Crossfire

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Overview

Shell-shocked after losing a foot during his tour in Afghanistan, Captain Tom Forsyth returns to his estranged mother's house. His mother has always put horses first and family last. But now she's being blackmailed for a hefty sum every week and being forced to make her horses lose. Using the skills he honed in the military, Tom sets out to find and defeat a hidden enemy before his mother's reputation is ruined, and he ends up back in the crossfire.

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Overview

Shell-shocked after losing a foot during his tour in Afghanistan, Captain Tom Forsyth returns to his estranged mother's house. His mother has always put horses first and family last. But now she's being blackmailed for a hefty sum every week and being forced to make her horses lose. Using the skills he honed in the military, Tom sets out to find and defeat a hidden enemy before his mother's reputation is ruined, and he ends up back in the crossfire.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For Tom Forsyth, returning to his mother's home didn't come naturally. Returning from Afghanistan traumatized and missing a foot, this former UK army officer urgently needed rest and recuperation, something even an estranged affluent parent can theoretically provide. But Josephine Kauri, "the first lady of British racing," is not the perfect mom and, besides, she's wrestling with her own demon, in the person of a blackmailer who comes calling every week. When Forsyth gets wind of her predicament, he faces some hard choices—and some daunting detective work. A taut Dick Francis mystery with all the equestrian trimmings.
Library Journal - Library Journal Audio
This is the last novel from the late Edgar Award winner Dick Francis (the former steeplechase jockey died on February 14, 2010) and his son, Felix. From wartorn Afghanistan to the world of horse racing and hedge funds, the novel is fast out of the starting gate and will keep listeners enthralled to the finish line. Actor/Audie Award winner Martin Jarvis gives a sterling performance as Capt. Thomas Forsyth, who finds that civilian life may be more dangerous than the explosive battlefront he left behind. Highly recommended for all public libraries, as Francis's many fans will want to pay a fond farewell to the Grand Master. ["Here's hoping Felix will continue the family literary tradition," read the review of the New York Times best-selling Putnam hc, which was also "highly recommended," LJ Xpress Reviews, 8/19/10.—Ed.]—Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ. Lib., Russellville
Publishers Weekly
In the enjoyable fourth and final collaboration between Francis (1920-2010) and son Felix (after Even Money), the army career of Capt. Thomas Forsyth abruptly ends when an IED in Afghanistan blows off one of his feet, leaving him with a prosthetic replacement (like another Francis lead, Sid Halley). Upon discharge from National Health Service care, Forsyth makes his way home to Lambourn, where he gets a less-than-warm welcome from his mother, Josephine Kauri, a horse trainer. After learning that her stable has had a series of mishaps, Forsyth discovers that Kauri has been sabotaging her own animals in response to a blackmailer's threats to reveal her tax evasion to the authorities. With nothing else to occupy him, he turns detective to identify the extortionist. Though the plot details won't linger as long as those in Dick Francis's best work, like Whip Hand, this is still a suspenseful read. Francis aficionados will hope that Felix chooses to carry on the family tradition on his own. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Francis, a former steeplechase jockey and author of more than 40 best sellers before his death in February 2010, teamed up with his son Felix to coauthor three mysteries: Dead Heat, Silks, and Even Money. Their fourth and final collaboration does not disappoint. After losing a foot from an IED (improvised explosive device) in Afghanistan, Capt. Tom Forsyth is told he will no longer be able to serve in active combat. When he leaves the rehab hospital, he realizes he has nowhere to go except home to his race horse trainer Mom and stepfather, a home he happily left behind when he turned 17. Now Tom finds that his mother has been persuaded to spend all of her savings on a hedge fund that went south; in addition, she is being blackmailed for a large sum each month. Apprehending the blackmailers gives Forsyth a new reason to live.Verdict Tom's a typical brave, witty, and charming Francis protagonist. Here's hoping Felix will continue the family literary tradition. Highly recommended.—Patsy Gray, Huntsville, AL
Kirkus Reviews

The late Dick Francis's 44th, and last, canter around the track echoes several of his greatest hits.

Capt. Tom Forsyth has returned from service in Afghanistan without his right foot. Since the Army's been his only home for half a lifetime, he has nowhere to retreat but the home of his thrice-married mother, the doyenne of British racehorse trainers. Tom's rocky reunion with Josephine (née Jane) Kauri is rendered even more difficult by his suspicion that her charges' recent string of high-profile losses is more than bad luck, and his discovery that she's being blackmailed by someone who's bleeding her white even as he's forcing her to sabotage her horses, landing her in even deeper legal troubles than the ones that first made her vulnerable to extortion. With no hope of calling on the police, Tom relies on his knowledge of military tactics to force the blackmailer to show his hand. Not surprisingly, his aggressive moves against the unknown enemy quickly get him noticed and neutralized. Even after he escapes his kidnapper, he'll have his hands full picking him from a field of likely-looking prospects.

Tom's missing leg echoes ex-jockey Sid Halley's damaged hand (Under Orders, 2006, etc.), and his captivity recalls Rob Finn's ordeal in Nerve (1964). Do these signs of the Francis formula—loner hero, dysfunctional family, oversexed female, physical torture and, of course, horseracing—mean that his son Felix, who's partnered with him in his last four outings, will carry on the beloved franchise alone?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307877345
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/17/2010
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

Dick Francis

Dick Francis was one of the most successful postwar steeplechase jockeys, winning more than 350 races and riding for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. After his retirement from the saddle, he published an autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write more than forty acclaimed books, including the New York Times bestsellers Even Money and Silks. A three-time Edgar Award winner, he also received the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger, was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2000. He died in February 2010, at age eighty-nine, and remains among the greatest thriller writers of all time.

Felix Francis is the younger of Dick Francis’s two sons. Over the last forty years Felix has assisted with the research of many of the Dick Francis novels, not least Twice Shy, Shattered, and Under Orders. Since 2006, Felix has taken a more significant role in the writing, first with Dead Heat and then increasingly with the bestsellers, Silks and Even Money. Crossfire is the fourth novel of this father-and-son collaboration. Felix Francis lives in England.

Biography

Dick Francis was born in Lawrenny, South Wales in 1920. He served in the Royal Air Force for six years during World War II, piloting fighter and bomber aircraft including the Spitfire and Lancaster between 1943 and 1946.

Following the war, Francis, the son of a jockey, became a celebrity in the world of British National Hunt racing. He won more than 350 races, was Champion Jockey in 1953-1954, and was retained as jockey to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother for four seasons, 1953 through 1957. Francis rode eight times in the world famous Grand National Steeplechase, and nearly won in 1956 when his horse, the Queen Mother's Devon Loch, a few strides away from victory with a clear field, suddenly collapsed. This incident, which Francis calls "both the high point and low point of my career as a jockey," was the impetus for him to begin a second career as a writer. Shortly after the incident, a literary agent approached Francis about writing an autobiography.

In 1957, Francis suffered another serious fall and was advised to retire from race riding. He completed his autobiography, The Sport of Queens, which was published later that year, and accepted an invitation to write six features for the London Sunday Express. He stayed on as the newspaper's racing correspondent for 16 years.

Sports writing soon led to fiction writing, which in turn led to a string of bestselling novels. His first, Dead Cert, was published in 1962. His 36th novel, 10 Lb. Penalty, was published in the U. S. by G. P. Putnam's Sons in September 1997. In addition to his novels and autobiography, Francis has also published a biography of Lester Piggott, A Jockey's Life, and eight short stories. He has edited (with John Welcome) four collections of racing stories, and has contributed to anthologies and periodicals.

Francis's books have been bestsellers in a number of countries, and have been translated into more than 30 languages, including all European languages, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Bantu, and several dialects of Chinese. Each of his novels has also been recorded on audio in both Britain and the United States.

Francis was made an Officer of the most noble Order of the British Empire in 1984, and was awarded the British Crime Writers Association silver dagger in 1965, gold dagger in 1980 and Cartier diamond dagger for his life's work in 1990. The recipient of three Edgar Allen Poe Awards for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, most recently for 1995's Come to Grief, Francis is the only person to have been awarded the prestigious award more than once. The Mystery Writers of America named Francis Grand Master for his life's work in 1996, and he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Tufts University in 1991.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Sir Richard Stanley Francis (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 31, 1920
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tenby, Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales
    1. Date of Death:
      February 14, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 85 )
Rating Distribution

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(38)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 86 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    terrific character driven suspense thriller

    After losing his foot in an Afghan fire fight, Captain Tom Forsythe has returned to the States to recover and learn to use his prosthesis. With no place to go, he returns to his mother's Kauri Horse Stables in Berkshire, England. At seventeen, tired of the fights with his stepfather, he left to go to war. Now he learns his family is concealing something from him.

    He soon learns someone is blackmailing his mother to the tune of 2000 pounds a week and they also lost a fortune in a sham hedge fund recommended by their accountant Roderick Ward who was found drowned; officially ruled an accident. What hurts Tom's mom the most is that her extortionist is forcing her to make sure her horses lose races. Tom investigates, but is kidnapped and left hanging in an abandoned warehouse. He escapes, vowing to take down the killers and others involved in harming him and his mom.

    This father and son team has proven to be as successful writing entertaining mystery readers as Dick Francis did when he rode solo (with his late wife as his researcher). The story line is driven by the hero who lost a limb in the Afghan war, but though depressed refuses to allow his trauma from helping his mom out of her predicament. With homage to Dick Francis who goes out a winner as he passed away a few months ago, Crossfire is a terrific character driven suspense thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2010

    Vintage Francis!

    I got this book one day, and had it finished by the next. I truly enjoyed it, and it was similar in style and quality to the other Francis novels. Unlike other mysteries I own, I read the Francis ones over and over again as I enjoy them so much. I highly recommend this novel to those who are mystery lovers.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2011

    Best Author

    Dick Francis and Lee Child are the only authors that I would buy in hard back as soon as it came out without even reading what it was about. I have not only read every one of his books, I have owned them. If you have never read a Dick Francis book, I highly recommend them. This is not the best of his books but it is still very good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

    horrible

    I wish I could say this is a good book but it is so awful compared to all Dick Francis's earlier books that I would highly recommend not buying it. If you feel compelled to read it go to the library and save yourself the money. It is not a keeper if you are a dyed-in-the-wool Dick Francis fan like I am.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Thoroughly enjoyed it!

    Felix has apparently taken after his father, Dick Francis, in all the best ways. A really good, fast read. I'll be getting more of his.

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  • Posted January 29, 2012

    excellent reading!

    Another great book by the authors. Enjoyed it very much and highly recommend.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

    Francis never lets you down.

    A well researched thoroughly enjoyabe read. I couldn't put it down.

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  • Posted December 20, 2010

    Not the best

    There are flashes of Dick Francis in this book but they are few. As one other reviewer said, the scene with Tom hanging in a stable is from a previous book. Very disappointing. this book is kong on personal and physical suffering and short on horses, races, and plot.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    Perhaps The Last Dick Francis

    I have loved Dick Francis since my grandmother gave me a copy of Reflex back in the early eighties. He is the only author who's books I have re-read in any significant number. Fortunately, he is back for Crossfire. Unfortunately, this reads like a copy of Smokescreen. I enjoyed this much better than Silks, but not as much as Dead Heat. With a body of work like Francis' that balances a steady formula with individual elements, it's important that those elements are engaging enough to carry the rest, and the transplanted, sullen military lead here does not have the emotional depth or connection to other characters to really carry this one off. Elements like the prosthesis and entrapment have already appeared elsewhere and are not significantly fresh here. This is not to say that there is no redeeming quality to the book, nor that fans will not enjoy the ride as I did, but you can tell that the ride is middle-of-the-pack and faltering down the stretch rather than vital with everything it needs to win, or at least require a photo at the finish. If you haven't read the great ones already, choose any of the following to make you a Francis convert: Break In & Bolt, Odds Against, Whip Hand, Come To Grief, Proof or In The Frame.

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