by Patricia Simpson

November 2005
ISBN: 0-765-35324-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Tor Books
Mass Market Paperback

Author Patricia Simpson continues her series The Forbidden Tarot, with The Dark Horse. This is a brooding novel with somber overtones that will draw a reader inside.

Linguist Claire Coulter is caught up in her employer’s schemes. By offering to pay for her brother’s illness, Claire’s boss plans to not only use Claire’s expertise, but expects additional compensation for his generosity. Claire is not at all pleased with his assumptions, but agrees to help him find an ancient relic in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Jack Hughes has no idea that he has been hired to take Claire and her boss, Tobias Benton, deep into the mountains. He would never have agreed to it. But his father made the commitment, and he will honor it. But he doesn’t have to like it. Benton is annoying, and Jack is strangely drawn to his girlfriend, Claire. There are plenty of reasons to back out of this deal. Jack has more than enough to worry about with his ranch. Taking time out to lead some civilians into the wilderness is just asking for trouble.

Ms. Simpson has carried elements from the first story over very well. The reader is not hampered by a lack of information, and the story flows well. I found the chapter headings to be quite confusing, however, and I finally stopped reading them. I was much more interested in the main story. There are some intriguing paranormal elements that I will not discuss in detail other than to say that they were unique and fascinating. Jack and Claire have a number of hurdles to conquer on their journey, and Ms. Simpson does a fine job of bringing all of the elements together.

Reviewed in October 2005 by Paula.

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