The Pink Pony

Who strangled Jimmy Lyons at the Pink Pony?

The world-class Port Huron to Mackinac sailboat race has just finished at Mackinac Island. As soon as the boats dock, the sailors head for the legendary Pink Pony, including Jimmy Lyons and his crew. But the night takes a grisly turn, and Jimmy is found dead the next morning in the bar, strangled by a string of Christmas tree lights.

Murdo Halverson, Jimmy’s former partner and one of the crew, is arrested for the murder. But each of the crew, had a reason to kill him. As did his wife, Jane.

Burr Lafayette, recently divorced and the deposed head of the litigation department of a major Detroit law firm, is recruited to defend Murdo. A man at loose ends, Burr is a brilliant but troubled and and nearly bankrupt lawyer who prefers boats and dogs over courtrooms and clients. He’s also not a criminal lawyer, and this looks like a losing case.

If you like Elmore Leonard and Robert B. Parker, you’ll love The Pink Pony.


Global Book Award Winner

In 2022, The Pink Pony won a gold medal from the Global Book Awards for Best Traditional Detective Mystery! Find out what made judges go crazy over The Pink Pony by picking up your copy today!

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The Pink Pony

“His (Burr Lafayette’s) rapid-fire questioning of defendants on the stand, though, is nothing short of exhilarating. A mystery with a protagonist who’s truly in his element inside the courtroom.”

~ Kirkus Reviews

“Cutters debut legal thriller tells the story of a litigator in Mackinac Island, Michigan, who defends a man accused of murder. Attorney Burr Lafayette is called to a bar called The Pink Pony by police chief Art Brandstatter, who suspects that Burr stole a pink hobbyhorse that normally hangs above the bar s door. But inside the bar is the scene of a far more serious crime: Jimmy Lyons lies dead by strangulation. Burr is initially reluctant to help accused murderer Murdoch Halverson, but he ultimately relents, as he needs the money; after all, he owns a building in which the elevator doesn’t even work. The case against Halverson is strong, due in part to a reputed affair between Jimmy and Halverson s wife, Anne. But Burr is determined to exonerate his client, even if it means that he has to start his own investigation and find the killer himself. The novel spotlights a lawyer who isn t the most likable guy: he s cynical in nearly any situation and tends to leer at women (although he does at one point reflect on his own shallowness ). Cutter adds a few details to give him a modicum of sympathy, such as his faithful Lab, Zeke, who has more personality than Burr s rarely seen 9-year-old son, also named Zeke, who s a child of divorce. However, Burr shines at trial. His snide, often mumbled commentary becomes fitting when he s facing a judge who clearly doesn t like him and who s more interested in wrapping things up quickly. The story s legal banter is snappy, vibrant, and not without humor; one of the prosecutor s objections against Burr, for example, is that Counsel is flirting with the witness. Burr s investigation does eventually get a breakthrough, and there s an effective plot twist near the end. His rapid-fire questioning of defendants on the stand, though, is nothing short of exhilarating. A mystery with a protagonist who’s truly in his element inside the courtroom.”

~ Kirkus Reviews

“Mackinac Island’s legendary bar, the Pink Pony, doesn’t get any more exciting than at the finish of the Port Huron-Mackinac sailboat race, but author Charles Cutter cranks the excitement up a notch in The Pink Pony, a first-rate murder mystery where nothing is as it seems. At the Pink Pony on Mackinac Island you can belly up to the bar, tell a few lies and end up dead in Charles Cutter’s original, fast-paced mystery where Islander Burr Lafayette finds himself defending a likely suspect in a totally unique whodunit. Cutter mixes a lethal brew in his new mystery, The Pink Pony, complete with Mackinac Island lore and licentiousness. When a celebration at the end of the Port Huron-Mackinac sailboat race ends in murder at the Pink Pony, the favorite bar of locals, attorney Burr Lafayette must sink or swim to keep his head above water in a unique and totally enjoyable mystery.”

~ Bill Castanier, Literary writer at the Lansing City Pulse