Book 3 The Michael Butler Saga

Fiction - Crime
422 Pages
Reviewed on 05/03/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Racino by Peter P. Sellers is the third book in The Michael Butler Saga, following its predecessors, Vernon Fix and Saratoga Called. In this installment, we pick up in the world of harness racing with Michael Butler, who is pulled from a relative calm within his own horse stable when his in-laws, entangled in a sect of East Coast organized crime, are securing a newly groomed generation of the Tanzini crime family into the fold. Butler, having already been hit previously with the consequences of the connection, has been working to rebuild his relationship with his wife, Sophia, whose devotion to her family forces Butler to consider the possibility that she might be involved in a money laundering scheme.

Racino by Peter P. Sellers starts out with a bolt from the gate and doesn't slow down in this action-packed crime thriller. The detail Sellers imparts of the realm of harness racing is extraordinary. I actually live in the UK and have often watched the Traveler community as they trained with their horses on suburban streets in preparation for their (illegal) sulky-races. Initially, my curiosity of a sport I knew absolutely nothing about is what prompted me to read Racino, but it's the story crafting and Sellers' skill as a writer of intrigue that kept me turning the pages. The dialogue is authentic and the descriptions of people, atmosphere, and both sides of the racing world - honorable and the dishonorable underbelly that, truthfully, keeps people betting - are top notch. Luckily, readers don't have to wait to find out how Michael Butler fares as the final installment of the series, Jate's Boy, is already out.

Ruffina Oserio

Racino is the third book in the Michael Butler Saga by Peter P. Sellers, a rollicking crime thriller featuring a mob, horse racing, and money laundering. Readers are introduced to Michael Butler, whose investigative services are enlisted by his friend, Paul Collins, the man who heads the security in a large casino. The job would involve the uncles of Butler’s wife, the Tanzani Brothers, a gang that is using the casino and horse racing to launder money. As Michael starts digging, he can’t help but suspect that his wife might be involved in the gang activities, given that her cousins are already linked to a suspicious bank account that keeps accumulating money. But can Michael keep his investigation under control once an investigative journalist starts asking questions?

This is a great crime story with powerful characters. I loved the protagonist, Michael Butler, and the dilemma in which he finds himself —caught between protecting his wife and investigating her. Peter P. Sellers uses red herrings to create the kind of suspense that keeps readers interested in the plot and in the characters. I enjoyed the way the author handles the conflict, developing it at different levels. The protagonist is involved in a psychological conflict when it comes to the question of whether his wife is involved with the Tanzani Brothers, and how to handle things if it turns out that she is. The writing is great and it is peppered with well-crafted and natural-sounding dialogues that help advance the plot. Peter P. Sellers is a superb author and Racino is indisputable proof of his gift for storytelling.

Christian Sia

Racino is book 3 in The Michael Butler Saga by Peter P. Sellers, a focused and engaging crime novel with great characters. Paul Collins mans the security in a large casino and suspicious happenings compel him to seek the help of his friend, Michael Butler, to unravel the dirty schemes of the Tanzini Brothers, notorious for their money laundering activities. The intriguing thing is that the mobsters are uncles to Butler’s wife and he worries that his wife might be involved in their criminal activities. This is a story about an investigation into crimes that could involve horse racing. The discovery of huge sums of money being deposited into an account at the Great Head Waters Casino in Central New York State, with evidence pointing to the cousins of Butler’s wife, Sophia, makes things complicated for him. Before long, a crime reporter is nosing around for facts. Can Butler discover the whole truth and how devastating could it be?

This is an engaging story and part of the book’s appeal lies in the perspective of the protagonist, well described to allow the internal and psychological conflict to come out. The concept behind the conflict is ingenious and it affects the plot in great many ways. Investigating crime is already a serious topic for a novel, but the thought that one’s superstar wife could be involved in a crime they are investigating raises the stakes incredibly and Peter P. Sellers has handled this with great mastery. The descriptions are exceptional, seamlessly done, capturing details in the narrative and unveiling powerful emotions in the characters. Racino is a riveting read, a great achievement, fast-paced and engrossing.