Welcome to Alex Brown's blog. I will occasionally write about horse racing, horse welfare, social media and other random topics.

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Missionville Update: 268 sold, 34 reviews

After ten weeks since publication, I wanted to provide a quick update on how Missionville is doing.

All sales are through Amazon, whether it’s for the paperback or kindle version.

In total, 268 copies of Missionville have been sold, three quarters of those sales are for the paperback.

The majority of sales have come through amazon.com (the US market), but a few have come from .co.uk (where I now live) and .ca (Canada, where I worked at Woodbine for two years).

So far, the book has received thirty-three 5 star reviews and one 4 star review. Twenty-seven of these reviews are on the .com site, four are on the .co.uk site, and three are on the .ca site.

A reminder to anyone who has purchased the book, e-mail me your mailing address to alexbr4cornwall@gmail.com, I’ll send you a book postcard, personalized and signed.

For a glance at the book, here is an excerpt: Missionville, Chapter 4

Missionville Update: 236 sold, 27 Amazon Reviews

After two months since publication, I wanted to provide a quick update on how Missionville is doing.

All sales are through Amazon, whether it’s for the paperback or kindle version.

In total, 236 copies of Missionville have been sold, three quarters of those sales are for the paperback.

The majority of sales have come through amazon.com (the US market), but a few have come from .co.uk (where I now live) and .ca (Canada, where I worked at Woodbine for two years).

So far, the book has received twenty-six 5 star reviews and one 4 star review. Twenty of these reviews are on the .com site, four are on the .co.uk site, and three are on the .ca site.

A reminder to anyone who has purchased the book, e-mail me your mailing address to alexbr4cornwall@gmail.com, I’ll send you a book postcard, personalized and signed.

For a glance at the book, here is an excerpt: Missionville, Chapter 4

Missionville: Amazon Reviews

The following are the reviews for Missionville on Amazon. All reviews are 5 star, unless otherwise noted.

Amazon.com Reviews 30

A Book I Didn’t Want to Put Down! RJ818
I was lucky enough to get a chance to read this book early, and it was fantastic! It gives you a different view into life at a race track, the good and the bad. It’s hard not to get attached to the characters and cheer for them to find the right paths. I cannot wait to read it again once my official copy comes tomorrow. Whether you are a fan of horse racing or not, this book is worth reading. I highly recommend it to everyone!

Magnificent Horse Racing Literary Ride Kristen Halverson
Magnificent Horse Racing Read! This is a thrilling equine literary ride! You will want to read over and over! I could not put it down.
Brown illustrates a clear view into the backside culture of the racing life through his extraordinary and descriptive narrative! You feel like you know the characters by the end of the book. I really enjoyed how Brown created a wonderful protagonist in this story. It teaches us all that we should always strive to do the right thing!
Fabulous work, Mr. Brown!

It’s not always the pretty pictures the casual fan sees on television of gleaming … Peggi Loveless
In Missionville, author Alex Brown brings an authentic voice to the backside of horse racing. Fans of Dick Francis will appreciate his attention to detail that adds so much to the story of a low-level racetrack and the good/evil stories that play out there on a daily basis. It’s not always the pretty pictures the casual fan sees on television of gleaming horses and flowers and nicely-dressed owners. Alex acknowledges that world but pays homage to the struggles of the little guys in the game that we seldom see. I’m a racing fan and I was captivated by his portrayals of the people and horses. A must read for all fans and those who only know the big names.

Got more out of this book than I expected. Robert C Taylor
As a lifelong fan of horse racing, I started ‘Missionville’ thinking I had a solid understanding of the sport. But after finishing this book I am walking away with a new perspective. When you watch a race from the grandstand, or on TV, you are only seeing what they want you to see. Apparently there is so much more behind the scenes. I understand that this is a work of fiction, but the author incorporates so many unfortunate realities that you end up with a bit of an informal education on the racing industry.

