Wednesday, May 12, 2021

An Interview with Annette Dashofy by E. B. Davis


Funny, Jessie thought, how the truth could lie just under the surface, unseen.

Unless you knew where to look.

Annette Dashofy, Death by Equine, Kindle Loc. 3063


Misplaced trust

Veterinarian Jessie Cameron agrees to fill in for her mentor, Doc Lewis, at Riverview Racetrack so he can take a long-overdue vacation. When he’s tragically killed by one of his equine patients the night before he’s supposed to leave, Jessie quickly suspects the death is anything but accidental. Her search for the truth is thwarted by everyone from well-meaning friends to the police, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Undaunted, she discovers layers of illegal activities and deceit being perpetrated by the man she thought of as a father figure, creating a growing list of suspects with reason to want Doc dead. Too late, she realizes that her dogged quest for the truth has put her in the crosshairs of a devious killer desperate to silence her. Permanently.


I was riveted to Death By Equine, hooked, right from the start. The intensity and complications mounted until ending in the unexpected. Is it any wonder Annette Dashofy has been nominated multiple times for Agatha Awards?


Disillusionment hits Dr. Jessie. The men in her life have let her down, not softly, but with thumping whacks. It’s the shock the immobilizes her at first. But she getting over it in stages. First her marriage, but then her mentor is killed and she finds truths about him that contradict her trusted and sacred memories. Then, she finds out the truth about a man she starts to date. Doing her job is where she finds solace and stability and clues revealing a murderer, who uses a horse to do his dirty work.


Please congratulate Annette on her first Indie publication. And it’s a captivating read.                                                                                                   E. B. Davis

What is a Bowie storage unit?

A Bowie unit is basically a mobile veterinary clinic. It’s a big white fiberglass unit that fits into the bed of a pickup truck and contains all sorts of storage cubbies to carry the tools and medications a veterinarian uses when they do farm calls or otherwise work away from a veterinary hospital.


Why did Doc Lewis enter a horse’s stall when the horse acted aggressively and had a history of reacting uncontrollably to certain medications?

That’s what Jessie would like to know! In this case, Doc was distracted by his vacation plans and maybe had a bit too much faith in his own ability to handle the animal. But being careless was definitely not characteristic for him.


Dr. Jessie and her detective state-trooper husband, Greg, were married ten years when she found him with another woman. What happened to their marriage?

They’re both workaholics, Jessie especially, and she failed to see that they were growing apart. In Greg’s defense, he asked for the divorce before she walked into the restaurant and spotted him holding hands with a stunning redhead. Even so, Jessie had been in denial, so seeing them like that hit her pretty hard.


When Daniel Shumway, the racetrack owner, asks Jessie to take over Doc’s practice at the track, she asks Dr. Meryl Davidson, her partner at their animal hospital, to take on her load. Why does she do so, at least temporarily?

Jessie had already made arrangements with Meryl so Jessie could cover for Doc while he was on vacation. She simply agrees to continue filling in for those two weeks as she’d already planned. At least at first. Daniel, however, would like to make the situation permanent.


Catherine Dodd buys horses she really can’t afford in hope of getting a triple crown winner. Are there people who do this, like they are horse junkies? Do unscrupulous breeders prey on them?

Breeders are a whole other part of the industry. By the time a horse is old enough to go into training, the breeder is usually out of the picture. Most of the horses they produce will go to auction as yearlings.


Catherine has fallen victim to the allure of horseracing. Everyone who owns a racehorse dreams of making it to Churchill Downs on the first Sunday in May (the Kentucky Derby). Catherine’s dreams have become something of an obsession though and have left her vulnerable to trainers who may or may not have her best interests in mind.


When I looked up Lasix, it appears to be a diuretic. Why do healthy race horses need to be shot up with a diuretic after practices or races? I can understand that inflammation could be a problem, but if their hearts and lymphatic systems are good, their bodies would naturally get rid of fluids. Where are the horse’s hocks?

I’ll try to answer this without sounding like a textbook. Often a young Thoroughbred will bleed from the lungs when it’s worked hard. This sounds way worse than it is. But when a horse comes back from the track with a bloody nose, the trainer will summon the vet. That horse will then be prescribed Lasix to be given before it races. On the one hand, it prevents the horse from bleeding into its lungs. On the other hand, yes, it’s a diuretic. The horse urinates after being given the drug but before racing…which makes the horse lighter and potentially faster since it’s carrying less weight. Some states have outlawed the use of Lasix and the subject can be a hot topic at times. As a side note, this is not a problem limited to Thoroughbreds. I once owned a Quarter Horse that was a high-strung ball of nerves at times and would bleed from the lungs. I had my vet out a couple of times to administer Lasix because of it.


As for the hock, that’s a joint in a horse’s back leg.


I was surprised that Jessie didn’t know that Sherry Malone was Doc’s assistant. Weren’t Jessie and Doc close?

They were. But both were workaholics (there’s that word again). Both had full practices and they didn’t spend as much time together in recent years. It had been years since Jessie helped Doc at the track, so she didn’t know his current assistant.


When Sherry confirms she is Doc’s illegitimate daughter, Jessie is shocked. Why does Sherry react so negatively to Jessie, threatening her?

This puzzles Jessie as well! Sherry is a tough cookie without a lot of people skills. She’s always had to take care of herself and frankly is more than a little envious of Jessie.


Why does Sherry hang out at Neil Emerick’s barn? He’s rough on the horses and people.

She’s in debt to him. And not in a good way.


When Meryl criticizes a receptionist, Vanessa, at their animal hospital who Jessie hired, Jessie defends Vanessa. Had Jessie known Vanessa was dating her ex, would she have defended her?

Definitely not!


Jessie doesn’t end up getting much to eat because she’s too busy. When she does eat, it’s usually nacho chips with the Velveeta cheese or French fries. Why doesn’t she get a real meal?

Ha! Jessie is a vegetarian. The track’s food vendors aren’t exactly vegetarian friendly, and she doesn’t have time to venture out to find a restaurant. As a vegetarian myself, I’ve resorted to this same diet on occasion.


What is a Coggins test? How serious is it?

The Coggins test is a blood test to identify Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). Any horse (not just racehorses) that is transported across state lines or into a facility like a racetrack, needs to show current negative Coggins papers to prevent the spread of the virus, which is deadly. I have to say, while this part of the story may sound like I’m making a statement on the current pandemic, I’m not. I wrote this book back in 2005 and little about the virus storyline changed between then and now. As I was rereading the old manuscript, the parallels really jumped out at me. It’s kinda spooky!


Is there a law preventing criminals from owning racetracks?

Daniel doesn’t actually own the racetrack. He’s the CEO. But gaming licensing boards are notoriously strict. If his history was to surface, I’m sure there would be dire repercussions.


What is Kool-Out Clay? Regu-Mate?

These are just a couple of the items you’ll find in virtually any racehorse trainer’s tack room. Kool-Out Clay is used as a poultice to take the heat out of a horse’s legs. Regu-Mate is given to mares (female horses) to keep their temperament more even when they’re in heat.


Will this be your new Indie series? What about Zoe and Pete (and give us the next title/blurb, if you would)?

While Death by Equine was originally intended to be a series (back in 2005), my agent at the time wasn’t able to sell it. The second book is so outdated and irrelevant in today’s world, I wouldn’t think of trying to release it. I may break it down into a couple of short stories at some point, but right now, I’m not anticipating any more Riverview Racetrack novels.


The news is better about Zoe and Pete. Level Best Books has signed me for books 11, 12, and 13 in the Zoe Chambers mystery series. I’m currently working on the first of those, which carries the working title of Fatal Reunion and is set for release in May 2022. Zoe’s twentieth high school reunion is days away when a college-bound young woman with a bright future is found brutally murdered. As county coroner, Zoe finds the circumstances eerily similar to a trio of homicides from her school days. The question becomes how can this new murder be tied to a serial killer who took his own life decades ago?



  1. A must-read! And, with all the controversy over the Kentucky Derby, definitely timely.

  2. Congratulations, Annette. You never know where this may lead!

  3. Thank you, KM. While I hate the mess that's become of the Kentucky Derby this year, I have to admit, it's definitely added to the discussion.

    Thanks, Jim. It all remains to be seen.

  4. Excellent post, Annette. I’m glad to see that your Pete and Zoe series continues too.

  5. Congratulations! Agreed, after the Derby mess, a timely read.

  6. I can only hope to have such a long-standing series. Congratulations, Annette and wonderful interview, E.B.

  7. Great interview, Elaine and Annette.
    Annette, this book sounds like a wonderful start for a new series—if you choose to write two series simultaneously.

  8. Thank you, Marilyn. There will be no least not full-length books. Possibly a short story or two. The research for this one is too labor-intensive.

  9. Congratulations on Zoe and Pete's 11, 12, and 13, Annette! They're going to keep you busy and the rest of us great company. Another wonderful interview, E.B. Thanks!