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1. Crossfire
2. Even Money
3. Silks
4. Under Orders
5. Break In
6. Hot Money
7. Reflex (Berkley Fiction)
8. The Edge
9. Bolt
10. Driving Force
11. Knockdown
12. Comeback
13. Come to Grief
14. Banker
15. Straight
16. Smokescreen
17. Twice Shy
18. Wild Horses
19. Dead Heat
20. Forfeit

1. Crossfire
by Dick Francis, Felix Francis
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2010-08-17)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$2.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039915681X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
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Product Description
An exhilarating new novel from the New York Times-bestselling authors.

Shell-shocked and missing a foot-lost to an IED during his tour of duty in Afghanistan-Captain Tom Forsyth has been sent "home" by the army and, at loose ends, returns to his estranged mother's house for the first time since he joined up at seventeen. But Josephine Kauri, the "first lady of British racing," has always put the horses she trains first and her family last. Tom soon finds himself strained to the breaking point with his mother and stepfather.

But there's another reason for the stifling tension at Kauri House Stables: Josephine is being blackmailed for a hefty sum every week-and forced to make her horses lose. Retirement is not an option, as she has been warned that it will result in the thing she most fears: exposure and ridicule . . . and prison, when the government finds out what she's been hiding.

Tom sets out to discover and defeat this hidden enemy using his finely honed military skills. But can he save his mother's reputation and career, or will he find himself caught in the cross fire? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (48)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good by Dick Francis
The story line was typical and well written but for me I will miss the touch that Dick Francis put on all of his writing. This title did not have that magical touch.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent dick francis thriller
As is usual in the later Dick Francis novels, the story takes you from the world of horse racing to other domains -- in this case hedge funds, offshore trading, and tax fraud.The protagonist, a British army veteran disabled in Afghanistan fighting (hmm, remember another one fitting that description who showed up in a story more than a hundred years ago?), is another unlikely and attractive Dick Francis leading character.

A great story, finished really well by Felix Francis.I hope he continues writing in his father's realm, even if he has to cook up the plots himself.

Highly recommended read, good for an airplane ride, or just a few hours enjoyable escape from the humdrum.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too much foul language!
I have read most of the Dick Francis books, and a couple of books written by his son Felix. Dick Francis didn't resort to foul language to engage his audience with good mystery novels. Felix is a good writer but it is too bad that he didn't follow his father's example.

Last book I will buy of his. :(

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as vintage Francis!
Vintage Dick Francis is the gold standard for the mystery genre. //Crossfire//, by the father-son team of Dick and Felix Francis, falls slightly short of that standard. Captain Tom Forsyth, severely wounded while serving in Afghanistan, is sent back to Englandfor six months of recuperation. Returning to his childhood home, where his estranged mother lives with her current husband, Forsyth is immediately embroiled in blackmail, murder, Bernie Madoff-style financial scams, and tax evasion. The same character traits that allowed his rise through the ranks in the British service from enlisted man to officer (a rare combination of intelligence, ability, and ambition) serve him well as he untangles the web of lies and deceit, while dealing with his disabling injury.

As in every Francis book to date, the characters are finely drawn, engaging, and real. We can hope that Felix will continue to turn out first-rate material. Even though the book fails, in this reviewer's opinion, to quite make the mark, it is still a page-turning, good read.

Reviewed by Claudette Smith

2-0 out of 5 stars The end of a dynasty....
I've been a Dick Francis fan for a long time and have read all of his books.This is the second or third that is a joint Dick and Felix Francis book and, since DF is dead, the last.Sadly, the son doesn't have the knack of his father for creating wounded heroes, pulse-pounding finales, complex but believable plots or three-dimensional characters.Perhaps this proves that writing a really good book is harder than it looks.I won't bother with the next one.

By the way, if you want to read the good stuff, go back to DF's early books. All excellent. ... Read more

2. Even Money
by Dick Francis, Felix Francis
Paperback: 448 Pages (2010-08-03)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$5.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425235904
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Ned Talbot is a small-time bookmaker on the edge of giving it all up when his world is turned upside down by a man who claims to be his father, long thought dead. And when the mysterious stranger is murdered, Ned feels compelled to find out exactly what is going on. But the more he discovers, the longer the odds become for his survival. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (45)

5-0 out of 5 stars dick francis is king of horse racing mysteries
you don't need this review if you've read any of dick francis's mysteries.if you're new to his work then read this book, or any of francis's mysteries and you'll either be hooked or not.i'm hooked; and have read most[all?] of his published mysteries.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Dull Ride
This is the first of the recent father-son Francis collaborations I have read, after an obsession with Francis's earlier work, up through the mid 1990s.My advice would be to read the early stuff first, and to get to this, well, when you're stuck for something else to read. The hero here, unlike in most Francis novels, is not particularly interesting; he does silly things that do not follow the logic even of the character (i.e., the reader never senses that the hero is smarter than the reader, not helped by the fact that he is bizarrely ignorant of modern technology, and explains things at great length when he catches on.)The narrative is hugely repetitive and the plot's resolution is deus ex machina (if that's the Latin for "Volvo.") On the whole, rather frustrating given how good, or at least how compelling - which in this genre is the same thing - the 20 novels from the '70s-90s are. I should note that the CD version is very competently done and the narrator does not, somehow, ever appear to be bored with what he is reading.

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Money
Awful awful awful book. Paper thin plot, boring characters and a silly villain.Don't waste your money on this one, instead buy books like Banker and Straight and see why Mr. Francis is revered.RIP sir.

3-0 out of 5 stars Flabby Francis is better than no Francis at all
The Cliff Notes version - "Even Money" isn't close to as tight as previous Francis efforts, but for Francis fans it's still worth the few hours it takes to read.

I've read all of Team Francis' books, and own most of them.They've been a delight to me for a lot of years.Of the lot, this is the one that I like the least.

It's not that the protagonist isn't a likable, Francis-esque guy, because he is.It's not that the story line isn't interesting, because it is.

The whole thing is just not as tightly written as Francis Sr.'s earlier, solo books.Nor, for that matter, is it as well-written as earlier Francis Sr./Jr. efforts.It just never takes off... the story just kind of sits there.They almost seemed to be bored writing it.

Dick Francis isn't going to be around forever, and for that reason (if no other) it's worth reading this book.However, if I were going to hand somebody a Dick Francis book with the idea of introducing him to one of my favorite authors, this one would be about the last one on my list.This book is for Francis devotees only.

1-0 out of 5 stars So disappointed!
This is the worst Dick Francis/Felix Francis book I have read. I have read every Dick Francis book written and have read all of the Dick/Felix ones as well.(None are as good as the old books although I liked Silks.)This book was disjointed, and really was bad. Usually I admire the heros in Francis books.I like them.This guy was not a hero in any sense. The main character lied - a lot.What did the girl in the black and white outfit have to do with anything?Someone wrote this one fast - too fast - and the plot was incoherent. I threw it across the room when I was done.A total waste of my time!The last time I will try to read Francis.But I did love the old books very much. ... Read more

3. Silks
by Dick Francis, Felix Francis
Hardcover: 338 Pages (2008-08-26)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$3.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003P2VCXO
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
“Julian Trent, you have been found guilty by this court of perpetrating a violent and unprovoked attack on an innocent family including a charge of attempted murder. You have shown little or no remorse for your actions and I consider you a danger to society.”

When defense lawyer Geoffrey Mason hears the judge’s ruling at London’s Old Bailey, he quietly hopes that a substantial sentence will be handed down to his arrogant young client. That Julian Trent only receives eight years seems all too lenient. Little does Mason realize that he’ll be looking Trent in the eyes again much sooner than that.

Setting aside his barrister’s gown and wig, Mason heads to Sandown racetrack to don his colorful racing silks. As an amateur jockey, he fulfills his true passion by pounding the turf in the heat of a steeplechase. Yet when a fellow rider is brutally murdered—a pitchfork driven through his chest—Mason’s racing hobby soon becomes too close to his work. The prime suspect is one of their brethren, champion jockey Steve Mitchell, and the evidence against him seems overwhelming.

Mason is reluctant to heed Mitchell’s plea for legal help—but he soon finds himself at the center of a sinister web of violence, threats and intimidation. Mason is left fighting a battle of right and wrong, and more immediately, a battle of life and death…his own. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (63)

3-0 out of 5 stars Silks
This is the first book after the death of Dick Francis' wife and co-author the former Mary Brenchley and the first book written with their son Felix.The subtle differences are notable.To begin with Mary Brenchley was the master of the opening sentence.By the end of her first page readers were sucked so deeply into a story they didn't want to put the book down - at least I was.In this story we got into a serious discussion of the clothing choices of the foreman of the jury.That is indicative of the lack of tension this story maintains in comparison to the Dick Francis stories of the past.Had the story been written by someone else it would have been a good story - well plotted - well written.It's just not of the caliber of the more recent Francis mysteries.I could have put this story down and forgotten about it - which is not usual for a Dick Francis book.

I'm certain that the team will strengthen and hopefully this is the beginning for these writers.The plot is excellent, the characters well drawn, the writing easy - only the pace is off. I didn't need to know this much about the law.It seemed that there wasn't enough of this plot to keep it running so lengthy bits of information were substituted where normally Francis would have woven the explanations into action and exposition.

Geoffrey Mason, an attorney and amateur Jockey is hired to defend a fellow jockey Steve Mitchell for the brutal murder of another champion jockey Scot Barlow. The plot twists and turns down many dangerous paths as Mason struggles to find evidence that will exonerate his client without getting him killed in the process.

Joan Meijer
Tranquillity Initiative

5-0 out of 5 stars A lawyer-jockey defends his life
The title of this book is truly apt. The protagonist, Geoffrey Mason, is a junior barrister with aspirations of becoming a silk, or Queens Counsel. He's also an amateur jockey who wears silks. His two worlds come together in SILKS - and give him a world of trouble.

Geoffrey Mason finds himself defending a jockey accused of killing another jockey. He doesn't want the case, but he's been ordered to take it and lose it. There's an ex-client after him who will punish Geoffrey if he doesn't do what he's told. This terrifying young man makes a habit of attacking people with a baseball bat.

Still, Geoffrey makes the decision we expect of a Dick Francis hero. He will not be intimidated. But he has to do some very fancy detective work to protect himself and his loved ones - and make sure the right people go to jail.

In the midst of all this, he rides two significant races - and also falls in love.

Every Dick Francis novel teaches me something. In this case I learned a lot about the British legal system, as well as a bit about the Rules of Racing.

Frankly, I wondered how I'd feel about a Dick Francis novel written in collaboration with his son Felix. I do detect a slightly different flavor. But I enjoyed SILKS very much. According to a BBC radio interview I heard, it was Felix's fingers on the keyboard. Dick Francis marked up the copy and deleted anything too sexy! But don't worry - the love scenes are still quite good.

I'll definitely read the other collaborations. And I'm hoping that Felix Francis will keep writing mysteries on his own. I didn't want Dick Francis to die. Maybe he won't have to.

2-0 out of 5 stars Labored, Derivative, Just A Few Sparkles
I have been a fan of Dick Francis for nearly 30 years. My family knows that when I get a new book of his, I will be incommunicado until finished. Unhappily, Francis's well of inspiration is drying up. Geoffrey Mason is frankly unbelievable as a Francis hero, his villain is reminiscent of Junius Apollo Fullmer in The Edge (another rare Francis failure) and the thought of a lawyer playing detective while jeopardizing his license, though melodramatic, doesn't play well. Still, there are moments of sparkle at the end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Which Francis is the best?
I think I've read almost all of Dick Francis' mysteries so am obviously a big fan.While this was good, it's just not AS good as the older ones.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Wonderful
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all Dick Francis fans.You can tell that Felix had a heavy hand in the writing of this book but that does not bother me in the least.I have been a Dick Francis fan for years but have to admit that some of his books tend to be a little uneven in the pacing.Felix is much quicker to get in the action and I feel his characters have more depth.I enjoyed Dead Heat so much I figured that this one would be just as good.Some yes, some no.I liked the characters better in Dead Heat and was slower to warm up toGeoffrey Mason in Silks, but once I got a better feel of his motivations I found myself reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next.

Felix is doing a wonderful job with these books and I hope that his father's passing will not keep him from continuing the legacy.

As an aside, I read through the negative reviews and cannot fathom what they are talking about.Yes, Felix's style is not identical but is clearly in the same vein.Give the guy a break!!! ... Read more

4. Under Orders
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 384 Pages (2007-08-07)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$0.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425217566
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Sid knows the perils of racing all too well, but in his day jockeys didn't usually cross the finish line with three .38 rounds in the chest-which is how he found Huw Walker, the winner of a coveted race only a few hours earlier. Now Halley's quest for answers will push him to his very limits-both on and off the track. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (88)

4-0 out of 5 stars Mr. Francis has crafted another classic!
Nancy in Seattle, WA:Over the course of several books we see the main character, Sid Halley, grow from a crippled jockey seeking a reason to go on, into a confident investigator.I enjoy how Sid is continually struggling to overcome the limitations of his amputated hand.

3-0 out of 5 stars Far from his best
I started reading Francis' books as a young teenager, and I was enthralled. However, Francis' early books are far superior to the later ones, which seem to have been churned out without much thought to content. Disappointing, because Francis can be so very good. This is a fine book to kill time, and I might have rated it higher if it had been written by a different author, but I have high standards for Francis.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Fine Read, Mr. Francis, It's Good to Have You Back
"Under Orders" is a very typical Dick Francis book.This may seem an unhelpful comment to make, but it's actually quite meaningful.Several books earlier, most notably in "Second Wind", it seemed that Francis' writing skills were waning, perhaps due to age.(He was 86 when this book was published.)However, his more recent efforts have returned to his earlier quality, and it's good to have him back.In this book, Francis thanks his son Felix "for everything".By the next book "Silks", Felix Francis is listed as a co-author.It's possible that Felix had a similar role on this book.If so, it's a transparent partnership."Under Orders" reads like many of the earlier Francis books.

A Dick Francis book isn't high literature.Many of the plot elements are the same from book to book.Manly protagonist with an interesting backstory, romance, physical danger, successful resolution.But despite the repetitive format, the books work as escapist literature.I like nothing more than settling into a airplane seat and opening the most recent Dick Francis volume.Indeed, I read "Under Orders" in exactly that setting.

I doubt I'll ever give five stars to a Dick Francs novel, but am quite comfortable with four stars, especially for the return of old favorite protagonist Sid Halley and his prosthetic hand.

P.S. Why would anyone name a horse, even a fictional horse, "Oven Cleaner"?

4-0 out of 5 stars Chivalry
Sid Halley's former father-in-law, Charles Rowland, prefers male company.His comfortable presence plays a part in this mystery.Dick Francis novels pit the honorable versus the dishonorable in a number of contexts.Sid is hired to find out why Lord Enstone's horses aren't winning when the should be.

A horse and a jockey die separately at Cheltenham.The jockey is someone who wanted to have a private word with Sid.After a series of events and a request to look into internet gambling, Sid is presented with the problem of another human death.The miscreants are so desperate to keep their secrets that Sid's friend is assaulted to send a message to him to stop the investigation.

This very bright and brisk Dick Francis work is a real pleasure to encounter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book.Another Sid Halley mystery and I love those.
I enjoy Dick Francis' mysteries.This is his usual page-turning fun.Of course, another Sid Halley mystery is great with the usual cast of characters that are like a visit with good friends. ... Read more

5. Break In
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 320 Pages (2005-01-04)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425199932
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Steeplechase jockey Christmas "Kit" Fielding has had more than his share of close calls both on and off the course. But trouble hits close to home when a grudge between his family and his sister's in-laws turns into a blood feud. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars 1st of 2 Kit Fielding stories with mystery and romance
Dick Francis wrote this in 1986 and followed it with BOLT, both are Kit Fielding mysteries with a pleasant romance thrown in. I only wish he had followed it up with more Kit Fielding stories.

It is a mystery that has Jockey Kit Fielding fighting with newspapers and defending his twin in an old feud. There is romance with a pretty American, undisclosed and disclosed baddies, and a princess.

As usual, his hero is a nice hard working, honest man who is respectful of women, someone you would like to hang out with in real life. He may get beat up, stabbed or shot but he doesn't go out looking to beat up, stab or shoot anyone.

5-0 out of 5 stars Romeo in trouble
A Dick Francis mystery creeps up on you until you're hopelessly engrossed. Doesn't matter if the villains are unbelievably villainous, or certain plot elements far fetched. The hero is a perfect gentleman and a man of action, and we can't help cheering him on.

Here the story revolves around a feud between two families. The Fieldings and the Allardecks have been fighting each other for centuries like Capulets and Montagues. But Holly Fielding and Bobby Allardeck have dared to defy their ancestors by getting married. Romeo and Juliet all over again.

Holly's twin brother, Kit Fielding, is happy to end hostilities - and love and defend his brother-in-law as needed. And there is a need. Bobby, a racehorse trainer, has gotten a bit overextended because of the yearling sale. A scurrilous newspaper gets hold of this and puts the word out in print that Bobby is bankrupt. Quite false - but lack of confidence could sink Bobby.

Kit, a champion steeplechase jockey, investigates the problem between races. In the process he tangles with some very nasty characters - and meets the woman of his dreams.

This book also introduces Kit's patron Princess Casilia, who reappears later in Bolt. Supremely elegant, she believes that all sorts of trouble can be avoided by observing the proper form. She owns many of the horses Kit rides. One wonders if the Princess is inspired by Her Majesty the Queen Mother. Dick Francis rode the royal horses for years.

Kit, who cultivates a telepathic relationship with horses (and sometimes people), certainly has a bit of the author in him.

I enjoyed Break In - the race scenes and the love scenes were perfect. Generally I'm in favor of reading every book Dick Francis wrote.

5-0 out of 5 stars Horse Racing
When you read a Dick Francis novel you know that you are not only getting a great read but you are also getting a book written by a writer who knows his subject. Dick Francis was one of the world's greatest jockeys. Talk about horses and racing - he knew his subject. He was also Queen Elizabeth's and her mother's rider for many years. A great athlete!

5-0 out of 5 stars Book as described
I am searching for large print, hard cover copies by my favorite authors.This book was described accurately, priced reasonably and I am pleased with it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Slow, but worth the time
If you're looking for fast-paced, exciting action, this is not the book for you.On the other hand, if you're okay with plot taking awhile to develop, and like character-driven stories, and are a fan of intriguing (rather than gruesome) mysteries, you might really like this one.

Personally, I was ready to give up on the book early on.I admit, it's slow.Some of the detail about racing is tedious for a non-racing enthusiast.But I'm glad I kept going because the story picks up momentum, the characters get interesting, and though I'm a little `eh' at the `psychic connection' bit, I still enjoyed the story and trying to guess who was at the bottom of the dastardly plot.Good for a cozy lover, there's a little bit of violent but it's not graphic and most of the mystery is more... intellectual.Just be warned that you're in for a lot of detail and a plot that moseys along.
... Read more

6. Hot Money
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 352 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425235408
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
New York Times bestselling Grand Master of Crime Fiction

Fabulously wealthy gold trader Malcolm Pembroke has in his possession something the whole world wants-and anyone could kill for. In fact, even Malcolm's closest kin are moving in a little too close. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Obsessions don't go away"
Dick Francis was especially good at father-son sagas. I really enjoyed this one.

Malcolm Pembroke is the father, a man who's become immensely wealthy buying and selling gold. Lucky in everything but wives, Malcolm has been married five times and produced nine children. When the story opens, wife number five (Moira) has just been murdered in her geranium patch.

The son who narrates the story is Ian Pembroke, thirty-three-year-old amateur jockey. He's a typical likeable Francis hero: resourceful, loyal, cool in a crisis, quietly compassionate.

Members of the weirdly extended Pembroke family have been provided with trust funds and alimony, yet they're simmering with decades-old resentments and obsessed with their anticipated inheritances. All are unhappy, except for Ian.

It falls to Ian to figure out who killed Moira - and to keep his father alive. Someone's trying to kill Malcolm too, perhaps because he's been spending money wildly in defiance of his greedy family.

The plot encompasses lots of warped family dynamics, charming exchanges between Malcolm and Ian, escapist travels (to foil the killer) and exciting scenes at racetracks around the world.

For readers who have trouble dealing with a plethora of characters, there's a list of all the Pembrokes and their relationships in the front of the book. But I found the story so skillfully written that I never had to consult it.

I cheerfully recommend Hot Money, along with every other Dick Francis novel. (Cheerfully because his books always leave me feeling good.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Colorful story, Interesting and fun to read
"Hot Money" is my favorite Dick Francis novel. The main character, Ian,reunites with his father after a three-year estrangement and tries to discover who among his mother, stepmothers and siblings is attempting to kill his father. The story has many colorful angles because of the variety of characters, both within and outside of the family. Francis is a master at describing the difference between possessions, i.e., the "right" house or car, and genuine happiness. Many will be able to relate to the dysfunctional family elements displayed throughout the book. There's plenty of activity to keep you interested, but not so much going on that you are confused. That said, it is helpful to have Ian's siblings and stepmothers listed at the beginning of the book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Francis Classic
I like Dick Frnaics and would have to say that Hot Money is fantastic. The book is full of twists and keeps you guessing to the very end. In fact, I would have to say it is one of his best he has written. The action is great, the buildup is fantastic, and there is never a dull moment. Each character is very well developed. Bottom line is the book will absolutley suck you in. It has Mystery, action, drama and humor what more could you ask for?

5-0 out of 5 stars Horses and a dysfunctional family
A multimillionaire finds himself the target of a murderer and suspects one of his many children, children in law or ex-wives.
He enlists his middle son, an amateur jockey, as bodyguard and investigator.
The large list of suspects gives Francis a chance to do what he does best-develop characters.
One of his best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Family Affair
HOT MONEY is one of the best of Dick Francis's novels. Five ex-wives, nine children, their spouses, and assorted grand-children make gold-trader Malcolm Pembroke the perfect candidate for murder.
His son, Ian Pembroke has made his way in the world of horses and broke with his father when he married the gold-digger Moria.
But Moria ends up face down in potting soil and Malcolm is attacked in his own backyard.
Malcom's pride doesn't prevent him from asking his son for help when he enters the Newmarket sales as a potential buyer and Ian sticks around to keep his father alive. Each character is so finely drawn and vividly presented they step off the page and into your life.
Read, read and enjoy.
Nash Black, author of TRAVELERS and SINS OF THE FATHERS. ... Read more

7. Reflex (Berkley Fiction)
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-10-04)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$11.81
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001PIHWHK
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Longtime jockey Philip Nore suspects that a racetrack photographer's fatal accident was really murder--and unravels some nasty secrets of corruption, blackmail, and murder. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tipically Dick Francis, Super!!

Dick Francis is a brilliant mystery writter!If you have read any of his other works, need I say more!

5-0 out of 5 stars Such good storytelling!
The hero/narrator of this novel is totally likeable, as always in Dick Francis novels. But Philip Nore's upbringing is unusual. All through his childhood, his pretty, flighty, drug-addicted mother would park him with various friends, sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes for years, so she could party in peace.

Young Philip learned the photography trade from living three years with two gay photographers. He learned the horseracing business by being left for years with a racehorse trainer and his wife. So when we meet him, Philip is a fairly successful thirty-year-old jockey with lots of professional darkroom equipment and an undiscovered talent for photography.

All of his talents, including his taste for solving puzzles, will fuel the complex and utterly absorbing plot.

The puzzles are many. Did the well-known racing photographer George Millace meet his death naturally? Did he use certain of his photos for blackmail? Why did Philip's rich old grandmother cast out his mother? Will Philip succeed in finding the long-lost sister his grandmother tells him about on her deathbed? Who is trying to kill Philip Nore, and why?

Philip is destined to find himself, and a girlfriend too, in the course of his considerable adventures. REFLEX is hard to put down, and deeply satisfying from beginning to end.

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 Stars: My highest of ratings!
Reviewer:Renee S. N.Y.C.
This is one of my favorite Francis novels,because of the intricasy of the plot and the fascinating look into the world of photography, regular and trick. As always, Francis gives great value for your money, and for your reading pleasure. My highest of ratings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Reflex
I love Dick Frances books and this is one of his best, even though it's old. It is fun to read and seensitive and exciting.

3-0 out of 5 stars Dick Francis whodunit
As usual, Dick Francis keeps you guessing until almost the very end as to who the villain is.He has such a low key sense of humor that sometimes you are not sure if he is making fun of something or someone or not, but as always you have trouble putting it down until you find out the ending.Very often there is a twist of the plot at the end, and it turns out differently than you thought it would.Highly recommended. ... Read more

8. The Edge
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 368 Pages (2005-08-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.11
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425204391
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
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Product Description
A high-class, transcontinental horse-racing junket should be an idyllic getaway for the super-rich.

But one passenger on this train is a sociopath, a genius at blackmail and criminal corruption--and he plans to take everyone for everything they've got. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

3-0 out of 5 stars Slow Train Coming
For years, Dick Francis provided consistent, fast-paced, and fun mysteries set against the backdrop of horse-racing. My first exposure to his work was "Whip Hand," and "Twice Shy" and "Reflex" hooked me. I've since read most of his books, but somehow missed out on "The Edge."

Francis, typically, explored a different hobby, talent, or industry in each book, setting his characters in England. In this novel, though, he takes his rich, single protagonist, Tor Kelsey, across Canada on a train. Tor is keeping an eye on an infamous figure in the racing world, ready to stop any criminal escapades, while disguising himself as a waiter on the train. Along the way, he flirts with danger, romance, and the power struggles of the racing world. The story starts slower than normal for a Francis mystery, piling on characters and backgrounds before gathering them all on the train (around page 90) and letting the real adventure begin. Even then, the next 200 pages spend more time teasing us than giving much action. The plot unwinds slowly, using the clunky devise of a murder-mystery acting troupe on board to shine some light, eventually, on the true criminals on board.

I love that Francis tried something different here, though it had more promise than delivery. Tor is one of the flatter protagonists in Francis bibliography, and the fantastic settings of Canada are often ignored or quickly touched upon, where I had hoped for that sense of "having been there." This train ride seems to drag, and some of the plot points are convoluted and unnecessary (such as the waiter vs. the millionaire disguise). The saving factor, for me, is the strong climax on the western side of Canada, during which some confrontations and revelations finally play out for those who are patient enough to get that far--and I, frankly, almost stopped much earlier on, which I've never even considered before with Francis.

If you're a big fan, as I am, you'll enjoy this unique from the mystery grandmaster. If you're looking for his best work, though, I would go back to some of the earlier books for a true sense of the vitality and energy he brought to the genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars A different Dick Francis scenario
This is a different Dick Francis, as the action takes place almost entirely in a train trundling around in the Canadian Rockies. The writing is perfect, as always, and the setting is comparable with Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, which I like, but The Edge is a better read. I lost the book three times, and bought a new one each time. The fourth is still with me, and I read it from cover to cover now and then, it is such a good read. I would think anyone who reads it would make a trip sooner rather than later to Banff and Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. As usual the hero is understated, self-effacing, and well-behaved in an old-fashioned sort of way. The romance develops almost insidiously as is the case in the best Dick Francis tradition. It is a treat to watch it evolve, and the ease with which the setting is sketched out, the characters delineated, andthe plot developed, make it a true Dick Francis classic. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars How does he do it?
How does Dick Francis manage time and time again, to give us such a likeable hero, faced with such impossible odds - and a story that grips us tightly from beginning to end?

This time the hero, Tor Kelsey, is a young man who has a job with the British Jockey Club's security organization as their eyes and ears. He wanders around racetracks undercover, unremarkably dressed, unnoticed by all, but himself taking note whenever something's not right. A sweet old lady who acts as his telephone messenger for a while calls Tor "the invisible man."

Ironically Tor Kelsey is independently wealthy and doesn't need to work at all. He works to save himself from the emotional diseases of the rich. And for the fun of it.

Finally Tor has an assignment that puts him head-to-head with the ultimate bad guy in the racing world. Julius Filmer finds ways to coerce people to sell or give him wonderful horses that they would not normally part with. But the Jockey Club can't prove anything against him because Filmer also has a genius for intimidating witnesses.

And so Tor is sent on a train ride across Canada that's been designed to promote Canadian racing. The train is full of rich people who own racehorses, including Filmer, and their best horses are also on board. Horses and owners will be stopping at racetracks in different cities to compete, and in between races it's a non-stop party, with a mystery play thrown in to keep the passengers entertained.

Disguised as an invisible waiter, Tor has one risky adventure after another trying to keep the train on track. One of his adventures is purely romantic.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable novel, right up there with the best of Dick Francis.

3-0 out of 5 stars Well constructed detective story
I found this a slow read, but worthwhile or I would have given it up.
The details in the book are very complete, so that you almost feel that you are on the train with the detective.
Somehow the punishment of the villain seems to be less than the crime
involved deserved? The description of how the detective makes
himself blend with the background in an unremarkable way is very good as well. I enjoyed the book, but not enough to give it high marks.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Plot, Great Mystery
I forget how good Dick Francis mystery's are.This was a great plot.Tor Kelsey works for the British Jockey Club and is asked to take a Transcontinental Canadian Train from Toronto to Vancouver with a bunch of horses, their owners, their grooms and a mystery tour.Disguised as a waiter, Kelsey is watching a villain the Club has been trying to catch for years. Julious Appollo Filmer is suspected of murder but it was never proven.So Kelsey is trying to catch him in an act of law breaking so he can be banished from racing forever.What he doesn't know is, he will actually enjoy the ride himself, even if he is a lowly waiter.I was given a Dick Francis book by my Aunt because she knew I liked horses. And yes, Francis's books are loaded with information on horses.But the mystery in these books are some of the best.It's been a while since I have engaged in a Dick Francis mystery. After reading this, it has me anxious to get lost in another. ... Read more

9. Bolt
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 288 Pages (2005-05-03)
list price: US$7.50 -- used & new: US$10.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425202887
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Kit Fielding will do whatever it takes to stop the killing of racehorses. Not an easy task considering that the woman he adores is leaving him, an international arms dealer is threatening him, and Kit's nemesis has plans to knock him off the track--and plant him under it. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sequel to BREAK IN is more a thriller/romance than a mystery
This sequel to BREAK IN has steeplechase jockey Kit Fielding, the princess, the pretty girl, the twin, and the baddies but it's darker. Still a great read, I never would have guessed who done it.

5-0 out of 5 stars "This is living"
Bolt is the sequel to Break In, and they should be read in order for greatest enjoyment.

Both these books contain amazing descriptions of races. Dick Francis portrays so beautifully the ability of Kit Fielding, an inspired jump jockey, to tune into the moods and idiosyncrasies of his mount - and the challenges of the course.

Riding to win at breakneck speed, Kit throws caution to the winds, thinking joyfully to himself, "This is living."

Kit's patron, the elegant Princess Casilia, stands in need of Kit's drive to win. Her husband Roland de Brescon is in partnership with the Nanterre family, and their venerable old company in France has a high reputation for integrity. When Louis Nanterre dies, their new partner is Henri Nanterre, who turns out to be an unscrupulous money-grubber. He wants to manufacture plastic guns.

Roland de Brescon refuses to give his consent to an expansion into gun manufacture. Plastic guns, favored by terrorists, are especially abhorrent. To force his partner's consent, Nanterre begins to wage a terrorist campaign of his own. He will not hesitate to maim or kill to achieve his ends. The princess and her family turn for help to Kit, who has demonstrated his ability to out-maneuver thugs.

In the course of the story some of the Princess's horses are killed with a bolt gun (thus the title of the book). Kit is kept pretty busy trying to protect both people and horses, while competing in multiple races and struggling to win back his fiancée's wavering affections.

I recommend this book for its lively plot, perfect dialog, admirable protagonist, out-of-control villains - and the life lessons just below the surface.

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than expected
The book was in excellent condition as listed which was significantly better than I expected.Besides being a great read, the book resides proudly in my library.

5-0 out of 5 stars Book exactly as described
I am searching for large print hard cover books by my favorite authors.This book was in very good condition. The seller described it accurately, priced it reasonably and I am pleased to have found it.


Dick Francis books read as if they came directly from the pages of the racing review. This book especially must be considered one of his best in both storyline and character. One reviewer said there was no mystery here, maybe so maybe not, but there certainly is suspense.

To bolt: that is what a horse can do when throwing its rider; that is what Kit Fielding's girlfriend is in the process of doing, and a bolt is what has been used to kill 3 prime racing steeds.

We learn from this book that a horse's brain is about the size of a person's fist, and that to kill one quickly one needs only draw a line from the right ear to the left eye and from the left ear to the right eye and where the X meets is the exact point to shoot the bolt. If true to aim, the horse will go down immediately with no loss of blood, it will just die. Grim business this book.

In BOLT Dick Francis has included just about as much racing action as any other of his books that I can recall. Several stories are taking place at various times throughout this novel and the reader's attention is captivated throughout. Racing injuries are mentioned too with some racing lore and strategy spread about also. This book has the feel of the track taking the reader along.

Starting on page 160 we receive several pages of information on the internation gun traffic with types of guns mentioned, especially the new plastic type that can go undetected through airports. And this background ties directly to the main plot of the story.Granted this information is dated by the book being published in 1987, but much of these statements would yet today hold truth.

On page 169 Kit Fielding sums up his thoughts on today's justice: "The law doesn't always deliver justice. The victim mostly loses. Too often the law can only punish, it can't put things right." Great statement Mr. Francis and alas only too true.

To go on and on would make this review longer than my arm, however, suffice it to say that this is one of more interesting and thought provoking Dick Francis books I've read. It ranks up there with the best. Read it and see if you don't agree.

Semper Fi.

... Read more

10. Driving Force
by Dick Francis
Mass Market Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-01-05)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425233189
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
New York Times bestselling grand master of crime fiction

Jockey Freddie Croft discovers a high-stakes conspiracy that exposes the seedy underside of horse-racing-and faces deadlier odds of survival than in any steeplechase run. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Horse Racing
When you read a Dick Francis novel you know that you are not only getting a great read but you are also getting a book written by a writer who knows his subject. Dick Francis was one of the world's greatest jockeys. Talk about horses and racing - he knew his subject. He was also Queen Elizabeth's and her mother's rider for many years. A great athlete!

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny business
Dick Francis finds dozens of ways to use the backdrop of racing for his novels, showing a truly astounding imagination. In this book, the hero owns and runs a business for transporting racehorses between trainers and racetracks.

Freddie Croft is no mere businessman, but an ex-jockey who still remembers with nostalgia the thrill of merging mind and body with a nonhuman powerhouse. Winner of many a race in the past, he's a strategist and psychologist at heart. So when strange things start happening, Freddie is determined to find out what's really going on.

It all starts with two of his drivers, who are forbidden to pick up hitchhikers, breaking the rule and ending up with a dead man in the van. While that death looks like a heart attack, the next death is more suspicious. And then Freddie himself, while inspecting his vans late at night, is attacked and almost killed.

Freddie's mechanic has discovered hidden compartments bolted under several of his vans. Identifying the mysterious cargo is Freddie's challenge, since at the moment the compartments are empty. He doesn't trust the police, who seem to treat Freddie himself as a suspicious person. But he does enlist the help of the Jockey Club's security organization. The investigator they send turns out to be a sexy (and very capable) woman, a plus for love-starved Freddie.

Without being exactly a page-turner, the novel keeps the reader involved by means of the appealing characters and realistic setting. You get a strong sense of what Freddie Croft's life is like day to day, running this somewhat prosaic yet exhausting and complicated business.

Originally published in 1992, Driving Force is now back in print, happily for Dick Francis fans.

4-0 out of 5 stars What's your driving force?
I've yet to read a Dick Francis book I didn't enjoy. His leading men all tend to be kind of the same guy, but it's a character that works. Freddie Croft is tough, but not too tough... smart, but not too smart.. and somewhat of a reluctant ladie's man. I always find myself picturing Francis's leading men as the Daniel Craig version of James Bond.

But enough about Freddie! The story here is pretty solid and interesting, even to someone who doesn't know patooie about horse-racing. Everything is from Freddie's point of view... there are no sneak peeks into the mind of the bad guys or what's happening while Freddie is elsewhere. I found that quite refreshing. I think too many suspense novels fall into that multiple point-of-view trap and it takes something away from the story. I found myself trusting the people Freddie trusted and feeling ambivalent about those he wasn't sure of, and I think it added that extra zing of emotion to the big reveal at the finish. I highly recommend Dick Francis if you're looking for something a little different from today's usual mystery/suspense story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Deadly Hitchhiker
Freddie Croft, is an ex-jockey who owns and operates a horse transportation service. When an employee fails to follow the rules and picks up a hitchhiker Freddie fires him. But it is the hitchhiker who dies in the truck and Freddie is left holding a loaded gun he doesn't know exists.
Dick Francis can take you into the world of English racing as no other writer can, introduce new and deadly means of evil and lead you to cover each page looking for clues, which are buried as you follow his hero over many courses to an exciting finish with surprising results.
Pick up any Frances, you're in for a good read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hunger for winners
Horse boxes in the UK are horse trailers here.The main character, Freddie Croft, is in the business of transporting horses.He discharges a driver who picked up a hitch-hiker against his express direction, the hitch-hiker having come to his notice because he ended up dead.

Freddie had been a steeple chase jockey.There was less to be nervous about in the horse transport business than the business of being a jockey and looking for mounts.His customers tended to be a case of repeat business, he had to be less concerned with rivals than he had been formerly.

A faux employee, sent by the jockey club investigator, is embedded in Freddie's operation as a replacement driver and an assistant investigator.Stamina and adaptability are essential to the job.Freddie is called away from a social event when one of his men, Jogger, is discovered dead.

Next a Lebanese-Canadian driver is hired, whom his sister discovers subsequently to be over-qualified for such a position.He seeks his sister's aid to analyze a substance he discovers in the horse box in which the first dead man had been riding.

Freddie is unconscious and in the water in the vicinity of Southampton.He doesn't know how he came to be there.Following his rescue he discovers his vehicles and his house have been ransacked, vandalized.His business has a computer virus.It seems that the hitch-hiker had been some sort of a courier, carrying a medium for a virus of the biological sort.

The first dead man, Ogden, had been unemployed for four years.He was used and had let himself be used in his desperation.The solution to the mystery is that one of the customers wanted to win at all cost.Old Jogger, the second dead man, had figured it all out, but he gave hints to many people of his discoveries.There were at least three actors involved in the various misdeeds and Jogger had clashed with some of them. ... Read more

11. Knockdown
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 304 Pages (2006-03-07)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425210243
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
For a generous commission, ex-prize-winning jockey Jonah Dereham agrees to bid on a young steeplechaser on behalf of a wealthy American woman. But immediately following the auction two thugs demand ownership of the horse. Now Jonah must figure out the high-stakes game being played--before he becomes its next casualty. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars What price honesty?
Jonah Dereham is an ex-jockey with three fused vertebrae and a dislocating shoulder. Now making his living buying horses as a bloodstock agent, Jonah is too honest for his own good.

While all around him, other bloodstock agents are cheating buyers, sellers and breeders - Noah is foolishly happy with a simple commission, no hidden kickbacks. He's ruining it for everyone else. His associates threaten to crush him if he won't play the game.

For Jonah, buying horses turns out to be even more dangerous than riding them.

Although the plot feels a bit slight to me, Jonah is a thoroughly likeable hero. And Francis draws an interesting portrait of Jonah's loner of a girlfriend, an air-traffic controller who never loses control of her heart. Jonah's self-pitying alcoholic brother is also well done.

Dick Francis is always worth reading. I was in the middle of this book when I heard that he just died. The news made me sad. I think it's a mistake to see Dick Francis as a mere writer of horse mysteries. The horses are there, and he loves them, but Dick Francis is really writing about character, integrity, doing your best against impossible odds, seeing the good in others, taking risks, throwing yourself into life.

My tribute to Dick Francis will be to read every one of his books. Wish there were more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Horse Racing
When you read a Dick Francis novel you know that you are not only getting a great read but you are also getting a book written by a writer who knows his subject. Dick Francis was one of the world's greatest jockeys. Talk about horses and racing - he knew his subject. He was also Queen Elizabeth's and her mother's rider for many years. A great athlete!

5-0 out of 5 stars Knockdown
I read this book while my kitchen was being remodeled.I love Dick Francis.I want to own all his books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Slow start, finishes with a flair
This book didn't instantly "grab" me like most of Dick Francis's writing does.Midway, the book picks up the pace; then, I didn't want to put it down. It was easy, fast-paced reading, and nice for summer relaxation.I had read Knockdown several years ago, so throughout the book I was thinking, "oh, yes, that was what I had forgotten."Good books are like good friends:I like to re-visit them; but maybe that was why I thought the start was slow.Anyone who enjoys horses and mysteries probably will like Francis's writing.I particularly appreciate his ability to succinctly, but casually paint word pictures of horses, people, and places. He gives scope to the imagination of the reader. I had to laugh when the hero of Knockdown recommended Halley as an investigator.Of course, Sid Halley is one of my favorite Francis characters.Knockdown was worth reading again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a TKO but not a knockout, 4+ stars
This is a solid Dick Francis novel with interesting characters (esp. the supporting cast), a bigger than life hero, a mystery, and lots of IMHO fascinating information on a lesser-known aspect of the racing sport--the bloodstock agent (perhaps called horse trader or agent outside of the British Commonwealth).It also has a modicum of love interest, the long-suffering of the hero, his triumph at the end, but with some pathos too. The ending was a bit too pat for me--not readily believable IMHO--regarding Crispin--though I suppose stranger things have happened.There is a fair amount of description of Crispin's alcoholism, but today (the book is over 30 years old) the hero would probably be considered co-dependent.This work may not be Francis' best, but it's quite enjoyable--certainly not his worst book.My favorite quote in it is: "when success could breed envy even in friends, in enemies it could raise spite of Himalayan proportions."Enjoy! ... Read more

12. Comeback
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-03-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425233316
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
New York Times bestselling Grand Master of Crime Fiction

Foreign Office diplomat Peter Darwin uncovers a peculiar operation involving a veterinary surgeon and the unexplained deaths of several valuable racehorses.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost lethal homecoming
I'm running out of Dick Francis mysteries, sadly. I've saved the less well-reviewed ones till last - and I'm surprised at how excellent they are in fact.

Comeback is good solid Dick Francis. The protagonist Peter Darwin, a charming young diplomat, speaks various languages, loves his parents (even his stepfather) - and is good at fixing problems and hiding his thoughts while doing so.

Peter is on his way from Japan to his next assignment in London, when he rescues an older couple from muggers. This act of spontaneous heroism involves him inextricably with the couple. In any case Peter, Vicki and Greg are all flying to England on the same plane. Peter ends up staying with them for a visit to Cheltenham, where Vicky's daughter's wedding is to take place.

This happens also to be the neighborhood where Peter spent his early boyhood. He keeps quiet about that, being a reserved fellow, but early memories arise little by little - and ultimately help him solve a troubling mystery.

The mystery evolves around the sudden death of horses that are under the care of Vicky's daughter's fiancé Ken McClure, a vet.

Sudden friendships and love at first sight play an important role in the plot. Peter puts his life and his heart at risk for people he's just met: the young vet, and a lovely young woman encountered at the races. But after all, Dick Francis himself fell in love with his wife Mary at first meeting. He knows how these things work.

Comeback is educational, as is often the case with Francis books. I got more information than I could absorb about horse surgery and care! But it was interesting.

I'd recommend Comeback wholeheartedly, especially to fans who intend to read every Francis novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a homecoming!
I really enjoyed this one. Peter Darwin in a diplomat recently posted back home to England after several years in Japan. He makes the acquaintance of some fellow Brits who are mugged.They are both pretty shaken and are glad for his help when they make it to England. But the troubles are only beginning. Darwin is soon involved in sorting out some malicious mischief at a vet'ssurgery. I liked this one a lot.

3-0 out of 5 stars Return Home
COMEBACK is not one of Dick Francis's best, but down a step from fantastic to different. When you write about a master who produces one great mystery after another, the downs are better than the writers in second place.
Peter Darwin is a young British diplomat who stops off in Miami on his way home from Toyko. An improbable meeting with a nice couple who are on their way to London and enjoying a last night on the town set the stage for this strangely paced mystery.
Vicky Larch and Greg Wayfield are on their way to Gloucester to attend Vicky's daughter's wedding. Peter's childhood home is Gloucester. This mystery/suspense novel takes you deep into the world of veterinary surgery with one of the strangest climaxes in the world of mystery/suspense.

4-0 out of 5 stars Horses and diplomacy
Through a series of improbable coincidences a young diplomat becomes involved in the problems of a young veterinarian.
As usual, Dick Francis writes beautifully and brings his characters to life.
As usual, horses are involved.

4-0 out of 5 stars Horses and diplomacy
Through a series of twists and turns a young diplomat returns to his childhood home and finds a new friend. His new friend's career is threatened by a series of patient losses under his care.
Dick Francis has his usual understanding of horses and people. ... Read more

13. Come to Grief
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 384 Pages (2005-12-06)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$77.38
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425207188
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
When ex-jockey Sid Halley becomes convinced that one of his closest friends--and one of the racing world's most beloved figures--is behind a series of shockingly violent acts, he faces the most troubling case of his career.Amazon.com Review
Dick Francis brings back Sid Halley, champion jockey-turned-PIof his earlier novels WhipHand and Odds Against,in this troubling story.Ellis Quint has everything he could want: fame,youth, money, good looks, and talent.What Sid has to figure out iswhy his friend Ellis also has a streak of sadism that leads him to cut off horses'hooves in the dead of night. Sid's search for the truth leads himinto the lowest depths of human nature.Winner of the Edgar Award for best mystery novel. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not what they seem
Sid Halley, former champion jockey, looks small, harmless and naive. He's so inconspicuous that you may not even notice he has a prosthetic hand.

But in fact, Sid is a brilliant private investigator skilled at espionage, lock picking, computer hacking and judo - a man of action who never shows fear.

His good friend Ellis Quint, another ex-jockey, has retired from racing to become a TV chat show celebrity. He's utterly charming and inspires happiness everywhere he goes. Everybody loves him.

But in fact Ellis is secretly indulging in sick acts of cruelty to animals. No one would believe it of him. Sid Halley is nearly destroyed trying to expose the truth.

Dick Francis heroes almost always get badly battered in a fight or two. But Sid Halley's tribulations go far beyond that. Though totally without self-pity, he`s never gotten reconciled to the loss of his hand. In this book, Sid must also bear the burden of betraying a friend.

I find the Sid Halley books challenging because life is so very hard on the handicapped investigator. I don't want my heroes to suffer this much! But Dick Francis felt he had reached a higher level with these books. They delve into the nightmares that won't go away - without, however, losing the essential optimism that epitomizes Dick Francis.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sophisticated Thriller
Dick Francis wrote only three books about Sid Halley, a former jockey turned investigator, and in each book, Sid and his views about his crippling injury change just a little.

In COME TO GRIEF, Francis tells us right up front who the villain is, a "least likely" suspect indeed.Ellis Quint is a former champion amateur jockey, a friend and rival to Sid in his halcyon days, and a man who has gone on to outstanding success as a TV commentator and talk show host.So why would such a man stoop to crippling ponies and racehorses by chopping off their feet?

It's a mesmerizing picture: Sid reluctantly investigating and Ellis going to the brink, both men sharing a nature that loves and craves risk.Francis points this up in the character of Jonathan, a bored almost-delinquent, who got into trouble with his friends for stealing a car.Jonathan at this point could go either way: full fledged criminal or hot-shot investigator.

As in all Dick Francis, there's such forward momentum to the plot that the book is hard to put down.Even though we know "who done it" it's not apparent that the criminal will ever be found guilty.I peg this as one of Francis's best.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good read.
Dick Francis always write well constructed mysteries with good character representations and believeab le motivations.The only thing that kept me from giving this book five stars is that it is less suspenseful when you know before the end of the book who did it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Twisted Pain
Dick Francis, puts Sid Haley back in the saddle for an Edgar Award with COME TO GRIEF.
A sick child fighting a losing battle begs Sid's help to discover who mutilated her pony so viciously it had to be destroyed. Sid's heart goes out to the bewildered little girl as other prime colts are attacked in the night.
Sid risks a life-time of friends and his professional reputation to being a killer to justice. He knows the identity of the attacker, but he lacks the proof necessary for a conviction. Jam packed with tension, chills and horror as Mr. Francis gives readers the ride of their lives.
Mystery fiction that stands among the best. Take a long day for this one you won't put it down.
Nash Black, author of TRAVELERS and SINS OF THE FATHERS.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stale
The third novel featuring Sid Halley, the unfortunate jockey who lost his left hand in a steeplechasing fall at a fence. He's still full of his complexes, including the one of guilt towards his former spoiled and bitchy wife. The inevitable villain in this one is a very popular TV presentator, and reminds too much of the one in "Nerve", a book of 31 years before. All in all, the Sid Halley epic is getting tired and stale."Odds against" (first episode) was very good, and original; the second one, "Whip hand" a bit re-hashed but still palatable. This one is showing worn-off edges. ... Read more

14. Banker
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 320 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425237753
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Investment banker Tim Ekaterin thought arranging the purchase of a champion racehorse was a sure thing-but he never gambled on getting caught up in murder. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Effortless
In Banker, Dick Francis is able to take two things I know very little about -- merchant banking and thoroughbred breeding -- and twist them together in such a way that I can't put the book down.I always find reading Francis to be effortless.He pulls me in from the start with an unusual situation. Young banker Tim Ekaterin finds his boss standing in the fountain in front of the bank with his clothes on. This situation is what leads to Tim being responsible for deciding whether or not the finance the purchase of Sandcastle, a star racehorse.He becomes quite close to Sandcastle's owner and his young daughter after birth defects begin to appear in the horse's progeny -- they all have too much to lose. Francis tends to set his main characters up in almost-but-not-quite inappropriate relationships with young (17, in this case) girls, which is a little weird, but things never cross the line. Regardless, I know when I pick up a Dick Francis book that I'm going to be sucked in until the last page.

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid entertainment
The plot of this novel spans two worlds: merchant banking and racehorse breeding. The narrator is Tim Ekaterin, great grandson of the founder of the family bank. Though only in his early thirties, Tim clearly has the family gene for money making. He's both a risk-taker and a careful assessor of risk.

Tim's adventurous streak causes him to look kindly on an offbeat investment. Breeder Oliver Knowles has asked the Ekaterin bank for a loan of five million pounds to buy a racehorse for stud. Not just any horse, but Sandcastle, a famous champion who will take Knowles from middling to top breeder.

As always Dick Francis gives the reader an education, this time on the earthy subject of getting horses to copulate successfully and breed future winners. Knowles acquires his stud horse, but with it comes a world of woe. Tim ends up being the main investigator of a conspiracy that's bigger and nastier than anyone dreams.

There are lots of fun characters in the book: The fifty-year-old woman bloodstock agent who's always in a hurry, the high-betting tycoon who's alternately going broke or getting rich, the young jokester-banker who will do anything for a laugh, the lady pharmacist with an encyclopedic knowledge of drugs, the herbalist who heals sick horses by the laying on of hands.

Banker has it all: murder, heroics, illicit love, low tricks and high finance. I highly recommend it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Slow buildup to a good last 100 pages
"Banker" is narrated by Tim Ekaterin, a young merchang banker who, after approving a £5 million loan to a horsebreeder to buy a stallion, discovers just how dangerous the world of horsebreeding can be.

This was the first Dick Francis book I read and although I'm not very interested in horses, racing or horsebreeding, his knowledge made the subject interesting and I liked the story. The main problem with the novel is that it takes way too long to get started. It starts out okay but halfway into the book I started to get bored by descriptions of too many irrelevant details. The it improved again and the last 100 pages were very good. In all it was a decent but uneven novel that would have benefited from tighter plotting in the first 150 pages.

5-0 out of 5 stars Seller response excellent
The seller immediately responded to my question regarding this purchase and resolved the problem.I will buy from this seller again.

5-0 out of 5 stars First rate...
I was hooked on Banker by Dick Francis from the opening sentences of the introduction."It's difficult to say where disaster begins, to point to one particular happening as the first significant step towards distance cataclysm.Tim Ekaterin, looking back, saw the beginning as the day his boss stepped into the fountain."

Francis has made a career of writing mysteries that involve the equestrian world.But in Banker, he weaves a tale that involves both horses and high finance.Tim Ekaterin is an investment banker and the great-grandson of Paul Ekaterin, who began the famous company Paul Ekaterin, LTD.Unfortunately, Tim's parents flittered away their fortune, and Tim find himself working his way up from the bottom at Ekaterin, LTD.When his boss becomes ill, Tim takes over his caseload and has the responsibility of deciding who receives bank loans.He takes a chance on Oliver Knowles.Knowles runs a horse farm, and wants to purchase the successful racehorse, Sandcastle, for breeding purposes.But just when everything seems to be going well, someone starts tampering with Sandcastle.Knowles is in danger of losing his farm, the bank is in line to lose millions of dollars and Ekaterin is about to lose any professional respect he may have gained at the bank.And then people start losing their lives.Ekaterin steps in to try and tie together many unrelated circumstances in a very engaging way.

In Banker, I truly enjoyed reading about how a horse farm operates, and especially, the process of breeding racehorses.As a former jockey, Frances definitely knows his stuff. And while the plot was a little plodding at the beginning, it definitely picked up speed along the way.

The first time I read a Dick Francis book, I hit a dud.I'm so glad that I didn't give up on him as Banker is a first-class book.
... Read more

15. Straight
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 320 Pages (2006-02-07)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$32.12
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 042520846X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A jockey becomes the sole inheritor of his late brother's business, horse, mistress, and enemies. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars My All-Time Favorite Francis Book Reviewer: Renee S. ,N.Y.C.
My favorite of all Mr. Francis'books, and I have read them all several times at least.'Straight' and acouple of the other books, like 'Longshot' and 'The Edge' - at least for me - are a cut above Francis' always good, always wellwritten thrillers.I think that is because the characters in those books have some extra dimension, a touch more humanity perhaps, or something extra that makes the readercare about what happens to them, even to wanting toknow how their lives will continue after the story ends.We have invested in them, and "characters " have become real people.I think that is what makes these books resonate for me.I hope you find your favorites, but I can at least assure you that you'll never be disappointed in a Dick Francis read.!

5-0 out of 5 stars Action, Gems and Horses make a fascination mystery
The fascination mystery than unfolds when injured Steeplechase Jockey Derek Franklin takes over brother's gem business and suddenly feels like a moving target. The mystery is why he's a target and how to survive while he figures it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intrepid hero on crutches
The first paragraph of this book tells us straight what's to come:"I inherited my brother's life. Inherited his desk, his business, his gadgets, his enemies, his horses and his mistress. I inherited my brother's life, and it nearly killed me."

Steeplechase jockey Derek Franklin is an admirable guy, a straight shooter who wins a lot of races. We meet him on crutches with a shattered ankle. He's broken a lot of bones in his career, as jockeys do. He'll mend, but not before he gets hurt a lot worse.

When his brother Greville is killed in a freak accident, Derek has to look into his business (importing semi-precious gems) and figure out what to do about it. What he finds is a very successful company with a mysterious loan of 1.5 million U.S. dollars procured for buying diamonds. But everyone at the office assures him that his brother never dealt in diamonds, only gemstones. And there are no diamonds to be found anywhere.

Part of Greville's legacy is an amazing collection of electronic gadgets, some in plain sight, others hidden in secret places. Obsessed with security and fond of puzzles, Greville hasn't made it easy for Derek to find the missing diamonds.

The reader can look forward to plenty of action in this book: break-ins, shootings and a romantic encounter with a potentially lethal woman. At the same time, the book is a touching story of the relationship between two brothers.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite Francis books (so far)
I've read a number of Dick Francis books and enjoy most of them to some degree. But I really liked this one, which I found odd, because what I like most about Francis's books is that they revolve around horses and racing, and this one was more peripherally involved in that world than others I've read.

The main character must sort through his dead brother's estate, including a gem business full of people looking to him for leadership, and a horse or two that might be victims of some funny business.

Nonstop intrigue, action, and mayhem follow, with plot twists and people not being who they seem and all the great things we come to expect from a Dick Francis book. But somehow, this one seemed different. The characters were richer, more three-dimensional.

So if you like his books, even just for the horses, you should like this one quite a lot. If you've never read one of his books, this would be a good one to start with. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars Many ways to be straight
In Straight, Francis gives us another of his honorable and vulnerable heroes who find themselves in trouble through no fault of their own.True, part of Derek Franklin's problems stems from not getting to know his much older brother, Greville, but the rest of his problems just seem to happen.Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is never in one's favor.

Derek is a successful jockey whose ankle is broken in a fall in a race.Just after he learns that his brother has been killed in a freak accident.Now, Greville was a gemologist who tended to be more than a little paranoid.He loved gadgets and puzzles and lives in a house outfitted like a fortress.Unfortunately, the strength of the house does not prevent Derek from being pummeled and otherwise abused nearly to the point of death. The worst thing is that he doesn't know why.This is a story of many mysteries most of which have nothing to do with one another.True to form, though, the villain once identified, proves to have no compunctions about doing whatever it takes to get what he/she wants and for self protection.Or is that villains?

As the story unfolds, the reader finds out as much about the deceased Greville as Derek, his brother and sole heir.(There are two sisters who live abroad.)It's difficult not to care about both and to feel the regret about not getting to know someone before it's too late.

Straight is a typical Francis novel in that it's a fast read, one cares about the protagonist, and pretty much despises the antagonist.Few surprises when it comes to it, but one of Francis's good ones. ... Read more

16. Smokescreen
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 304 Pages (2006-05-02)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425210251
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In Francis's "best thriller" (Evening Standard), a movie star must give the performance of his life when he crosses paths with killers while investigating race-horse tampering in South Africa. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointment in Kindle version
My boyfriend bought me a kindle for my birthday and the first book I downloaded was none other than a Dick Francis I hadn't already read. I love his books, and this was no exception, but the quality of the kindle copy was appalling. Spelling mistakes, incorrect words and bad punctuation. It marred my enjoyment of the book, and at over [...] I felt ripped off. I'd rather have the real book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superlative suspense
This is one of my favorite Dick Francis novels. The characters are superb, the plotting as clever as it gets, the climax nightmarish, the retribution delicious.

I don't normally warm to novels about actors, but Edward Lincoln (Link to friends) is a thoroughly likeable guy. He has nothing in common with the superheroes he portrays in film after film. He's not a crack shot, can't fly an airplane or dismantle bombs and doesn't speak Russian. He's happiest at home with the family between films.

Link's father worked in a stable, and Link would have liked to be a jockey, but he grew too tall too quickly as a lad. Anyway, he knows horses. An old family friend who doesn't have long to live asks Link to fly to South Africa and find out why her nine racehorses never win a race anymore. She's convinced that Link is as ingenious as the larger-than-life characters he plays.

Just to be kind, Link makes the trip. As it turns out, he needs to be both lucky and clever to stay alive.

This is not a political novel, despite the South Africa location. It should be read purely for the adventure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Forever Francis
Dick Francis is a master story teller. Every book I have ever read of his, almost all of them, is entertaining, well written and completely enjoyable. This one certainly falls in that category. Never start one of his books unless you have time because you will not be able to put it down. What a splendid writer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Smikescreen
I collect Dick Francis novels.He gave me company when I remodeled the kitchen and had no TV.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dick Francis is ALWAYS in first place!
Dick Francis consistently writes books that people love to read -- again and again!I own all of his books and have had to replace some due to wear!I started in 1988 with The Edge and was hooked!Try any of his books and you will feel the same.Thank you, Dick Francis! ... Read more

17. Twice Shy
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 304 Pages (2004-10-05)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$15.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425198774
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A computerized horse-betting system falls into Jonathan Derry's hands--and unless he returns it to the rightful owners, the odds of his survival are slim to none. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Angelo is one bad angel
It's always satisfying when the good guys are more cunning and effective than the bad guys, and Dick Francis delivers that satisfaction twice over in Twice Shy.

This is the story of two brothers and a terrifying killing machine named Angelo. The book divides into two parts as the narration switches from Jonathan Kerry to William Kerry.

Jonathan is a 33-year-old physics teacher. A friend of his has programmed a computerized betting system based on statistical probabilities that, if properly followed, can generate considerable wealth. Not surprisingly, the system is of great interest to crooks.

Jonathan's friend, who's been threatened by a couple of thugs (Angelo and cousin) passes on tapes of the program to Jonathan, who thereby becomes the target for Angelo's murderous attentions.

Jonathan manages to escape England and Angelo, in rather heroic style, but fourteen years later his younger brother William inherits the problem. William is an ex-jockey with a high-level job in the racing world.

This is only the barest hint at the plot, which is quite complex, despite the unifying factor of the obsessive and insanely violent Angelo.

Love, friendship, marital troubles and wry humor mix quite successfully with criminal depredations in a book that is curiously lighthearted, despite some serious bloodshed.

No doubt the computer content of the story is hopelessly out of date. Dick Francis could not have foreseen the incredibly fast pace of change in systems technology in 1982, when this book was published. So I looked the other way and just enjoyed the story. I found the ending quite a delight.

4-0 out of 5 stars horses and computers
Two brothers, one a teacher, the other a horseman,dealing with a computer program for handicapping races. Like all of his books, this one is character driven.
Could have more horses in it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Interesting one that I read to start with, revolving around a computer prediction program.Little did I know at the time about what reading about computer programs to predict horse racing would lead to.Definitely a good yarn, this one, certainly would recommend it to others that like this sort of story.

3-0 out of 5 stars 14 year gaps in books about computers?Try again!
Gotta agree with the other reviewer's comment about mixing 14 year gaps in stories with plots centering about computers.I actually program these silly things for a living, and listening to this book in 2001 was interesting purely from this historical computer languages angle.However, I found myself distracted througout wondering if it was the initial story about Jonathan that was intended to take place in '81 or the second story 14 years later.I don't think I buy it either way: programs don't last 14 years.
My verdict: centering the plot on a computer program?Good.
Breaking the story into two, changing narrators, and setting the 2nd half 14 years later?Good.
Both?Not so good.
Try Whip Hand or In The Frame instead.

4-0 out of 5 stars Francis Never Fails
Dick Francis is one of the finest mystery/thriller writers going. This book, one of the first mysteries I ever read, hooked me to Francis's saddle during my teens. I've enjoyed the ride ever since. ... Read more

18. Wild Horses
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-05-06)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$4.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425222713
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A smash hit novel now in trade—from “a rare and magical talent… who never writes the same story twice.”(San Diego Union-Tribune)

When Thomas Lyon decides to make a movie based on an unsolved crime that shocked the horseracing world in Wild Horses, he discovers that someone will do anything—including commit murder—to make sure this story isn’t told… ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love the book and Dick Francis.I will miss him.
The Kindle edition of the book has LOTS of errors in spelling that make it sort of hard to decipher at times.
The book itself is great!

5-0 out of 5 stars Audio Wild horses
I listened to this audio a long time ago.I enjoyed it then and again when I listened to it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Four plots, one truth
There's the plot conceived by a bestselling author, the plot made cinematic by a film director and the true story of the hanging twenty-six years previously of the pretty young wife of a racehorse trainer - inspiration for the book and the movie. Dick Francis's eventful plot makes four. The successful reader will need a good head for detail!

Our hero is young film director Thomas Lyon who, like other Francis heroes I've encountered, is likeable, clever and coolheaded under attack. He's also an ex-jockey, which assures us of plenty of horsy scenes.

The reluctant recipient of a deathbed confession, Thomas accidentally acquires a piece of the puzzle of the unsolved murder mystery. Since knowing the truth may help him resolve the ending of his own film, he's motivated to investigate. But several people are intent on stopping the film, along with any further speculation about the crime, including family, author and no doubt the murderer.

Key players are attacked by exotic knives (possession of such knives is against the law in England). Thomas turns out to be a better detective than the police, because of his understanding of character.

I didn't enjoy this book as much as others by Dick Francis, perhaps because certain characters seemed a bit stereotyped. But if you're interested in how movies are made, you might like Wild Horses a lot.

4-0 out of 5 stars Conjuror
Thomas Lyons sits with an old man, Valentine, to give his sister and care provider, Dorothea, a rest.Valentine mistakes Thomas for a priest.Lyons is a film director, moderately experienced.His current project has a jockey club theme.

The book upon which Thomas's movie is based has no proper ending.Among other concerns, Thomas is to move the balky author to provide one, an ending, or come up with one on his own.Something decisive is needed.

Valentine, a blacksmith turned racing journalist, dies.There is a bequest to Thomas of his journals and books.Dorothea's son, Valentine's nephew, is rather put out over the gift.

Next the star of the movie becomes a target for an assault with a very strange knife and things become wonderfully muddled.In addition to the mystery plot, what is really interesting in the book is the visualization by the director, Lyons, of a variety of scenes pertaining to horses.

The book is a page turner.It is guaranteed to please.

5-0 out of 5 stars The darling of the horsey set?
This was the first Dick Francis book I read. The only reason I have not read all of his wonderful books because I read too much to get to them. The combination of the film making and story with horses drove me wild. Here, in Chicago, the streets are frequently marked off for movie & TV filming. Yes, indeed, I saw Clint Eastwood one day! Wild Horses stirred me up so much I starting taking riding lessons although I have not become a movie star! Dick Francis, to me, is the John D MacDonald of the horsey set. This was a great read. ... Read more

19. Dead Heat
by Dick Francis, Felix Francis
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2007-09-17)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$2.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003IWYHL0
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
After a six-year absence from the bestseller lists, Dick Francis roared out of the gate with 2006's Under Orders, demonstrating once again every ounce of his famed narrative drive, brilliant plotting, and simmering suspense. Hard on the heels of that triumph comes Dead Heat, set against the backdrop of Britain's famed Two Thousand Guineas Stakes.

Max Moreton is a rising culinary star and his Newmarket restaurant, The Hay Net, has brought him great acclaim and a widening circle of admirers. But when nearly all the guests who enjoyed one of his meals at a private catered affair fall victim to severe food poisoning, his kitchen is shuttered and his reputation takes a hit. Scrambling to meet his next obligation, an exclusive luncheon for forty in the glass-fronted private boxes at the Two Thousand Guineas, Max must overcome the previous evening's disaster and provide the new American sponsors of the year's first classic race with a day to remember.

Then a bomb blast rips through the private boxes, killing some of Max's trusted staff as well as many of the guests. As survivors are rushed to the hospital, Max is left to survey the ruins of the grandstand-and of his career. Two close calls are too close for comfort, and Max vows to protect his name-and himself- before it's too late. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (61)

2-0 out of 5 stars Poorly written
I tried to listen to this as an audio book, read by Martin Jarvis. I suppose Jarvis' narration was okay...I've heard better (my favorite, Robin Bailey).

But the flaws in the book stood out all the more with thr narration - the amateur (ie Felix's mistake, one assumes). The speaker of every single sentence is identified. "He said, she said, he replied", etc. Every - single- one. May just be passable in a book but in an audiobook it grated on the nerves.

The plot...yes...the bombing at the race course to kill one person might *seem* over the top for a Mafia style villain - that wholesale indiscriminate slaughter is usually the province of terrorists - but in 20th and 21st century Western world...we might be approaching that in real life.

This is not the book to start reading if you want to get hooked on Dick Francis .

5-0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying
I listened to Dead Heat as an audiobook.From the first chapter, I was thrilled that this was every bit as good as the Dick Francis books I remember from decades ago.The plot was fast moving and very interesting.I grew to care about Max, Caroline, and even Viola.I loved that Max was a chef, which brought me into the world of food and restaurants.It was a great compliment to the world of horse racing.I hope that the Francis duo will bring back these characters in another book.I'd love to see "what happens next." As for Martin Jarvis' performance, it was excellent.Each character had their own voice and his performance really brought out their personalities.The perfect performer for a great book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Murdered by friends
"Lots of people are murdered by their friends," Max Moreton remarks jokingly. As it turns out, the joke almost comes true in his case.

Max is a minor celebrity chef offering haute cuisine in a restaurant on the outskirts of Newmarket. His career, however, is seriously threatened when hundreds of guests fall ill after a dinner he caters at the Newmarket races. He can't figure out what went wrong.

This is just the beginning of Max's troubles. When, the very next day, he caters a lunch in the VIP boxes at Newmarket, he's nearly blown up in an explosion.

As is the habit of Dick Francis heroes, Max starts digging into matters that are deeper and darker than he realizes. Before he can begin to guess why, someone is trying to kill him.

I really liked this book. Of course I couldn't help analyzing the difference between classic Dick Francis mysteries and this one, written in collaboration with his son Felix. There's no fat in a Dick Francis plot. Whereas Felix, who is physical plumper than his dad was, gives us a plumper story line. He's more emotive - and a lot less interested in horses!

Dead Heat has an ingenious plot. The characters are believably quirky (my favorite being the laughing lawyer). Max's romance with a viola player from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is charmingly presented. And I thoroughly enjoyed the ambience of the world of haute cuisine.

3-0 out of 5 stars Francis does it again.
Max Moreton is a rising young chef.His career takes a nosedive when almost everyone at a function he catered comes down sick, very sick.He knows he didn't do anything stupid, out of the ordinary, and that his ingredients were up to his usual high standards.Life gets more complicated when a bomb goes off the next day, and again he's catering the function.Who is after him, and why?

Francis can be relied upon to deliver a good story, a story connected somehow to horses and racing, a story in which the protagonist gets the crap beaten out of him somewhere along the line, and a story where the hero (usually) finds love.DEAD HEAT doesn't let readers down.The reader learns something about catering and about violas and orchestras.Francis doesn't sink to giving recipes, for which we can all be grateful.It's quite enough that Francis once again delivers an enjoyable read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A winner
Reading any Dick Francis book with or without his son Felix Francis is always a pleasure.The characters have enough depth so that you can get inside their heads.The plots are complex and take the reader on unexpected journeys.While writing about murder Francis does it without exposing the reader to excessive blood and gore but you get his point none-the-less.Highly recommend all of his books. ... Read more

20. Forfeit
by Dick Francis
Paperback: 256 Pages (2005-04-05)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$3.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425201910
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When reporter Bert Checkov falls to his death, his colleague James Tyrone thinks he can prove it was murder. But there's no such thing as a sure thing. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Don't sell your soul!"
Like many Dick Francis heroes, James Tyrone gets caught up quite by chance in a life-threatening drama. Ty is a sportswriter for a sensational newspaper. While researching a freelance magazine feature on the Lamplighter Gold Cup, he discovers that all the horses a certain veteran journalist has advised people to bet on have turned out to be nonstarters.

In a drunken stupor, this fellow journalist advises Ty not to sell his soul, or his column - and minutes later falls out a window to his death.

Ty feels compelled to investigate further, with the whole-hearted backing of his scandal-loving paper. This involves him in dangerous situations with some very bad guys.

There's always a compelling personal story intertwined with the thriller content of a Francis novel. In Forfeit, James Tyrone's wife Elizabeth is paralyzed and on a respirator for life, having contracted polio just three years into their marriage. He's emotionally committed to her - but sexual fidelity is a challenge.

My enthusiasm for a good Dick Frances novel is boundless (despite my total lack of interest in real life horseracing and betting). This is an especially good one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hostage to Greed
James "Ty" Tyrone writes sports columns for a "rag," but his excellent salary supports the tremendous medical expense of his wife who must live in an iron lung, a victim of polio. FORFEIT is a masterful thriller from Dick Francis.
Ty meets Bert Chekov, a fellow writer, on the street. Bert is drunk, but warns Ty not to sell his column. A short time later Bert falls or is pushed to his death. Thugs demand Ty's support for their race fixing scheme and resort to intimidation through his wife's frail grip on life. A must read for Dick Francis fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars My first Dick Francis novel, won't be the last
Forfeit, by Dick Francis, tells the story of sports writer James Tyrone beginning when a drunken colleague, Bert Checkov, warns him not to sell his column.Making vague allusions to blackmail and bribery, the man is so drunk that he's all but incoherent and then goes his own way.Chalking it up to the booze, Tyrone leaves his friend only to learn minutes later that the man has just fallen out of a window and died.A short while later, we learn that Checkov has been heavily touting a large number of horses that end up getting scratched from their races shortly before post time.This is the tip of the iceberg that leads Tyrone into conflict with bookmakers who will stop at nothing to continue a scheme that has already netted them a small fortune.

Tyrone is a remarkably strong character who deals with a home life that could only be called difficult, an editor who doesn't mind risking his life to get a story, and a gang of thugs that don't mind dishing out a beating or even murder to get what they want.He is not perfect, but he does have a good heart and readers can't help but root for him.Most of the characters are interesting and portrayed uniquely enough that they remain distinct and not just cardboard cutouts put in place to fill their assigned roles.The story builds momentum as it goes.In the beginning, I found it mildly interesting but as it progressed it became a real page-turner.

This is the first novel by Dick Francis that I have read but he has been one of the most respected mystery writers for many decades.His writing style is very clear and crisp, easy to read and understand.Some English novelists use language that can make it hard for Americans to follow but I didn't find that to be the case here.I am not particularly interested in horses or horse racing but I do like good stories with interesting characters and there was a healthy dose of that in Forfeit.After reading this book, I'll be ordering more Dick Francis novels soon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dick Francis
I've probably read all of Dick Francis' many books and always await the next one happily.In between the advent of his new books, I occasionally re-read some old ones with pleasure, which I rarely do except in the case of classics.He writes literature equaling, for example, Eric Ambler's writing in quality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, memorable
I had been thinking: Do I really want to read about horse races? I only watch the Kentucky Derby and sometimes two more races, if there's hope for a Triple Crown.

My friend had been urging me to read Dick Francis, and recently recommended Forfeit, which finally I read.

In the book, Francis is always low-key and, as a former jockey, knows his stuff. Suspense is permanent, the plotting intelligent and flawless.

In Forfeit, we follow journalist James Tyrone, as he and his London newspaper colleagues investigate racetrack fraud. The highly profitable criminal organizations pressure racing writers to mislead England's legitimate bettors. The perpetrators are not hesitant to inflict serious bodily harm and worse.

Francis draws his characters carefully. We know them all, sometimes gaining our affection, identifying with their personal struggles. Tyrone cares for his mostly paralyzed wife Elizabeth, who could not survive without a breathing machine.

A major plot mover is a relationship between Tyrone and an attractive university professor, leading to extended complications and threats.

We also meet a stable owner who is dealing with his spacy wife and troublesome sons. We see the bad guys. We are introduced to the horses, especially a central one named Tiddely Pom.

We are in the British racing world. The writing is memorable.
... Read more

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