Easy to read, but weighty material. And I enjoyed the characters enough to be interested in a sequel.

a novel that shines a light on the sad realities of American horse racing
A novel about the lowest sort of American racetrack. The kind that feels like a third world country behind the scenes, with cheating as the standard of care, or as the author puts it,a place where “no one wants to care.” This is because the kinds of races and the quality of horses are such that the horsemen are barely surviving.The love of the routine training horses comes through in this novel about a trainer and a horse rescuer who team up to expose the ugly truth about Thoroughbreds going to horse slaughter.

This was a tough read for someone who has seen these realities in the sport. But whether you bet on horses (‘the sport of kings”) or like to play the games at the adjoining casinos (racinos) you should pick up this book to get a sense of the problems the industry faces.
The author is a real horsemen who bases this novel on his own research and experience. At times the events in the book too closely mirror reality or sound familiar to someone who has read the stories about broken down racehorses ending up in a slaughter auction or trainers and veterinarians caught administering performance enhancing drugs on raceday.

It should be required reading for anyone who attends races and supports horse racing.

Interesting read!! Job well done! John Myers
I really liked this book. It’s hard-hitting, controversial, and makes one think. Though it takes place at a fictional racetrack in PA, it could very well be any racetrack and is based on some unpleasant facts about the industry. Keep ’em coming, Alex Brown

One of the best books I have read about horse racing tlyn
If you only know the racetrack as the Kentucky Derby this is a must read. For horse people this is a book that takes you where you would rather not go. This is a book written as fiction, however, I had to keep reminding myself of that. The characters are so real that you immediately get caught up in their lives. I cannot recommend this book enough. The author is well know for his advocacy of horse welfare and Alex Browns’ many years working at the backside has come thru on paper in this so very real world of Missionville. Thanks for sharing the good and bad of horse racing. Waiting for the next book!!!

you don’t have to be a horse expert to enjoy the book
This book reminded me of some of the Dick Francis books that used to keep me reading chapter after chapter, unable to put them down even though I had a million other things I needed to be doing. During the first few chapters of Missionville, a strong foundation is laid for the rest of the book, with the pace accelerating as you read further and further into the book. Soon, you find yourself reading “just one more chapter” before stopping for the night. The book is focused on horse racing, and the author is obviously very knowledgeable about the topic. However, you don’t have to be a horse expert to enjoy the book, and the authors clear writing style makes it a fun read even if you aren’t in the industry.

Enjoyed the ride!!
In his first novel, Mr. Brown uses his extensive experience in horse racing to bring the fictional racetrack of Missionville to life. His vivid and detailed descriptions of the various aspects of racetrack life, both good and bad, makes the story compelling and interesting. It’s fast paced and the structure of the book made me anxious to continue to the next chapter to find out what happened next!
The book does not shy away from the “dark side” of horse racing and the terrible fate that awaits some horses at the end of their racing days, however, Mr. Brown’s passion for the safety and welfare of the horses is clearly evident throughout. Hopefully readers will be inspired to do what they can to support efforts to improve the sport of horse racing and ensure the safety of the equine athletes.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable and informative read!

Fun read with a serious side Lisa Leach
Great read. Loved the description of the backside world, and the character development as his male lead comes to see and have to deal with racing’s “dirty little secret.” Great attention to detail, and an appreciation of good horsemen and the everyday guys in the sport who give their best. You can feel Alex’s love of horses and the sport and his desire, through his characters, to make it a better place for the racehorse.

both the good and the bad side of horse racing Jeanne Coleman
This book shows all, both the good and the bad side of horse racing, I was aware of some but the knowledge the the writer shares with you is unpleasant at times but what everyone should know about the backside of the tracks. I know it is controversial but this book really makes you think about what “people” get away with and the welfare of these amazing, trusting horses. Well written and fast moving you just can’t put it down. Thanks for sharing your knowledge of the industry.

Dont wait to order this one! fantastic Tanya Brinegar
What an awesome story! I absolutely loved this book(couldnt put it down) until i found out what happened!!! it is defineatly a story for everyone not just horsemen. I promise you ll like it!!! a must get!

It was a great read for me Nick Spagnola
It was a great read for me !! I’m not much into reading books, but I found myself not being able to put this one down . Would highly recommend it !
A+

A great read – engaging and truthful! EKT
I met Alex several years ago when he spoke at the funeral of a dear mutual friend. His eloquence struck me then, and I was happy to make his acquaintance. I heard great things about this book and was not disappointed. He portrays the good and bad sides of the racing industry at this level with honesty and a genuine understanding. The book manages to point out many of the issues that face horse racing and the horse industry as a whole with no sugarcoating of the big picture problems, while leaving the door open for hope and giving credit to the real life individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to improve both aftercare for our athletes and a standard of living for the people involved at the ground level caring for them. This is a great book for both industry insiders and people who just like horses or racing. It is factually accurate and realistic unlike many books with a “horse world” background whose authors last saw a horse at a childhood pony ride! The characters are engaging and well developed. Give it a try!!

Excellent book! Anna V Rolland
Very enjoyable read. This book tackles the difficult and cruel world of horse racing very well, and writes a great story of love and despair. Great progression and character development. I’m glad the story had a happy ending!

Alex Brown’s writing style is engaging J Patton
Trying to decide whether Missionville would be a good read or not? Read it. Written like a diary it integrates the complexities of horse racing. The story centers around the relationships between on and off track characters who lead us through the up and downside of horse and track management.
Alex Brown’s writing style is engaging telling the good and ugly story of a fictional Pennsylvania track.

Best Horse Racing Book Since “Seabiscuit” Stretch Reilly
“Missionville” is the best horse racing book since “Seabiscuit.” Brown, like Hillenbrand, understands the value of telling a horse story in such an authentic way that actual horse people will enjoy. It moves at a good pace and the characters feel real.

Excellent story of what it’s really like behind the scenes …
Excellent story of what it’s really like behind the scenes of horse racing. Well written and a compelling read. It gives a clear picture of a sport based on greed and winning at all costs. Heartbreaking and shameful that these beautiful horses are transported and slaughtered inhumanely on a regular basis.

A very good read. 4 stars. Alex Baldwin
Well researched, well written. A very good read.

Hidden Heart in Horse Racing. Kristen B.
For someone that enjoys horse racing but also has a huge heart for rescue this book was the perfect combination of everything sad and happy with horse racing.. From the first chapter I was drawn in with the sad reality of horse racing and wanted more. I don’t think I have felt more reality through a book and the horse racing industry then with Missionville.. A book with a huge heart, a great and powerful read!! Our horses in racing deserve more!!!

Loved the book and the first person narratives Theresa Ford
Written by someone who knows his subject and is passionate about racing, aftercare and slaughter!
There is a balance between good and evil in this book – showing that there are many good caring people in racing and those that see horses and people as commodities to be used for their own greedy purposes and then discarded.
The background story about 2 rising super- horses is very cool as are the references to Fair Hill, Elkton and Barbaro!
Bravo Alex!

Missionville Caroline
Not just another horse story! Alex Brown has successfully parlayed his extensive horse racing knowledge into a fast paced, impressive first novel. A well crafted tale of racetrack life, with the right blend of passion, treachery, and intrigue, makes Missionville a real page turner.

This is a well developed story that highlights both the good and bad in horse racing Amazon Customer
In Missionville, Alex Brown has given the reader an authentic view of life on the backside of a North American racetrack. This is a well developed story that highlights both the good and bad in horse racing, and shows that even the most well intentioned among us can easily stick our heads in the sand and not face up to the reality of what happens to so many horses after racing. Missionville shines a light on the side of racing that no one wants to acknowledge, while offering hope that things can change and the outcome for horses can be better. Brown has delivered his message in a fast paced story with well rounded characters and a suspenseful plot. I was eager to get to the end to see how it all turned out. Fans of Dick and Felix Francis will especially appreciate the attention to detail and the accurate depiction of a life working with horses. A perfect Christmas gift for all the fans of horses and racing on your list!

the good guys and girls that strive to succeed in a … David Rollinson
A story of success, failure and struggle set in the modern racing world, a world unknown to Dick Francis and most outsider’s. Missionville is very much about to day, the real world, the trials and tribulations of the little guys, the good guys and girls that strive to succeed in a complex environment while putting the horse first. An incite into the camaraderie that exists in the barn area at most race tracks. A great read for the aficionado and lay person alike coupled with a reality check. Hard to put down.

