Driving Force

( 16 )

Overview

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.

The New York Times bestseller. Transporting racehorses is big business for ex-jockey Freddie Croft. But when one of his drivers breaks a cardinal rule--never pick up a hitchhiker--the results are fatal. Now ...

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Overview

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.

The New York Times bestseller. Transporting racehorses is big business for ex-jockey Freddie Croft. But when one of his drivers breaks a cardinal rule--never pick up a hitchhiker--the results are fatal. Now strange nighttime stalkers and unseen conspirators are weaving a web of deceit and danger that Freddie might never escape.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Francis's first-rate thriller about the British horse-racing scene--a 10-week PW bestseller--portrays a former steeplechase jockey who learns that his horse transportation firm is implicated in a drug smuggling operation. Feb.
School Library Journal
YA-- From the first paragraph, the action grabs readers and plunges ahead like one of the thoroughbreds that is such valuable secondary characters in every Francis novel. As usual, a particular aspect of the British racing industry is carefully profiled, in this case the job of transporting horses. Former jockey Freddie Croft is the owner of just such a business, and must confront the discovery that his vans have been used for some very unusual smuggling. Freddie discovers two separate plots to victimize race horses through disease; along the way a bit of romance begins to enrich his life, a trusted employee is murdered, computer files are wiped out, and a malicious villain destroys Freddie's home with an ax. Clues abound, with those needed to solve the mystery satisfyingly mixed in with enough red herrings to keep readers happily guessing. Additional plot enrichment is provided by weaving in the latest in computer technology and epidemiology. A dependable writer will satisfy his YA fans once again.-- Carolyn E. Gecan, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Robert Seid
Dick Francis races to new heights with another retired jump-jockey sleuth, thirtysomething Freddie Croft, owner-operator of a fleet of vans, called Driving Force, that tote thoroughbreds all over Britain to training stables, racing meets, and stud farms. When a hitchhiker dies in one of his vans (strictly against house rules to pick up riders), and when his cockney-speaking mechanic finds small containers concealed under several of the vans, our hero fears drug smuggling. With the help of some well-coordinated action and the usual Francis mix of characters--the whining driver about to be sacked, the supercilious country doctor, various despotic owners and trainers, the tough but refined woman investigator helping to crack the case--the pace accelerates through the clubhouse turn and into the home stretch. One of the best Francis novels in years, "Driving Force" combines an airtight plot, plenty of racing ambience, and some thoughtful reflections on animal rights, immunology, and the work ethic. Francis fans have a treat in store for them.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425233184
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 529,038
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dick Francis

Dick Francis (pictured with his son Felix Francis) was born in South Wales in 1920. He was a young rider of distinction winning awards and trophies at horse shows throughout the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of World War II he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot, flying fighter and bomber aircraft including the Spitfire and Lancaster.

He became 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 in 1957, 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.

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 4.5
( 16 )
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(9)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 19, 2012

    Another Pleasurable Dick Francis Read

    This follows the Francis Formula. Single male protagonist involved in the British racing industry tries to find the miscreant and gets beat up along the way. Minor love interest surfaces along the way. Yet another story revolving around the Montague / Capulet theme. I think I've now read seven Francis books, and in all, the first person narrator of the story could well be the same person, albeit with different areas of expertise. In this one, he is a jump jockey. All the protagonists are calm, keenly observant, and smarter than you would expect. None of this is bad. You know what you are getting - about 260 pages of good reading. And you usually learn something along the way based on the narrator's specialty, whether he is a jockey, a trainer, a horse transporter, a writer, a wine merchant, a restaurant owner, or a diplomat. I'll be reading more of his work.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2012

    High Recommended - you must check it out!

    Dick Francis, once again, proves why he can write as others only seek to emulate. He presents a clear and understandable mystery to all lovers of horse racing. An absolute must read for any Dick Francis fan!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Horse transport is a smuggler's dream

    The owner of a horse transport company discovers that some canisters have been hidden under his trailers. But what have they been smuggling? And which of his drivers is doing it? I liked this mystery, but it wasn't as tense as some of the others from Dick Francis. As usual, it is his ability to produce an array of interesting characters that makes it a page-turner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2000

    ITs just the best!!

    This book was fantasmic.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    Another enjoyable ride with Dick Francis

    Another enjoyable ride with Dick Francis

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