June 4, 2020

Review: The Trojan Colt by Mike Resnick

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A reader’s mind is not quenched by science fiction alone.

Though speculative fiction makes up a Lion’s (Wookies’?) share of the reading that we frequently do (and review), we always make it a point to venture outside of the familiar. Hey, it’s all part of that being a “well-rounded writer & reader,” and all that stuff.

And this weeks’ review is just one such occasion. This week, we take a look at Mike Resnick’s The Trojan Colt: An Eli Paxton Mystery by Mike Resnick. Out last week from Seventh Street Books, The Trojan Colt traces the further adventures of Cincinnati private eye Eli Paxton.  Fans of this space will remember Mr. Paxton from the first book in the series, The Dog in the Manger. Mr. Resnick is a very prolific and award winning science fiction writer, and the author of such books as Starship: Rebel, Starship: Flagship & The Buntline Special series of Weird West Tales, just to name a very brief few.

And like a well rounded science fiction author, Eli Paxton gets around. I’ll have to admit, The Trojan Colt was exactly the 2nd mystery novel that we’ve ever read (The Dog in the Manager being the first… all those Encyclopedia Brown books I read as a kid don’t REALLY count, do they?)

The Trojan Colt makes for a great fast-paced read, as gumshoe detective Eli Paxton is hired to solve a mystery surrounding a prizewinning throughbred. Paxton eschews much of modern technology (he doesn’t even carry a mobile phone) and instead prefers to solve cases using the tried and true method of good old-fashioned detective work. Reading a Paxton novel is like discovering a lost art form at work, as he meticulously pieces together clues through astute observation.  As the disappearances mount, Paxton begins to uncover a multimillion dollar criminal enterprise of massive proportions. As with any good mystery novel, all is not what it seems, and the action and suspense never fails to disappoint.

What I really like thus far in the Eli Paxton series is the no-nonsense manner in which the story is told. Not only is the reader along for the ride, but you’re immersed in the subculture (in this case prize-winning horse racing)  along with the detective as he works to piece things together. He may not know the sport, but Paxton does know crime.

The book isn’t short on action either, as Paxton runs headlong into the “perps,” to use the cool street lingo phrase. Not a lot of police procedural lingo gets thrown about; instead, Resnick presents us with a murder mystery plot line that is at once original and unique.  Show dogs, prize thoroughbreds…  Paxton is swiftly becoming the great “pet detective” that Ace Ventura only dreamed of being!

Do check out The Trojan Colt for an excellent summer read. It’s also great to see Seventh Street Books revive the mystery genre… fans of who-dunits should again be delighted as Eli Paxton returns!

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