Fiction, but realistic Andrew Durnin
I was immediately interested in the story and understand racetrack life, so it was a very easy read for me although books are rare for me.
But some of the topics were not easy to read at all and as I’ve been lucky to be involved in the upper level of the sport, this made me think a lot more.

I would strongly recommend this book to anti horseracing people so that they … Amazon Customer
This was a very evenhanded treatment of a very misunderstood sport. It was with some tredidation that I ordered it, after reading The Lord of Misrule a few years back. That book was just too ” in your face” about what can happen when greed and corruption eclipse human and animal welfare. Missiinville neatly touches on those topics without the emotional gore. I would strongly recommend this book to anti horseracing people so that they may see the larger picture and forces at work on the backside. I really liked how the author put the spotlight on how the racing community has been very aggressive in rehabbing and rehoming its retired horses..because unbeknownst to the general public, this breed association has been on the forefront of saving its own for a very long time!

A clear and accurate portrayal of the smaller tracks. … Seattle
A clear and accurate portrayal of the smaller tracks. I was an owner, but the description of the backside is scary accurate.

several survivors of said sport reside behind our home and bring us great joy just being horses and friends R. T. Fitch
Missionville ~ A Mission I was reluctant to accept…

Missionville was an extremely difficult, initial read for me. Knowing all too well the underbelly of horse racing and seeing my own fair share of backside tracks and auctions I was not motivated to delve into this story of a ‘sport’ I have little taste for; several survivors of said sport reside behind our home and bring us great joy just being horses and friends.

But with a twist of the tale and turn of the word Alex Brown brings life, love and humanity to his story as he artfully supplies the reader with a most important compelling vision that we rarely see, and that shared gift is one of hope.

A true must read for those who have both saved horses from the kill pen and those who love to experience the vision of those great Thoroughbreds thundering down the track to yet another victory. Missionville truly has a soul.

Not a Dick Francis pot-boiler, but an engaging first novel that makes some serious points 4 stars Mandorichard
Alex Brown has written a very educational novel. He has a story to tell about one of the ugliest side of horse racing — the horse slaughter trade. But he was smart. He didn’t just outline the facts of this situation, as he has done in over venues. He tells a story about likable people in the US racing game who, through their experiences at the track, in the sheds, at the horse auctions, and even in the slaughter industry make his points very effectively. He tells a good story, too. The main and secondary characters are interesting people — not just one-sided stock characters. There’s good and bad in a most of the characters. The plot plods a bit at times, but overall the book works as an engaging story about interesting people. And, because the story and people are good, the reader will stick with the book and, therefore, learn about the things Alex and other concerned horsemen and horsewomen have seen in the underbelly of the American racing scene. An above average first novel that communicates its author’s ideas in an engaging fashion.

Good read, entertaining, educational story Wooley1
At first I wasn’t crazy about reading a book about the dark side of horse racing. I was afraid it would keep me up at night with ugly thoughts. I did give it a go and I don’t regret it. The author put together a story that educates as well as entertains the reader. The low end of racing is not glamorous like the Kentucky Derby but it does have its attractions to the people involved in it. This is shown by the author in his created characters. I like that the characters are believable which gives a sense of reality for this piece of fiction. Nobody is a good guy nor are they a bad guy. It’s just people making daily decisions based on their life circumstances.

It’s easy reading, a good story line and I will encourage many of my friends to read it to get a better understanding of racing when it’s not a triple crown race.

