Canadian born Christchurch author Ray Berard has based his debut novel based on his diaries as a TAB supervisor. He says dealing with criminal activity was part of the job and there were so many armed robberies over years he lost count. His cast of characters in Inside the Black Horse include young Pio Morgan who has a huge debt he must pay and no options left. There's the young Maori widow Toni who's just trying to raise her children, the corporate executive hiding his mistake, the gang of criminals that will do whatever it takes to recover what they've lost - and the outsider sent to town to tease out the truth. Originally from Canada, Ray Berard says the same issues dogged the community he grew up in, as affect some of NZ's poorer communities today. Inside the Black Horse is on the Mary Egan Publishing label.