Read Susan’s Short Story Online at Scene Magazine.
Link to full Sarasota Herald Tribune article: Click Here.
From Suspense Magazine
“Shark Fin Soup,” the second book in the Christian Roberts series, is a superb thriller
with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster ride. Page one begins with Christian
docking his forty-seven-foot sloop in Nassau. The boat is a bloody mess, and his wife Allie’s
murdered body is in the cabin. He claims he was scuba diving when the murder took place.
Did Christian murder Allie, or was she killed by someone else?
Christian becomes a person of interest with the Bahamian Police and the FBI. With
only circumstantial evidence, the authorities are unable to detain Christian. He leaves
Nassau filled with grief and remorse, but is determined to finish the quest his wife began, stop the fin traders, and save sharks from extinction.
He soon discovers the shark-fin trade is fraught with violence and greed. A blond, blue-eyed Caucasian, Christian is unable to penetrate the Asian wall of secrecy surrounding the controversial delicacy known as shark fin soup. Can one desperate man find a way to defeat a worldwide network bent on the extinction of an entire species? Will Christian evade the FBI’s ever tightening net in time to honor his wife’s memory and redeem himself?
Susan Klaus captured my attention on the first page and held it throughout this masterful tale of murder, revenge, greed, honor, and redemption. Woven into her story is a real-world disaster of global proportions. It is my sincere hope that readers will heed the dire warning this story conveys and stand together to save our oceans.
Reviewed by S.L. Menear, author of “Deadstick Dawn” published by Suspense publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine
If you’re willing to suspend your disbelief at the gate, this horse-racing thriller delivers a good ride. Yes, the idea of a dying trainer bequeathing his estranged son a colt bearing a striking resemblance to Secretariat, despite its seemingly undistinguished parentage, is a real stretch, but Klaus knows her horses—she has bred and trained Thoroughbreds—and she grounds her flights of fancy in the turf, making us care about both the big red horse with an outsize heart and his initially reluctant owner, Christian Roberts, a blond twenty-something with a hang-loose life renting out sailboats on Sarasota Bay. But Christian, now reconciled to his father, trades spinnakers for saddles and throws himself into the life of the track, making numerous mistakes along the way, including getting involved with an unscrupulous trainer and borrowing money from mobsters—and let’s not forget the old girlfriend turned stalker. There’s a whole lot of plot stampeding toward the finish line here, much of it verging on the edge of preposterous, but if you just loosen your grip on the reins and let the narrative run free, you’ll find yourself having a good time. –Bill Ott
From Publishers Weekly
“Klaus crams a lot into her debut thriller, which combines thoroughbred horse breeding, mob skulduggery, and a love-crazed stalker. When hunky Christian Roberts returns to the horse farm in rural Florida where he grew up, he finds his estranged father, Hank, dying. While he still has time, Hank entrusts Chris with an illegal clone of the all-time greatest race horse, Secretariat, hoping that his son will fulfill his dreams of racing glory. Chris begins uncertainly exploring the high-stakes world of thoroughbred racing, encountering the predatory trainer Ed Price in the process, while also trying to disengage from his violently unstable girlfriend, Kate. To finance his venture, Chris must borrow cash from gangster Vince Florio, but that soon has him piloting a speedboat out into the Gulf to pick up drug shipments. All these difficulties are worked out, perhaps too neatly; the story works much better than it has a right to thanks to Klaus’s infectious love of the Florida setting, the horse-breeding milieu, and her handsome protagonist.”