Amazon.co.uk Reviews 4

I finished wishing there was more – always the sign of a great book. I also finished more informed and admiring … Clare Shearman
Whilst not a horsey person, I had read Brown’s other book Barbaro. This is a completely different book but masterful at shedding light on the dark side of the horsing industry. Thankfully there was a glossary of terms for the uninitiated which demystified the context of the book which then turned into a gripping read. I finished wishing there was more – always the sign of a great book. I also finished more informed and admiring of those who take a stand against bad practices within the industry. Thanks

Compelling read Ann Benney
A very enjoyable and compelling read. It brought the world of the American racetrack to life with the camaraderie between the story’s dedicated characters. The writing style was cleverly effective to keep the story moving and not bog it down with unnecessary detail. An accessible, absorbing and friendly book. Bring on the next one!

A very interesting insight into horse racing in America and … cook
A very interesting insight into horse racing in America and the lives of those who work with the horses. Well done.

Interesting, shocking and engrossing! Kate Hughes
At first I thought I was going to struggle to get my head around the racing terminology (wish I’d realised there was a cheat sheet at the back!) but before too long I knew enough to start enjoying the flow of the story. The repeated and regular routines of the main characters create vivid images of their lives and you want the good guys to win through! Highly recommended and I hope there’ll be a sequel because I feel like there’s more to tell.

Amazon CA Reviews 3

Exquisite Nadezda Dohnalova
It’s not just the trilling story most horse people will relate to. This book is like no other for its knowledge and details of racing in North America, running racetracks alone, and life of backstretch people. Should be translated to other languages.

A good balance between the good and evil on the racetrack … Wendy Cooper
Well written. A good balance between the good and evil on the racetrack both on the backside and front-side. Gives a snapshot of the lives of those who live and work on the back stretch and their love of their horses. Hope there is a next one.

Loved it! Chris
Great mix of fact and fiction.

Missionville Postcard

I am excited to roll out a Missionville postcard. This postcard is designed to help me overcome the issue that I am unable to sign books in America and Canada. For those who do purchase Missionville, if you e-mail me your mailing address (to alexbr4cornwall@gmail.com) and the message you would like me to include on the postcard, I’ll send one to you.

The postcard can also serve to help promote Missionville. If you know of a good place to place a few postcards, and are willing to do it (for example a willing tack shop etc.), could you email me, and I will ship a quantity to you.

I am excited to see how the postcards are received. I think they look pretty cool!

Missionville is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, and Booktopia (au), paperback and kindle. It’s a story about greed, desperation and humanity, based at a low-level racetrack in Pennsylvania.

Missionville update: 195 sold, 20 5 star reviews

After six weeks since publication, I wanted to provide a quick update on how Missionville is doing.

All sales are through Amazon, whether it’s for the paperback or kindle version.

In total, 195 copies of Missionville have been sold, three quarters of those sales are for the paperback.

The majority of sales have come through amazon.com (the US market), but a few have come from .co.uk (where I now live) and .ca (Canada, where I worked at Woodbine for two years).

So far, the book has received twenty 5 star reviews. Thirteen of these reviews are on the .com site, four are on the .co.uk site, and three are on the .ca site.

Oddly, Amazon removed one 5 star review, for reasons I am not sure. Unfortunately I don’t know the source of the review.

I am now starting to think about tactics to try to make the most of the holiday buying season. This includes possible Facebook ads, as well as a post card campaign.

For a glance at the book, here is an excerpt: Missionville, Chapter 4

Missionville update: 155 sold, 13 reviews

After a month since publication, I wanted to provide a quick update on how Missionville is doing.

All sales are through Amazon, whether its for the paperback or kindle version.

In total, more than 155 copies of Missionville have been sold, three quarters of those sales are for the paperback.

The majority of sales have come through amazon.com (the US market), but a few have come from .co.uk (where I now live) and .ca (Canada, where I worked at Woodbine for two years).

