________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 19. . . .January 22, 2010


Razor's Edge. (Orca Sports).

Nikki Tate.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2009.
163 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-167-8.

Subject Heading:
Horses-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 7-10 / Ages 12-15.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

**** /4



"What are you doing?" I ask Jasper when he pulls a red duffel bag out from behind the tack trunk.

"Grabbing my duffel bag. What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Yeah, I can see that. Why? What's in the bag?"

"Sleeping bag. Toothbrush. Homework. Chocolate-chip cookies. Any more questions?" Jasper grins at me and closes the tack room door.

"Sounds like what you'd take on a camping trip."


"You're going camping? What about a tent?"

Jasper rolls his eyes. "I'm sleeping right here."


"So I can keep an eye on the horses' tails."


Travis has been warned to stay away from her- twice, and he's being teased for being with her, but Travis finds himself drawn to Sassy. Now that they have been spending some time together, he even wants to help her buy a car for her mom. The trouble is Sassy is accusing Jasper, Travis's best friend and business partner, of stealing from the Three Musketeers Racing Stable. Ryan, the third business partner at the racing stable, has his own ideas about who is stealing from them, but Travis is not convinced. On top of everything Sassy has said about Jasper, Travis has seen razor blades and horse hairs in Jasper's duffel bag.

      Travis, Jasper, and Ryan's biggest problems used to be high school homework, paying vet and feed bills, and placing horses in races. Now they have to find a way to protect their horses. Someone is cutting off their tails. The truth behind the reason will be a surprise for all three, but it will hit Travis the hardest. Someone he was beginning to trust has been lying to him.

      Razor's Edge is from the "Orca Sports" series. Preteen boys and girls will enjoy the action of the harness races and the mystery surrounding the missing tails. As the tension mounts in the story, Nikki Tate, the author, also captures the excitement and uncertainty that can come along with dating someone new and unknown, and she mixes in vivid descriptions of scenes that involve a fight, a kiss, and a race. Although loss is felt at the end of the story, the three friends do find a way to mend their friendship—and pay their bills.

      Written with a reading level of 3.1 but geared towards the interests of 12 to 15- year-olds, Razor's Edge reads like a real life mystery. As Ryan finds out, horse hair is sought after by a variety of people for things like violin bows, horse tail extensions, and dream catchers. And as I found out, there have been cases in the past where horse tails have been lopped off and the owners have been baffled as to why.

      Nikki Tate, who was born in England, is the author of many books for children and young adults, including Venom ("Orca Sports"), the "StableMates" series, Jo's Triumph and Jo's Journey. She lives on Vancouver Island with an assortment of animals.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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