Agent: Susan Gleason, Susan Gleason Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From Mystery Scene Magazine:
“Twenty-five-year-old Christian Roberts is tall, blond, and beach-bum handsome in Susan Klaus’ Secretariat Reborn. Life is good. He owns a boat rental company, lives on a sloop, and his girlfriend Kate is the foxiest woman in Sarasota, Florida. When Christian receives word that his estranged father, a thoroughbred racehorse trainer, is dying of cancer, he travels to see him for the last time. Dad has a surprise for him. He wants to give him a thoroughbred colt that he says will turn the racing world upside down. But there’s a tiny, little problem: the colt is a clone of champion racehorse Secretariat. Because cloning is illegal, he would not be allowed to race, but Dad has resolved that by fraudulently registering him. And there’s a second problem. Dad still owes the cloner $250,000, which must be paid before possession can pass to Christian. After exhausting all other avenues, Christian takes out a loan from Vince Florio, a New York mobster, whom he must repay in two years at 100-percent interest. When a sheik wants to buy the animal, which would allow Christian to repay Vince, he refuses. He promised his father he would race the colt, damn the illegalities. To add to Christian’s woes, perfect girlfriend Kate is not so perfect. When Christian breaks up with her, she begins stalking him-think life-threatening obsession. He’s now in double jeopardy from Vince and Kate, as is his new girlfriend, horse trainer Allie, his parents, and grandparents.
Author Susan Klaus has bred and raced thoroughbreds and is intimately familiar with the good, the bad, and the ugly of the racing world. She’s crafted her debut thriller, which could more accurately be called a romantic suspense novel, after having written several fantasy novels. Although it’s heavy on horse racing lore and lingo, the premise and plotline will appeal to most readers, racing aficionados or not. Setting is one of Klaus’ strengths and the smells and sounds of the racetrack and the rural life of Florida come through loud and clear. Some of Christian’s problems are resolved a little too easily, but this a thoroughly enjoyable beginning to what could become a series. A sequel, Shark Fin Soup, is in the works.”
From Tulsa Book Review
This sensational novel has more twists and turns than a dump truck full of pretzels! It’s nearly impossible to put down, and when you finish it, you’ll want to go right back to the beginning to start all over again. It’s totally satisfying on every level: humdinger of a plot, fabulous (great and evil) characters, wonderful settings.
Once upon a time, in 1973, a fabulous racehorse won the Triple Crown along with the hearts of horse-lovers everywhere. Somehow, a vial of his blood was secretly drawn and taken immediately to a lab in a faraway state, where it was frozen. Scientists there were just beginning to work on cloning. Some twenty-five years later, some of the blood was unfrozen and through the magic of science, a proven thoroughbred mare was used to incubate cells from the blood. The result was a totally astonishing horse.
Because of the nature of all this, all the details had to remain top secret, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were needed to acquire the male colt that was born from this experiment. Fake papers were created to prove his provenance, although the sire’s name was greatly changed from the reality. It’s a bit difficult for a horse to stand at stud forty years later, so the champion’s name – Secretariat – was never mentioned in connection with this new colt.
The man responsible for this action was a broken-down horse trainer in Florida, whose entire life was wrapped up in his horses. His wife left him, but took his son with her. The son, Christopher Roberts, learns to love the water and sailing rather than being totally devoted to horses. When the older man learns he is dying, he calls for his son and begs a promise to get and race this mystery horse. Therein lies the tale.
And what a tale it is. The horsey parts seem to be totally accurate, as do the sailing parts. Hats off to the author for having created two such entirely believable, yet dissimilar worlds. And then you add in the third: the mob with its talons into everything, including the racing. Of course, they also run dope, and this is where young Chris’s unusual knowledge of sailing and tides, etc., will serve to save not only his life, but also one of the mob who’s really trying to kill him.
The mob puts up the money to buy the mystery colt, who does indeed look exactly like Secretariat. It’s been 40 years since that sparkling racing season, and not too many folks readily recall the original horse. Chris’s trainer, Allie, sees only the current horse, and his owner. She wears the same sort of blinders the horses do, but they don’t protect her from Chris’s charms. Unhappily, his prior girlfriend isn’t willing to turn him loose, and it’s hard to know who’s more dangerous—the mob or the psychopathic ex?
In the end, however, Chris’s integrity wins out. There are just too many hurdles to be overcome in order to successfully race this new wonder horse. Mystery is put out to pasture where he can run as much as he wishes.
This book is absolutely one of the best books – of any kind – that I’ve read this year. I’d give it 10 stars if I could! Not for the faint of heart perhaps, but extraordinary, nonetheless.
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz