Monday, May 6, 2013

Foal Play by Kathryn O'Sullivan Review/Author Interview

Blurb: Colleen McCabe is enjoying an uneventful summer in North Carolina's Outer Banks supervising her firefighters, making rounds with her Border collie, Sparky, and keeping an eye on the wild horses escaped from the local sanctuary. But when a dead body washes up on shore, she knows trouble has arrived in Corolla.
Colleen is ready to start work on the investigation, but much to her irritation, her best friend, Sheriff Bill Dorman, makes it clear he doesn’t want her butting her nose in or poking around. The stubborn Colleen, however, is not so easily deterred. When a man with a gun is spotted lurking around the lighthouse and her former school teacher’s house explodes, she adds arson and a second suspicious death to her informal investigation. Colleen soon finds herself juggling her job, amorous advances from the town’s developer, and intrusions from the local press, all while keeping information from Bill. Her secret sleuthing quickly comes to an end, however, when a bigger threat enters the picture.
With a gutsy heroine, a lovable dog sidekick, quirky characters, and a charming locale, Kathryn O'Sullivan's Foal Play is a zany, fun-filled ride sure to please mystery readers.
My Review: This book is the winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, and it is no "mystery" why - this is one outstanding debut!!!
Set on the beautiful Outer Banks in North Carolina, Corolla Fire Chief Colleen McCabe loves her home, job, and the wild Spanish mustangs that run free on the island. But trouble washes ashore in the form of a dead body stumbled upon by a pair of teens in a dune buggy out chasing the horses. Later that day, July 4th, a charred female is found in the remains of the burned out home of cranky former schoolteacher Myrtle Crepe. Against the wishes of her friend and town sheriff Bill Dorman, Colleen makes up her mind to smoke out the killer, aided by a very unexpected, unwelcome (yet hilarious) houseguest.
A stellar cast of primary and secondary characters, a picturesque setting, and a compelling story make this book a must-read for mystery lovers. I loved how the wild horses played a key role in the end (and I adore Colleen's pets...Sparky the loyal Border collie and Smokey the cantankerous Siamese). Put this one at the top of your summer reading list...I guarantee you'll feel the ocean breeze and hear the pounding of horses' hooves right from your backyard lawn chair!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.


Interview with Kathryn O'Sullivan
Q:  Tell us about Foal Play… what inspired the book?
A:  In the 1990s, my family began vacationing in Corolla which is located on the northern end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  I instantly fell in love with the place.  The beaches are beautiful and, at that time, the wild horses roamed freely about the community where we stayed.  I loved watching the horses from the balcony of the house we had rented – truly magical.   I started writing an early version of the book back in the mid-1990s but then put it aside as graduate school and work obligations demanded my time.  A couple summers ago I decided to pull the book out and finish it.  Foal Play is my love letter to Corolla.
          Q:  Is this going to be a series?
A:  Yes and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  I am working on the second book now and have ideas for six after that.  Hopefully, readers will enjoy them enough to allow me to live with these characters for some time.
      Q:  I understand you recently went on a tour at a wild horse sanctuary… what was that like?
A:  Amazing.  If you ever visit Corolla or the Outer Banks, I highly recommend taking a tour with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (  This nonprofit organization’s mission is to protect, conserve, and manage the wild Spanish Mustangs and to work toward preserving their habitat.  The sanctuary land is only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicle and people live within the sanctuary so it’s critical that the horses’ habitat is protected.  The patrol specialist that gave us the tour was well acquainted with where the horses liked to “hang out” and I learned a great deal from her.  We were lucky enough to see 40 of the 119 horses including an adorable and fuzzy foal.  A real treat!
      Q:  What do you have for pets?
A:  Several years ago my husband and I adopted a grey tabby cat, Oscar, from a rescue organization.  He was scheduled to be euthanized at the local animal shelter before being rescued.  I’ve had many cats in my life but none like Oscar.  He’s a cat of extremes… affectionate, brave, cuddly, and wild most days but also timid and fearful of strangers and thunderstorms.  There’s never a dull moment with him.
         Q:  I read on your website about your Western web series… what’s that about?
A:  In spring 2011, my husband and I first started entertaining the idea of doing a web series. (For those who aren’t familiar with web series, the best way to think of them is like online television with shorter episodes.)  Also around that time we saw a special about when Westerns dominated television shows in the 50s/60s and thought the West might be an interesting backdrop for a story.  It’s funny because neither one of us were particularly fans of the genre… although we’ve certainly come to appreciate them much more now!  I wanted to tell a story that included strong female characters and depicted many of the cultures that existed in the West.   We launched Thurston in October 2011.  The series is about the residents of a remote mining town and their struggle for survival in the 1880s Kansas Ozarks.  The show has received some lovely recognition and awards and has viewers/fans from all over the world.  And, like in Foal Play, there are horses!  If your readers are curious, they can check out the show at or on KoldCast TV at
         Q:  What do you like to do in your free time?
A:  I’m smiling at this question because with teaching full-time at Northern Virginia Community College, doing the web series, and writing mystery novels,  I don’t have much free time.  When I do have free time I love to be out in nature, see great theatre, and spend time with my husband, family and friends.
         Q:  Top 3 things on your bucket list?
A:  I’ve never created a bucket list but I do want to see Ireland at some point.  No surprise there, right?!  ;-)
      Q:  What are you working on now?
A:  I’m working on Role Play, the cozy mystery that will follow Foal Play, season 2 of our Western web series, and the beginning stages of a science fiction project.
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Anonymous said...

I would so love to go on a Wild Horse tour in Corrola! Can't wait to get cracking on this book! I, too, have a little gray rescue kitty and have a sticker on my car that says, "Who Rescued Who?"

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Awww I need a bumper sticker that says perfect :)