A Novel of Peril and Misadventure in Search of the Elusive Automatic Bet
By Mark Cramer
Publisher: DRF Press - November 2008
Paperback - 288-pages
For horseplayer and jazz pianist Matt Bosch it looks easy. All he has to do is meet an entrepreneur in South America, secure a signature for a new off-shore race track, and collect a hundred grand. But when he gets there, he finds himself on an obstacle course of seemingly insurmountable traps. He becomes embroiled in a violent land conflict, is forced to do business with an unsavory underworld, and collides with the principled opposition of his own wife. An exotic call girl supposedly comes to the rescue, but what ultimate sacrifice is she demanding in return? Along the way, he continues his search for the elusive automatic bet, making discoveries that are only possible to envision from afar. He wonders whether he'll ever be able to return to his favorite spot by the rail at Laurel.
• Read Chapter One
About the Author:
Mark Cramer has authored numerous books on horse racing handicapping and adventure (or misadventure) travel. When he's not betting horses, he's bicycling to jazz concerts, to the French countryside, and to his job as university professor. He lives in Paris with his wife and son.
Praise for TROPICAL DOWNS
NEW! Read LazyBettor.com's review of Tropical Downs
"In 'Tropical Downs' we find that Mark Cramer, a renown handicapping expert with a novel approach can write a very good novel as well. The characters are modern Damon Runyon-esque, the plots thicken like good Onion Soup from France, where Mark actually lives. The South American setting is as exotic as a Superfecta score at Saratoga and the drama peels off layer by layer like a bulging bankroll of $100 bills.
"Cramer knows the game, knows the people, the diabolical places he puts us in and he carries us from the starting gate to the finish line with the skill of a great storyteller. With any curiosity or knowledge about horse racing or gambling, or jazz, or world travel, you will enjoy this book and probably learn things about risk and reward you never thought about. And, if Hollywood is paying attention, you should see Cramer's 'Tropical Downs' a few years down the road in your favorite movie theater. There is no other book out there right now that would work as well on the big screen."
Author of The Best and Worst of Thoroughbred Racing and Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21ST Century
"It's wonderful! Maybe it's because Mark Cramer has actually lived there that when he places his horseplaying protagonist, Matt Bosch, in Bolivia - where no racetrack exists - the prolific author's many followers can be sure the exotic landscape will become not only a fabulous plot device but also a frontier of discovery for all of us.
"Once into the shenanigans, horseplayers will relish Cramer's clever juxtaposition of the familiar (Saratoga) and unknown (La Paz), and of the real-world handicapper deluxe Nick Kling and the creepy railbird characters Panama Slim and Manuel Arce.
"The fiction is fun and Cramer swears the handicapping art that runs throughout the novel happened exactly as presented."
Author of The Best of Thoroughbred Handicapping and The Handicapper's Condition Book