So far, the book has received thirteen 5 star reviews. Eight of these reviews are on the .com site, three are on the .co.uk site, and two are on the .ca site.

I am very excited about the reviews, which include:

“It’s hard not to get attached to the characters and cheer for them to find the right paths.”

“I could not put it down.”

“Fans of Dick Francis will appreciate his attention to detail that adds so much to the story of a low-level racetrack and the good/evil stories that play out there on a daily basis.”

“It’s hard-hitting, controversial, and makes one think.”

“The characters are so real that you immediately get caught up in their lives.”

For a glance at the book, here is an excerpt: Missionville, Chapter 4

Missionville: More than 100 sold, 6 reviews

After two weeks since publication, I wanted to provide a quick update on how Missionville is doing.

All sales are through Amazon, whether its for the paperback or kindle version.

In total, more than 100 copies of Missionville have been sold, three quarters of those sales are for the paperback.

The majority of sales have come through amazon.com (the US market), but a few have come from .co.uk (where I now live) and .ca (Canada, where I worked at Woodbine for two years). I had a friend of mine test whether it can be purchased in India (.in), it can!

So far, the book has received six 5 star reviews. Four of these reviews are on the .com site, two are on the .ca site. I thought it was odd that amazon doesn’t combine the reviews, so each site shows all six. I am told they don’t do that, because of language issues, they don’t want a customer to see reviews in a foreign language. Makes sense, although obviously in the case of these three sites, all reviews are in English!

Excerpt: Missionville, Chapter 4

More on Missionville


Book excerpt: Missionville: Chapter 4

What do you want to accomplish with Missionville?
I wanted to use fiction to further my passion for horses, and the welfare of horses. Missionville basically illustrates the horse racing industry at its lower-end. I don’t think this has been exhaustively covered in other fiction, with a few exceptions.

But I also wanted to show that not everyone in the industry is bad, nor is everyone good. I hope the interactions that Amanda has, with some of the horsemen on the backside, are a good illustration of this. I also try to show that we are a product of our environment, and it’s our environment, in this case the racetrack and its rules, that helps dictate our behavior.

Tell us more about Missionville, the place.
Missionville is a racetrack, in a town by the same name, which is a small fictional town in rural Pennsylvania. Missionville, the town, used to be a thriving mining community through to the mid-80s. The mining plant has since closed, and many local jobs have gone with it.

The town has its own newspaper, the Missionville Times; its circulation has been hit heavily by the flight of its population to larger cities on the east coast, as well as a result of the internet. The town also has a bar that is popular with the racetrack crowd, Jessup’s. It has a good Italian restaurant, Zucchini’s, a local bank, gas station, and a drug store. Most other businesses have either closed down or left.

The racetrack has steadily declined over the years, despite getting a casino license eight years ago. Not many people attend the races. Life on the backside is tough, with many horsemen barely surviving from pay check to pay check. The racetrack bar, Poker’s, which is adjacent to the paddock, is where the racetrack guys tend to hang out, when at the races.

Missionville is about an hour’s drive from Owenscreek, a market town, which hosts a horse auction each Tuesday afternoon. Sometimes, thoroughbreds from Missionville are sold through this auction.

What inspired your settings in Missionville?
I have worked at Missionville, but it’s not a fictionalization of one particular track I worked at; it’s a combination of Penn National (there’s a bar adjacent to the paddock at Penn National, for example), Woodbine (at least two characters are based on people I met at Woodbine), Sam Houston Race Park, Presque Isle Downs, Oaklawn Park, Keeneland and Churchill Downs.

I have visited Owenscreek on a number of occasions, but it’s not a fictionalization of one particular auction; it’s a combination of Sugarcreek, OH, OLEX, Waterloo, CA, New Holland, PA, and Shipshewana, IN.

The Missionville Times is based off my experience with the Cecil Whig. The local bank, where Amanda works, is based off my own bank in the United States, Cecil Bank. Zucchini’s is oddly a lovely Italian restaurant, just outside of Gweek, in Cornwall, UK.

