story set in the background of the horse racing community. When prime horses begin to die or disappear, one trainer goes the distance to find the culprits. The background information uncovers the reasoning behind the nefarious dealings; it is a swindle to milk the trainers or their owners of money. The money required is twenty
I know next to nothing about horses, only what I learned from an early addiction to Dick Francis mysteries, which I read for fun, not racing form. This week I read Bullet Work by Steve O’Brien. This novel tells quite a bit about how horses are bought, sold, trained, stabled and raced; I’ll probably not remember the details any better than I did before. But I will remember the young horse-whisperer AJ and his uncanny ability. It’s a skill that annoys those who see the limping boy as an invader on ...more
While I was in college, I had the opportunity to work in OTB and I learned a little about horse racing. Mr O'Brien wrote a realistic novel with a mysterious twist. The character I liked the best was the hotwalker AJ. He had a way with horses and was able to feel their emotions. Throughout the story, AJ is harassed by grooms and other hotwalkers and he still kept on going. The author recently wrote a wonderful post about AJ on my blog and after reading the post, I had a better understanding of AJ ...more
Loved the drama and suspense created. Main character had great moral compass within.
I have to admit that when I saw the cover of Bullet Work by Steve O’Brien I really didn’t expect to like it. Yes, I read the bit about what it was about but I do love a mystery and I think that the author and I each have a job. His/her job is to help me enjoy the novel, entertain me and explain things well enough so that I understand but not be bored (in this case, the area of horse-racing). My job is to keep an open-mind, go into any book I review, no matter which genre, and review it from the ...more
First of all, let me say that I know nothing of horse racing, or horses for that matter. I have never ridden a horse, or even touched a horse. That said, this book, set in the world of horse racing,grabbed me from the first page and I rode it all the way! Steve O'Brien explains the terminology in an easy going way, making it a breeze to read.

Someone is hurting, even killing racehorses. When letters are delivered to everyone on the backside of the track, demanding money in order to stop, some peo
“Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing lies the gritty reality of the backside”: a competitive world of owners, trainers, vets, jockeys, and other hangers-on. In this particular backside, someone is killing horses and demanding protection money.

That's the premise of Bullet Work, although the title des not refer to the method of killing but to some sort of exercise with the horses. Oddly enough, the author explains just about everything else involved in the backside, but passes by the on
There is a world of owners, trainers, hot-walkers, grooms, vets, stall muckers that all work behind the scenes of horse racing. These people work on the "backside" of this highly competitive world. It is here that this story takes place.

As Opening Day approaches to this Virginia racetrack, horses are dying. As the season progresses more horses are killed. All in a scam to extort money from the trainers by some unknown person or group who want to be paid to keep the horses safe.

This becomes per
Dana Burgess
I'm not entirely sure how to classify 'Bullet Work'. I suppose it's a mystery novel, but the mystery, suspense and drama seem to take second place to the race track's backside. In the long and,often, irrelevant commentary about how horse racing, training, betting, and all else, the criminal element takes a backseat. The mystery that unravels as the story progresses, is good. It would make a fast paced and emotional read, if it weren't for the monotony of description. I just didn't care how or wh ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘One second changed everything.’

There are at least two sides to the world of horse-racing: the glamorous excitement of race days, and the tough reality of the backside of the track. Many of us, who know a little about the former, rarely know much about the latter. In this novel, the backside can be a very dangerous place: one horse is poisoned, another has a leg crushed and a third disappears. It soon becomes clear that extortion is involved: if the trainers agree to pay a ‘protection fee’, thei
Wire to Wire Winner

Bullet Work is a fast paced suspense story. Dan Morgan is a recently divorced attorney who owns a small band of racehorses. Protection money is being extorted from trainers and owners to avoid harm coming to their horses. It becomes personal for Dan when his prize filly is targeted by the extortionist. AJ Kaine is a memorable character who has the mysterious ability to communicate with horses. O’Brien captures the hope, fear and desperation of those on the backside.

The racing
Maria Elena
Bullet Work, illustrates, sometimes with too much detail, the reality of the happenings on the backside of a fictional racetrack in Virginia. Within the plot of the extortionists blackmailing the trainers by harming their horses, we meet Dan Morgan a horse owner and A.J the young man who has the uncanny and wonderful gift of being able to communicate with the horses and maybe even feel what they're feeling.

It is an interesting book overall but I had a few issues with the storytelling. First, it
Caz Ward
Bullet Work flies out of the starting gate and sprints to the finish line in a way that keeps you never knowing what is round the next bend. There are lots of twists and turns leading to an ending I never expected.
There is a huge part of me that loved this book. It was full of twists and turns and had an ending I never expected. Definitely a difficult book to put down with truly likable characters. At times it had me wincing but I believe only good books can do this.
I would give it 5 stars but I
BULLET WORK by Steve O'Brien is a fiction with suspense,mytery set in the world of horse racing. The plot is interesting,compelling,easy to follow and will keep you on the edge of your seat.The characters are easy to believe.While this story has greed,extortion,competitiveness,secrets,the world of horse racing, it is also about the love of horses, and the young "horse-whispering".It also enlightens us on how horses are sold,trained,brought,stabled,raced,the competitive side of horse racing and t ...more
Rick F.
With Dick Francis at the twilight of his career- fans of Horse Racing thrillers have reason to rejoice! With the publication of Bullet Work, Steve O'Brien has cemented his title of heir apparent. The grab you by the seat plot, replete with expertly drawn characters and "inside" details about the business of horse breeding and racing, Bullet Work is one of those few thrillers that rise above its niche market- appealling to anyone who wants a great read, and a facinating inside look at what would ...more
High Suspense Thrill Ride

No man ever died with a good two year old in his barn. Dan Morgan seems destined to test this premise to the extreme. Bullet Work is a thrill ride set on the racetrack backside. Dan is an attorney and small time thoroughbred owner. A deadly extortion scheme comes to the racetrack. Trainers and owners are forced to pay protection money to ensure the safety of their runners. With the help of AJ Kaine, a horse whispering, autistic young man, Dan must crack the case to save
Kathleen Kelly
I could not get into this book...
Summer marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2014
Sierra Galatz
Sierra Galatz marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2013
Katherine marked it as to-read
May 09, 2013
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