Title: Unicorns Don’t Wear Shoes
Author: Helen M. Hogan
Genre: Mysteries / Thriller & Suspense
Reviewed by: Jack Chambers
Pacific Book Review
In our modern world, people are always looking for heroes to look up to. The people who will rush into danger, putting themselves on the line to protect others, and the people who will fear nothing to stop those who would seek to harm the rest of the world. While films will give these roles to those who can take to the skies or punch a hole through concrete walls, the real world is filled with heroes in much more subtle examples. Most come from law enforcement or health services, saving people through police work or healing those who are sick or injured. Yet once in a while, an average, ordinary person will step forward in times of great crisis, and put themselves on the line to stop an extraordinary and shocking danger.
In author Helen M. Hogan’s Unicorns Don’t Wear Shoes, the concept of heroes takes shape through the story of Wes Wilson, a principal who spends his free time riding and working his horse. One day, he discovers a body in the barn where he boards his quarter horse, and upon reporting it to the police, finds himself facing unexpected accusations from the chief deputy. This investigation puts his dream of competing with his stallion in cutting horse shows and of dating the beautiful Cathy McLeod on hold, but in the meantime, he manages to save Mrs. Mager’s lost pony and steps in when the foreman Sutherland slaughters the barn kittens in front of a young girl. As he deals with problems at his school and faces an opposing and vindictive superintendent, the investigation rears its ugly head when the federal government gets involved, and the identity of the murder victim changes the course of the case from a murder to a terrorist plot – one that only Wes may be able to thwart.
The author did a wonderful job of crafting an explosive and action-packed narrative, weaving together several threads of storylines of which each individually make compelling stories to get lost in, and when brought together create an exhilarating novel which keeps the readers glued to the pages. The way the author was able to find the right balance between the mystery and suspense aspects of the thriller involving the murder investigation, and the subsequent terrorist angle with the more subtle and nuanced moments of exploring the world of horse riding and horse care, is great to see come to life on the pages.
This is the perfect book for those who enjoy mystery reads, especially those which combine an almost modern-day western feel with terrorist and murder mystery suspense thriller vibes. One thing which really stood out was the sheer volume of rich character development the author spent on bringing these people to life, especially the protagonist Wes. His honesty and determination melded with his everyman approach to life, helped craft a relatable and engaging protagonist to get behind, and his relationships with his son, his friends, and Cathy McLeod made for compelling storytelling.
Action-packed, thrilling, and entertaining, author Helen M. Hogan’s Unicorns Don’t Wear Shoes is a must-read mystery and suspense thriller you won’t be able to put down. The book harkens back to the late 2000s for its setting, and the atmosphere reflects the social, political, and at times historical background that many people will remember from that time, and this allows the protagonist’s story and the mystery itself to thrive and grow naturally to create a thrilling reading experience.