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Dark Horse (Jim Knighthorse #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,953 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Set in Surf City, USA - and written in the tradition of Robert B. Parker's Spenser and Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe - Dark Horse introduces a hard-hitting, wise-cracking new hero with a modern twist.

When high school student Derrick Booker, the only black student at a posh Orange County high school, is accused of killing his white girlfriend, ex-college football hero a
Kindle Edition
Published (first published March 2nd 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Beanbag Love
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It's got the same tone as the John Locke "Donovan Creed" series, but this protag is much more likable. Not nearly so amoral. When he does a bad thing, you know he's doing it for what seems to be a very good reason to him. You can actually empathize.

Plus, he's very funny, IMO. A lot of dry commentary and self-aggrandizing asides that come off as self-parody more than anything else.

This is a popcorn series and it's a lot of fun. There's also quite a bit of poignancy as
Amy Armstrong
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - much more than I thought I would have when I started it. The protag, Jim Nighthorse is incredibly egotistical and I'm not usually a fan of arrogant characters, but as the story progressed I warmed to him. By the end of the book, I liked him very much. I enjoyed his sarcastic humour, his meetings with God in Mcdonalds, his banter with Sanchez and his relationship with Cindy. Jim is a complex character with many issues. He found his mother's body after she'd been m ...more
The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)
A fun read. Not too-too deep, but deep enough. The characters were more interesting than the plot. Gotta like a guy who talks to god at McDonald's over coffee. I'd call it a light read, but it was definitely a good read. Funny in places too, always a plus.
Krisi Keley
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
Former college football star and present private investigator, Jim Knighthorse, is hired to find evidence that will prove the innocence of Derrick Booker, a black student at a well-off Orange County high school who has been arrested for killing his white girlfriend. Convinced, along with several others, that Derrick has been framed, Knighthorse soon has a roster of suspects to investigate, from the girl’s abusive father to a band director with a penchant for seducing his female students, all whi ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
J R Rain's first book in a present day, California noir detective series featuring Jim Knighthorse, an ex-football star/detective. Unfortunately, Jim's wise-cracking banter doesn't quite ring true exactly and distracts from his case at hand, proving a young black HS student not guilty of killing his girlfriend. He solves the case of course while dealing with his mysterious detective father, his mothers murder and subsequent drinking problem, his love life, his mission in life to sign with the Sa ...more
Matt Schiariti
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After pilfering all Mr. Rain had written(to date) of Samantha Moon I figured I'd give some of his other characters a try. Knowing Jim Knighthorse from the Vampire For Hire series I figured he'd be my next stop.

Jim Knighthorse is 'just' a PI much like Samantha Moon is 'just' a PI. He's not a vampire but he's an ex high school and college football star who could have gone pro if it weren't for a catastrophic leg injury 8 years ago in his senior year. He's also the estranged son of a father who was
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults
I so glad that I discovered J.R. Rain. First, the Vampire for Hire series, now the Jim Knighthorse series is fantastic. Jim Knighthorse is a private dectective who also maded to the NFL until an accident ended his career. So, he decided to become a P.I. training under his father who he does not get along with.

Jim has been hired by an attorney to investigate the murder of a high school girl. Her boyfriend, the only African American student at a well to do Orange Co. school has been arrested for h
J. R. Rain is a kindle bestselling author. I have going through my kindle and trying to read some books I've had for awhile, and this was one of them. I also, made a personal challenge in one of my groups to read more independent authors and authors writing for smaller publishing companies.I like the book pretty well, and if there are more in the series I will give the next one a chance.
This is a short story in my opinion. The estimated length is 158 pages. So, I had no problem reading it in on
J.R. Rain is quickly becoming a favorite author for me. I recently read the first 3 Samantha Moon books and determined that I love Samantha Moon as much as I've loved and followed Sookie for the past several years.
I just now finished reading Dark Horse, the first in J.R. Rain's Jim Knighthorse series - and wouldn't ya know...I LOVED it! Jim Knighthorse is AWESOME! Though throughout the book, I kept thinking how similar Jim Knighthorse is to Myron Bolitar in Harlan Corbin's series of the madcap
Simon Jenner
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hired to look into the murder of a student after her boyfriend is apparently framed, Jim Knighthorse finds all is not as it seems with the girl’s family or the teaching staff, and his suspicions are confirmed when a professional killer goes to great lengths to warn him off the case. But Jim is not one to back down easily. This murder mystery moves along at a fair pace and is written in an old detective novel style first person narrative. I was unsure about Jim’s character at first – he is quite ...more
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in the Jim Knighthorse Series. Jim is a PI and a ex college football star. One play took him out of the game but is his career in football over? Jim has a past that not many can overcome. He started his own agency even though his father owns one of the biggest PI firms in LA. Jim has women issues, daddy issues and an ego bigger than LA County. But he also has a big heart and a knack for helping the little guy and making bad guys disappear.
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book, by far the best kindle book I have read this year. The writing is fresh, funny and keeps you guessing. I just wish I had a reason to hire a private detective and have him just like Knighhorse. I have the same sense of humour as him and found myself finishing the sentences before Id read them.
Really excellent.
I picked up the 3 book bundle on Amazon last year or so; Rainy Nights by J.R. Rain. An author I had never heard of and so therefore had only so-so expectations for the e-books, but hey they were free, so nothing risked or wasted but a little of my time. It took me probably a year or so before I finally started to read them, and I was pleasantly surprised. Each of the 3 books are entertaining and enjoyable. All 3 books have their main protagonists working as a P.I. (private investigator) in an ur ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Must Read