Who is Pete?
Pete’s a good looking guy, so he’s not me! But there is a piece of me in Pete, in terms of how his character evolves. Like Pete, I was pretty oblivious of the plight of horses, once they were no longer in my care. Like Pete, once I more fully realized their plight, I tried to make a difference. A few of my friends – if they read the book – might see a little of themselves in Pete, that’s not coincidental.

Who is Amanda?
Amanda represents the many people who work on the off-track side, rehabbing or retiring racehorses. There are many organizations and people committed to this work.

Why write the book?
Honestly, I thought writing fiction would be an interesting challenge. Most of my writing, to date, has been non-fiction. So I enrolled in a local course for creative writing, I also joined a local writers’ group. I learned some of the essence of writing fiction, and then embarked on this journey.

Missionville is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca

Praise for Missionville

Missionville: a horse racing novel

Missionville is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca

“There are two versions of horse racing in the American narrative: the sunny version where everyone loves their horses like children and a stakes win is just a dream away, and the dark clouds version where every horse is marked for death from the day it is foaled, handled by so-called horsemen who couldn’t care less as long as there’s a pay check. Naturally the truth lays well in-between. In Missionville, racing insider Alex Brown tells it like it is: a deeply flawed industry where even passionate horsemen and women can be dragged down by a tough lifestyle, hopeless options, and sheer hard luck. Unflinching and yet not overwrought, this book lays bare a fractured world of horses, the people who love them, and the people who exploit them, which somehow isn’t yet beyond redemption.”
-Natalie Keller Reinert, Author of Turning for Home

“Alex Brown, a lifelong horseman, takes you on a journey few are capable of providing, to life on the backside of a hardscrabble Pennsylvania racetrack, showing the pressures that bear on both the horses and the humans, and the possibilities for it all going off the track. He takes you to the real underbelly of the sport. He gives you characters you can root for as they face moral dilemmas. He tells a good tale while he’s giving you the tour. A terrific read.”
–Mike Jensen, journalist, Philadelphia Inquirer, winner of an Eclipse Award

“Behind the grandeur and pageantry of American horse racing there is a dark secret playing out. Author Alex Brown transports his readers to rural Pennsylvania, where heart-pounding action and heartbreak intertwine at the Missionville Racetrack. A captivating read, Missionville excels in its narrative of love, life – and death – on the racetrack’s backside.”
–Jordan Schatz, Sports Editor, Cecil Whig

“Alex Brown’s Missionville takes an unwavering look at a beloved sport. You probably remember Brown’s affecting writing about Barbaro, the doomed 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, and here he takes on a portrait of a downtrodden fictional racetrack. Brown writes with a true insider’s understanding of the depth of passion that people have for horses and watching them run. It isn’t an easy read—slaughter, drugs, and real desperation are all here—but Missionville gives readers a compelling look into the simultaneously troubled and beautiful world of horse racing.”
-Eliza McGraw, Author of Here Comes Exterminator!

“Set at the Missionville Racetrack, this novel is a close-up look at the backside culture at a racetrack that lets us in on the worries, triumphs, and concerns for the horses that are at the mercies of their owners. This is a fast-paced read that is educational as well as entertaining.”
–Shelley Mickle, author of Barbaro and American Pharoah

“An intriguing horse mystery written by someone who obviously knows the industry. A great mix of horse knowledge, racing highlights, romance and an inside scoop on the controversial slaughtering of retired racehorses.”
–Christine Meunier, author of the Thoroughbred Breeders series

“While bringing such rich life to the largely hidden world of Missionville Racetrack, Alex Brown turns an unflinching eye on the modern horse racing industry, its flaws along with its many virtues. A must read for anyone with even a passing interest in the sport.”
–Dan Ross, journalist with bylines in Newsweek and the Guardian

