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Hush Money: A Mystery (Jack MacTaggart #1)
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Hush Money: A Mystery (Jack MacTaggart #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  241 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews

When Hush Puppy, Pasadena’s socialite Sydney Everett’s champion show horse, dies under suspicious circumstances, junior lawyer Jack MacTaggart is assigned to handle the insurance claim. But the case soon takes an unexpected turn, thrusting Jack into a spiraling web of blackmail and murder in which he finds himself both the prime suspect and the next likely victim.


336 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Minotaur Books (first published May 1st 2012)
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May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received “Hush Money” by Chuck Greaves as a part of the come giveaway program. I received an ARC copy (Advanced Reader’s Copy) which typically means that not everything about the book is finalized, typically things like the cover. I hope this is the cover it’s published with though, because I think it does a great job of fitting the story inside!

Now I know that most of the books that I talk about on my blog (or my Good Reads account) are fantasies, but I’ve been reading mysterie
Nancy McFarlane
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jack MacTaggert, a wise-cracking young lawyer, is a new addition to a prestigious, highfalutin law firm. Jack, his law firm and the moneyed players in the grand-prix world of horse jumping become all mixed up in this tale of insurance fraud, dead horses and murder (of the human kind). Greaves has written a sharp, funny, fast-paced mystery with a smart, sarcastic young hero who, I hope, we will see lots more of.

I used to love Dick Frances books and this is a more modern, funnier, US based mystery
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
PROTAGONIST: Jack McTaggart, lawyer
SETTING: Pasadena, CA
SERIES: #1 of 3
WHY: Lawyer Jack Mactaggart is assigned to handle the insurance claim for a prized show horse who has died, Hush Puppy. Its owner, Sydney Everett, has been involved in funny business involving a dead horse before. Jack ties her into a scheme involving the son of the senior partner of his law firm. With the aid of stable manager Tara Flynn, Jack delves deep into the world of horse racing and uncovers a nefarious sch
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it for the showjumping and attorney scenes.
Laura Underhill
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jack McTaggart - would love to meet him. Great sense of humor, honor, and intelligent.
Douglas Lord
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani novels is Greaves’s legal thriller, starring a hands-on lawyer. When the titular, bazillion-dollar horse dies under shadowy circumstances, the insurance company refuses to pony up (Ha!)—especially since the owner’s prior boss died the same way with a fat settlement check following. Checking in on the situation is Jack MacTaggart, a lawyer pinch-hitting for the firm representing the owner. MacTaggart is full of awesome; he’s energetic, smart, and (ahem ...more
This was a new to me author and narrator and only picked it up because it is nominated for an Audie award in the mystery category.

When the book started I thought ok it’s a legal thriller, then we have a death of a horse and all that goes along with the hoity toity horse crowd, then we have a murder and some medical mystery so this is hard to categorize. I enjoyed the main character lawyer Jack MacTaggert he was somewhat cynical, and has a dry sense of humor. I see there is a second book coming o
Stephen Campbell
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hush Money, the debut novel by lawyer turned author by Chuck Greaves, introduces Jack MacTaggart to the world of mysteries and thrillers. Jack's a lawyer who is most comfortable representing clients against powerful interests. But the fun begins when he's assigned the task of dealing with a wealthy socialite whose horse, Hush Money, has just died.

Of course, all is not as it seems. The wealthy socialite may have financial problems, and the horse may have been killed for the insurance money. In sh
Scott Soloff
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully constructed book! Characters are well drawn; plotting is superb; the pacing delightful. It absolutely deserves five stars.

But, it is not a GREAT book. It is an excellent book. Way above average. I had to stop and reflect what elevates a book to greatness?

I'm not sure that I have the answer; however, I did manage to come up with an example.

Jim Butcher's "Harry Dresden" series, I believe, rises to greatness (also, there appears to hordes of fans that agree).

The Dresden series has well
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-mystery
I will refrain from giving a plot synopssis, since other reviewers have done so.

I enjoyed Hush Money and you will too if you like lawyer books with a good mystery and a witty main character. I don't normally read lawyer books and I did find that some of the legal lingo in book was a little hard to follow at times. I really enjoyed the main character's wit, which did a good job of not coming across as rude nor snobish.
The ending was a little abrupt and felt a little incomplete in tying up loose e
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. When I was a young girl, we lived across from Bay Meadows race track in San Mateo, and we were frequently at the track. I especially liked the paddock, and got to know the horses and jockeys. This book brought a lot of those memories back for me.

This was a well written mystery, with a nicely placed plot, that seemed to go just about the same way the rider would lead the horse to the jumps, faster and faster until the final jump, when I held my breath as I read in antici
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Chuck Greaves' HUSH MONEY, was a great romp. The horse world, which I happen to love, but which others can find tedious, was exposed in an engaging way with rich characters and great settings in the barely disguised Flintridge Riding Club. The central character was complex and motivated with all the requisite components of a mystery handled with an expert hand (this despite HM being Greaves' first book). The combination of horses and mystery made this book "on my track" but there's so much that ...more
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Jack MacTaggart is a newly hired lawyer at a prestigious law firm in Pasadena. He is assigned to handle an insurance claim on the death of a horse, a show jumper insured for $2 million dollars. Funny book though I found it a bit over done, sort of a low tech wanna-be James Bond. Even though Jack is the new kid, everyone turns to him for answers. He knows nothing about horses but quickly becomes the expert and the go to guy in case of emergency. The villains are appropriately sinister to off set ...more
Heaven Morgan
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Hush Money is a riveting story of an attorney who is sucked into a crazy equestrian world. I adore the love stroy underlying the mystery itself and it is a reletively easy read. While reading the book I went through the ups and downs with Jack and I felt as if I was watching through the fence. I was a little disappointed with the open ending. I hoped there would be a happily ever after but despite this Hush Money is intriguing and there is a nice balance of action and drama.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
A fun romp through the legal system and the monied horsey-set of L.A.