This is an easy, entertaining read with enough suspense to keep you turning the pages. I read this one because it was the first in the series, yet it read like it was a sequel. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim Knighthorse is a delightful character! I enjoyed this book much more than I thought! I found this in a box set, thinking it would be in the supernatural genre. It doesn't quite get supernatural, but is still a very pleasant read.
Kat Lebo
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark Horse, a Jim Knighthorse mystery, Book #1, by J. R. Rain

Everything I love about Rain's writing in his paranormal detective series, the Samantha Moon Vampire for Hire series is present in this series about a very normal detective, Jim Knighthorse. Great characterizations, wonderful flow, excellent proofing and editing, flawless pacing, exciting action, lots of twists and turns, interesting plot, and an honest-to-God mystery make this first entry in the Knighthorse series a joy to read.

Jim K
PJ Swanwick
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, spiritual
Quirky "God," crisp plot make spiritual mystery series a bargain for a buck

The first novel in a new ebook series by veteran writer J.R. Rain, "Dark Horse" follows Jim Knighthorse's emotional and spiritual growth as he struggles to solve murders both new and old. Selling for 99 cents on Kindle, this enlightened spin on the mystery genre promises to engage readers with its fast-paced story line and nontraditional theme.

My take: At first Jim Knighthorse, private eye, did not charm me. He comes acro
Roddy Williams
Jim Knighthorse may be a tad too handsome to be credible, six foot twelve or thereabouts, and as we are relentlessly reminded, he is BIG. It is little wonder then that he was an up and coming American Football star before his leg was shattered in half a dozen places and he became an apprentice PI in his father's investigation agency. Knighthorse, despite this, has a snappy line in dialogue, is throughly likeable and seems to have met God (who calls himself Jack) in McDonalds.
Knighthorse is call
Randy Daugherty
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jim Knighthorse is a former football great both high school and college but his hopes of a NFL spot were crushed along with his leg, the result of a cheap shot. Now he walks with a slight limp and constant ache always reminding him of what might have been.Now he was a P.I. and was being asked to take on a case, a case the local police called shut after all they had a suspect that had the murder weapon in the back seat of his car.

Derrick Booker, a young Afro-American student , star football playe
Barrie Penman
kindle freeby.
Was seriously worried by mentions of vampires by other reviewers as I can't be arsed with this twattle. The chewing of a garlic clove whilst reading has had the desired effect, so far I can confirm it is a pure unadulterated all American detective novel. A lot of reference to a rugby style game what they call football which strangely enough doesn't resemble football even slightly. (They also have the girly game of rounders which they call something else I cant remember at the momen
A kindle freebie. This is an all-American, macho detective story about a failed football player now working as a private investigator.

The pacing is solid and the plot is usual fare (kid has been framed for murdering his girlfriend), but the protagonist is unlikeable. Jim Knighthorse is chauvinistic, egotistical, and has questionable morals. He checks out every woman he meets, and never fails to remind us just how handsome, witty and muscular he is. That the novel is in first person only makes hi
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mystery
Writing: 3
Story: 3
Satisfaction: 3

I started off pretty annoyed with the protagonist in the story but once the actual story line kicked off, it became an enjoyable read. I especially liked the hobo "God."

Jim Knighthorse is a reluctant PI stuck reminiscing about the glory days of his college football career. His dreams of NFL recruitment died during a harsh play that left him with a crippled leg. Years later, he's looking to be recruited to an NFL team but an interesting case drops on his desk and
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up on a whim and was totally blown away.

Jim Knighthorse takes a while to warm up to: he's handsome, superbly fit, and man does he know it. At first I was taken aback by Jim's huge ego, but as I read on he really started to grow on me. His quips of "Yeah, I know I'm handsome," provide comic relief to the heavy circumstances in the story as well as to the Jim's difficult past.

I loved being introduced to new characters throughout the story as they all seemed quite realistic and
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love JR Rain's Vampire Moon books and have been waiting for the oportunity to read his Jim Knighthorse series,having met Jim in the Vampire Moon books. JR did not disappoint. In Dark Horse a well-respected, intelligent, young black athletic teen is accused of killing his white girlfriend based on flimsy evidence. Jim is hired to prove his innocence. Through a variety of subplots we are introduced to Jim's world including his long-time girlfriend, police detective pal, estranged father, ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in the Jim Knighthorse series is amazing. Knighthorse is a big 6’4” 220, blond haired private investigator in Southern California and an ex-football player trying to rekindle his career. Although he is arrogant, I find him likeable. He is like a flawed hero so it makes him more human. The case he takes on puts his life in danger. When a teenage girl is murdered her boyfriend is accused and he happens to be one of only three African American students in the school. Knighthorse beli ...more
Laura Macmillan
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining book, the first, and modestly priced novel, of a must-follow series.

The protagonist is an ex-football player, now a private investigator, whose mother was killed when he was a child, a loss he still mourns and longs to avenge 20 years later. He has regular visits over coffee with a raggedy little man who claims to be (and who by the end of the book you half think just might be) God.

In this, the first book of the series, you meet Jim Knighthorse, his father, friends, community, and r
Jan 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adrenaline-rush
I'm afraid this was a "just barely 3 stars" for me. I'm really a bit torn on this one. It caught my eye because of the location - much of the story takes place in Huntington Beach, California (where I went to high school). The location references were all familiar to me, which was fun. However, I'm not all that crazy about Jim Knighthorse, the main character. I don't know if it's a guy thing, but I found his ego just a bit annoying, and his ethics to be a bit "questionable". Not that he wasn't a ...more
I know that a lot of other reviewers are not fans of this character or his ego and self-love. I actually find that side of his character gives some humor to some very dark storylines. It helps relieve the tension of some of the content. The story in Dark Horse is very dark and so are some of the subplots but I didn’t find this book to overwhelming dark but some of the scenes are painful to picture.

One of the things I like about the story is the location, most stories I read take place in other
Anita Clay
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jim Knighthorse is a private detective and an ex-football star. His office is filled with pages from his past. In this book, he has taken on the case of a black high school student who has been accused of murdering his white girlfriend. The people running the high school are far from innocent.
Knighthorse is also investigating his mother’s murder from 20 years agao. As the investigation heats up he gets help from an unlikely source. Could God, or Jack which is really what is likes to be called,
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Book #1 Jim Knighthorse

Dark Horse is the first in the series about an ex-football player turned detective who takes on cases that are a little out of the ordinary. In this book, he is asked to investigate a killing that supposedly was by the only black student at an exclusive high school. But as he digs in, Jim realizes things are not at all what they seem. This was a very well written story. The characters are developed and the plot is tight and reads a a fast clip. I was enthralled from page o
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I'm an ex-private investigator now writing full-time in the Pacific Northwest, where I live in a small house on a small island with my small dog, Sadie, who has more energy than Robin Williams.

As a kid I was always making stuff: skates, skateboards, skimboards, skis, sleds, clothing, furniture, wood carvings, Easter baskets, comic books, you name it. I was the mother of all nerds. Anyway, I think
More about J.R. Rain...

Other Books in the Series

Jim Knighthorse (5 books)
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“I opened the bag of Oreos and commenced my training, bulking up with one Oreo after another. I washed them down with swigs from the bottle of scotch, as a real man should. When I was tired of the Oreos, after about the thirtieth, I took out a cigarette and tried like hell to give myself lung cancer.” 4 likes
“His domed head was perfectly buffed and polished, cleanly reflecting the halogen lighting above.” 0 likes
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