Thoroughbred horse racing expert Rob Hilliard’s second novel set against that backdrop, All In?… Beware the Cross Currents, once again follows the exploits of former two-time Kentucky Governor Bentley Wellington, coal baroness Abigail Prescott Wellington and their son, Beauregard, operator of Lexington-based Triple-B Racing Stables. As 1983 unfolds, vulnerabilities of the Commonwealth’s first family are at work as Kentucky’s alcohol of choice, the sport of kings and power politics provide the combustible combination that embroils the Wellingtons in an expanding web of scandal involving illicit sex, shady financial dealings, brushes with the underworld and murder.
Another prominent family, the Cutters of Leesburg, Virginia, is led by Thomas Jefferson Cutter III, a youthful Virginia horseman whose fateful meeting with his Kentucky-based counterpart leads to a dueling dance of equine-industry elites. Their interaction has consequences – not simply for members of their immediate families, but for a widening circle of friends and associates.
“For my first work of fiction,” Hilliard writes, “I borrowed from my youth in New Jersey and years as a student at the University of Virginia, along with a lifetime of experiences in thoroughbred racing; a professional career that took me from Wall Street and Madison Avenue to the Motor City and business centers throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.” The second book, he notes, was the result of the love affair he developed with the initial book’s characters. “I was curious to see how these people would navigate life’s challenges.” ◊