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
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.)
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
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?