The bad guys were fairly obvious, but the story was well-written and fast-paced. The writing is refreshing and fun to read. I would definitely give Chuck Greaves another go-round with his smart-ass attorney Jack MacTaggart. Unlike some authors (I'm looking at you, Deborah Coonts and Janet Evanovich), Greaves has not populated his novel with obnoxious, secondary characters.
Donna Siebold
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
With the flavor of Mickey Spillane and the legal twists of Grisham or Turow, Chuck Greaves introduces Jack MacTaggert.

Jack is investigating the mysterious death of Hush Puppy - a champion show horse. Twists and turns abound including the death of another horse, blackmail and murder. Working frequently "on principle" Jack follows all the leads getting bruised and battered along the way.

The beginning is slow but it ends up being an enjoyable story.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in the Jack McTaggert mysteries,and the author's first book.
I loved the writing as well as the main character in lawyer Jack McTaggert.

Mr Greaves fleshed out his not only his flawed hero but everyone involved in the mystery. No one in the book the book is a one dimensional including McTaggert.

I liked this book so much that I'm now reading the 2nd one in the series,Green Eyed Lady.

Hush Money is well worth the time in reading it
Patrick O'Connor
Entertaining, if conventional legal thriller. A bit over the top but why not? What was entertaining for me is that it takes place in my town of Pasadena so the locales were very familar and easy to recognize. I could argue with the charactors on what were the best routes to take places. And the parking in Old Town isn't that bad.
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hard to believe this is a debut mystery-- the writing is very accomplished: smart, funny, well plotted, with solid characters, a good mystery, and a wonderful sense of place, in this case Pasadena and the moneyed world of the horse club in La Canada. An entertaining legal mystery that has me ready to jump right into the next one.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
This first novel by Chuck Greaves, set in Pasadena and surrounds, focuses on the horse set. Jack McTaggart, a young lawyer from a rough background but working in a prestigious law firm. He is mentored by an older attorney with a courtly, ethical perspective on the law. McTaggart has the same perspective. Assigned to support a wealthy woman's
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have been a life-long fan of the mystery genre with a host of favorite authors: Amanda Cross, Joseph Hansen, Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanly Gardner, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Richard and Frances Lockridge (the last are truly under rated in my opinion), and above all, Rex Stout. Seriously, this book held me at their level. I look forward to reading the next in the series.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, i-own, first-reads
I received this as a Goodreads giveaway.

I'm a fan of mysteries, and this one was good. I really liked Jack and his quick wit and smart ass comments. This kept me guessing, and I liked the ending. There were some parts that seemed improbable, but it was entertaining enough that I let it slide and just enjoyed the story.
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: legal-thriller
I was taken aback by the casual racism and sexism peppered through the characters' language.
I still thought this was a good mystery (hence the three stars); I just also thought some of the language used was unnecessary. It didn't seem to add to any character development or furtherance of plot.
Cynthia Naden
Jun 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This is not moving in the way I like a mystery to go but the horse world that he describes is very interesting. Other than for a book group which I am currently reading it for it takes place in Pasadena, the city where I reside.
Elly Wendy
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Suspense, action, legal maneuvers, horses, surprising bursts of humour, and some beautifully written passages. I am impressed by the writing and found this audiobook engaging, delightful, and good entertainment.
The many one-liners (the kind I wish I could remember but never do) don't impede the galloping pace of the plot as lawyer Jack MacTaggart learns more than he wants to know about horse shows when he investigates a possible insurance fraud.
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Found "Green-eyed Lady" in the new book section in the library and realized I should read "Hush Money" first. It was suspenseful, funny and fast paced. Loved it and just started reading Green Eyed-Lady.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I read two Pasadena-based mysteries on the recommendations of fellow art librarians on the eve of our annual national Art Libraries Society conference, held in Pasadena this year. Both of these were amazing in their way, and I had a fantastic time in Pasadena, maybe as a result!
Jul 04, 2013 added it
well written, funny, fast moving.
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Clever dialog, and an inside look at the privileged world of horse show jumping in Southern Cal.
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aka C. Joseph Greaves

Chuck Greaves spent 25 years as a trial lawyer in Los Angeles before turning his talents to fiction. His debut novel HUSH MONEY (Minotaur) won the SouthWest Writers' International Writing Contest, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, and was a Critics' Pick from Kirkus Reviews. HUSH MONEY was named a finalist for numerous national honors, i
More about Chuck Greaves...

Other Books in the Series

Jack MacTaggart (3 books)
  • Green-Eyed Lady: A Mystery (Jack MacTaggart #2)
  • The Last Heir: A Mystery (Jack MacTaggart #3)

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