“Missionville is a fast-paced read that grips the reader from the start and provides a ride that is both eye-opening and entertaining. It’s not easy to make the seedy underground network that drives horse racing and horse slaughter entertaining, but Brown manages to pull it off with vivid characters and a gripping storyline. In the end, he presents no easy answers for the complexities of the issue, but leaves the reader with hope for the future of the nation’s horses. Highly recommend; a great piece of work.”
–Sharon Boeckle, filmmaker, director and producer, From the Kill Pen

“Alex Brown is a prominent opponent of horse slaughter whose blog posts about Barbaro held the Kentucky Derby winner’s fans in thrall as the colt struggled, and ultimately failed, to recover from a broken leg. Brown’s fans will be glad to see his byline again, this time on a novel that reports from one of Thoroughbred racing’s low rungs: the fictional Missionville Racetrack in Pennsylvania, where denizens of the track confront, and sometimes challenge, their own moral decay in a world where horses are used, discarded, and ‘disappear’ into the slaughter pipeline, even as others try to adhere to their love for the animals and protect them from such a fate. Brown’s first effort as a novelist provides a rare insight into the little-covered nuts and bolts of how horses once considered valuable can end up in a dreadful situation, as well as the thought processes of the people who put them there, the people who come to question those decisions, and those who work to change a world where desperation can lead to serious moral peril. It is a bleak tale, but not without a few happy endings, some human redemption, and an education for the reader.”
–Glenye Cain Oakford, author of The Home Run Horse

Missionville is fiction based on fact, but don’t think Alex Brown’s book in any way exaggerates or distorts the truth to make it more sensationalist, far from it. Brown has worked in the industry and knows at first-hand what goes on. Brown tells it like it is, and tells it very well.”
–Will Jones, author of The Black Horse Inside Coolmore

“I could not put it down. It is a riveting read, a thrilling equine literary ride. Alex Brown illustrates a realistic narrative of the racing world culture and paints a wonderful landscape of the backside dynamics. Brown’s book also provides a clear lens into the equine slaughter pipeline.”
–Kristen Halverson, author of A Horse’s Magical Neigh

“Alex Brown provides an authentic insight into what lies beneath the glamour of horse racing. Brown holds a mirror up to a disturbing side of the horse industry, exposing deep flaws and depraved deeds.”
–Caitlin Taylor, OTTB Designs

Missionville: to be launched in early September

Missionville is now available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca

I am excited that Missionville should be available in about a month, in early September. It will be available to purchase online, via Amazon.

If you would like to be alerted, when the book becomes available, please send me an e-mail at alexbr4cornwall@gmail.com

About Missionville

Pete fell in love with horses, then devoted his career to training racehorses at Missionville, a low level racetrack in rural Pennsylvania where horses and humans depend on each other – just to survive. He quickly learns that winning at the races isn’t easy under ordinary circumstances, and that some successes at Missionville aren’t the result of luck or talent – but flagrant cheating. Thanks to a potential love interest, plus death, deception, and more, Pete opens his eyes to what’s really going on around him to discover he doesn’t want to play the game anymore. A push in the right direction sends Pete on a journey that leads him from Harrisburg to Quebec in an effort to help restore a bit of humanity to the racing world.

Praise for Missionville

“Alex Brown, a lifelong horseman, takes you on a journey few are capable of providing, to life on the backside of a hardscrabble Pennsylvania racetrack, showing the pressures that bear on both the horses and the humans, and the possibilities for it all going off the track. He takes you to the real underbelly of the sport. He gives you characters you can root for as they face moral dilemmas. He tells a good tale while he’s giving you the tour. A terrific read.”

–Mike Jensen, journalist, Philadelphia Inquirer, winner of an Eclipse Award

“Behind the grandeur and pageantry of American horse racing there is a dark secret playing out. Author Alex Brown transports his readers to rural Pennsylvania, where heart-pounding action and heartbreak intertwine at the Missionville Racetrack. A captivating read, Missionville excels in its narrative of love, life – and death – on the racetrack’s backside.”

–Jordan Schatz, Sports Editor, Cecil Whig