All Hat by Brad Smith
A Novel

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A novel about hope, redemption, and getting even, not necessarily in that order

Just out of prison for attacking the man who assaulted his sister, Ray Dokes heads back to the small Canadian town where he was raised. Vowing to lie low, he moves in with Pete Culpepper, a Texas cowboy who has always been a grounding influence on Ray, but whose debts are growing faster than his corn.

Between roofing houses and watching Pete's nine-year-old gelding at the races, Ray soon crosses paths with just about everyone in town, including Pete's new jockey, Chrissie, a tough young woman whose ease with horses is equaled only by her mistrust of people, and Ray's former lover Etta, who views him with more skepticism than ever. Then there are the hired hands of the Stanton Stables: Dean, a wise guy who embodies the phrase "all hat and no cattle," and his sidekick, Paulie, a simple-hearted man who has a way with animals. And last but not least, there's Sonny Stanton, the vicious, violent, and spoiled heir of his father's electronics fortune-and the man Ray spent two years in jail for nearly killing. When the opportunity arises to con Sonny out of some ill-gained wealth-and protect themselves and their homes in the process-everyone's willing to band together and take a gamble.

Surprisingly poignant yet laugh-out-loud funny, All Hat tells a classic story of little guys fighting big guys and reaffirming the meaning of honesty and friendship-and second chances-in the process.


About Brad Smith

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Brad Smith was born and raised in southern Ontario. He has worked as a farmer, signalman, insulator, truck driver, bartender, schoolteacher, maintenance mechanic, roofer, and carpenter. He lives in an eighty-year-old farmhouse near the north shore of Lake Erie. His novel, One-Eyed Jacks, was nominated for the Dashiell Hammett Prize.
Published October 29, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.. 321 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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To save the farms, Ray has a horse trainer dye a kidnapped racehorse’s coat with drugstore hair dye so the championship stallion can pass for Pete’s injured horse and run a race.

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Publishers Weekly

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Romance returns to Dokes's life when Culpepper hires a sexy young jockey named Chrissie to race his low-end thoroughbreds, but even as their liaison plays out, it's clear that Dokes pines for a local woman called Etta, whose farm is one of Stanton's prime targets.

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