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Equus award-winning writer Michael Clower has his second racing thriller and sixth book overall on the market (Picture: Gold Circle)

Book review by Gold Circle’s Michele Wing

STITCHED UP by Michael Clower 

Genre: Crime Fiction

Pages: 240

Andrew Harrison dropped a book on my desk and said, “Mish, I need a book review from you”. A quick look at the cover and I responded, “pleasure”.

It was nearing the end of a long racing season, and I could do with a good read, I thought.

A week later, after boarding a flight to Johannesburg, I quickly clicked my safety belt before sitting back to open Stitched Up by Michael Clower and read the first line.

“‘Hi Rod’. The man stopped me in my tracks as I made my way from the Newbury winner’s enclosure to the press room.”

By the second page, I was hooked. I can’t say I heard the air hostess make her customary announcements and simply nodded as she came by with refreshments. Amateur jump jockey and racing journalist, Rod Hutchinson was set up and banned by the British Horseracing Authority for 5 years, for allegedly taking a bribe to lose on an odds-on favourite. Furthermore, suspended him on full pay for three months, in which time he had to come up with sufficient evidence to cancel the ban, or else have his employment terminated. In Rod Hutchinson’s quest to prove his innocence, he aggravates those intent on silencing him exposing crime in the jump racing world. I find myself turning the pages more quickly.

With the co-pilot requesting cabin crew to take their seats for landing at OR Tambo, I silently groan as the relationship between Rod and lawyer Sue Tomlinson looks to be developing into something more than just professional. It would have to wait and I reluctantly close the book for now.

I apologised to the air hostess on my way out for my lack of attentiveness. “Not to worry”, she said, “I could see you were engrossed”. I smiled weakly.

A few days later, I pick up the book again on my return flight home and finish it before landing at Oribi Airport in Pietermaritzburg. I hold the book in both hands, and whilst looking at the cover, reflect on how the author wove the plot into the story from the first chapter. The vivid descriptions of events and understanding of the world of jump racing when the sport was perhaps not as regulated as it is today, led to a wonderfully entertaining read. Move over Dick Francis, here is Michael Clower. A recommended read to all and not just those racing enthusiasts.

Turf Talk Editor: Michael Clower was a renowned racing journalist for such publications as the Racing Post and won an Equus Media Print award when writing from his Cape Town base for various newspapers which their racing pages out to the Gold Circle Publishing department. he has written four widely acclaimed racing biographies:

Mick Kinane, Big Race King (The Sporting Life’s Racing Book Of The Year)

Champion Charlie

The Legend Of Istabraq

Kings Of The Turf

His first racing thriller was “Riding For A Fall” (“A fast moving action-packed book well up to the standard of his racing biographies (Sporting Post).