Even Money

( 41 )

Overview

"On the first day of Royal Ascot, the world's most famous horseracing meet, the crowd rejoices in a string of winning favorites. Ned Talbot has worked all his life as a bookmaker - taking over the family business from his grandfather - so he knows not to expect any sympathy from the punters as they count their winnings, and he his losses. He's seen the ups and downs before, but as the big gambling conglomerates muscle in on small concerns like his, Ned wonders if it's worth it anymore." When a gray-haired man steps forward from the crowd claiming ...

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Even Money

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Overview

"On the first day of Royal Ascot, the world's most famous horseracing meet, the crowd rejoices in a string of winning favorites. Ned Talbot has worked all his life as a bookmaker - taking over the family business from his grandfather - so he knows not to expect any sympathy from the punters as they count their winnings, and he his losses. He's seen the ups and downs before, but as the big gambling conglomerates muscle in on small concerns like his, Ned wonders if it's worth it anymore." When a gray-haired man steps forward from the crowd claiming to be his father, Ned's life is thrown into far deeper turmoil. He'd been told that both his parents had died in a car crash when he was a baby. Barely an hour later, his newly Found father is fatally stabbed by an unknown assailant in the Ascot parking lot. Blood oozing from his abdomen, his father warns Ned to "be very careful." But of whom? Of what? Ned finds himself in a race to solve his father's riddles, a race where coming second could cost him more than even money: it could cost him his life.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It's the first day of the grand Royal Ascot race, but Ned Talbot is hardly in a festive mood. This aging legal bookmaker has a lot of things on his mind: most painfully, his dwindling finances. With his earnings already depleted by big gambling conglomerates, he now faces the likelihood of another bettors' favorite winning and sucking up the loot. All Ned's woes slip to oblivion, however, when a man walks out of nowhere and identifies himself as his father, who supposedly died when Ned was an infant. In a moment, though, that changes too, as the man is knifed by an unknown assailant and can only mutter a few cryptic words before he lapses into unconsciousness. Suddenly, everything is at stake, racing quickly toward an unpredictable end.
Publishers Weekly
The third collaboration between bestseller Francis and son Felix (after Silks), a taut crime thriller, features an especially sympathetic hero. Bookmaker Ed Talbot is struggling with his wife's mental illness, even as technology threatens to give the big bookmaking outfits an insurmountable advantage over his small family business. Soon after a man shows up at Ascot and identifies himself as Ed's father, Peter, whom Ed believed long dead, a thug demanding money stabs Peter to death. Ed is in for even more shocks when he learns his father was the prime suspect in his mother's murder—and that Peter's killing, rather than a random act of violence, may be linked to a mysterious electronic device used in some horse-racing fraud. Ed must juggle his amateur investigations into past and present crimes with his demanding family responsibilities. Though some readers may find the ending overly pat, the authors make bookmaking intelligible while easily integrating it into the plot. (Aug.)
New York Times Book Review
Ever since he started writing with his son Felix, Dick Francis seems to have found fresh inspiration at the racetrack.
—Marilyn Stasio
People Magazine
With wit and an expert's understanding of both horses and homicide, the Francises will keep you riveted!
Kirkus Reviews
The father-and-son Francis team (Silks, 2008, etc.) turn their attention to the most reviled members of the horse-racing fraternity: on-site bookmakers. "My clients were never my friends," wryly observes Ned Talbot. Of course they aren't, since in the zero-sum game of bookmaking, Ned's earnings depend on their losses. Now someone is changing the rules of that game. Luca Mandini, Ned's assistant, reports that Internet and mobile-phone connections have gone down all over Ascot during crucial minutes when bookmakers have tried to lay off bets against favorites in order to reduce the money they'll have to pay out. More urgently, a stranger who identifies himself as Ned's father-a man his grandparents told him was killed in a car crash 36 years ago-is killed for good, stabbed to death in front of Ned's eyes an hour after they meet. Peter Talbot leaves his newfound son a disturbing legacy. A rucksack Ned recovers from his father's hotel room is hotly pursued by several unsavory and violent characters. Peter's return from Australia reopens painful questions about the death of his wife-questions whose answers are locked in the Alzheimer's-stricken brain of Ned's aged Nanna. Ned worries that telling his wife Sophia about these latest developments may produce a crisis in her bipolar disorder and condemn her to endless incarceration in the hospital. Meanwhile, a major bookmaker backed by a pair of bullyboys is bent on driving Ned out of business. A blissfully satisfying blend of suspense, revenge and horse-racing info in a multilayered mystery that's presumably Felix Francis's distinctive contribution to his father's legendary series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594256007
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.50 (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.

Felix Francis (pictured with his father, Dick Francis), a graduate of London University, spent seventeen years teaching A-level physics before taking on an active role in his father’s career. He has assisted with the research of many of the Dick Francis novels, including Shattered, Under Orders, and Twice Shy, which drew on Felix’s experiences as a physics teacher and as an international marksman. He is coauthor with his father of the New York Times bestsellers Dead Heat, Silks, and Even Money. He 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 3.5
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not the Dick Francis I know and Love

    I have read every Dick Francis novel and even preordered Even Money because I was so excited to see that a new book was being released. However, within the first few pages I could tell that Dick Francis probably did not contribute much to this book. One of the great aspects of a Dick Francis novel is that you get to know and care about the main character very quickly (for example Sid Halley). The stories were always exciting and pulled you in. When Silks was released I was excited to see that Felix Francis was writing with his father. I thought that the Francis style would continue on. But that does not seem to be the case. Even Money seems to drag along at a very slow pace and is laden with details about horse betting that do not advance the story. Also, even though Dick Francis novels are centered around horse tracks in Britain, there is much more vernacular in this book than any of the other books. So I am very disappointed; I miss the Dick Francis style that I have come to love.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Dick and Felix Francis once again affirm that a father-son writing team can provide quality mysteries

    The first day of the Royal Ascot horse races gala was like any other opening at the prestigious event and Ted Talbot, his co-worker Luca, and their assistant Betsy are taking book from the punters. Out of the crowd comes an elderly man demanding to speak with Ted. He insists that he is Peter James Talbot, Ted's father. This is a shocker as Ted was raised by his paternal grandparents who claimed his parents died in a car crash.

    Peter informs his still stunned son that he has two half-sisters living in Australia, but before they can get into a car, two thugs demand the older Talbot hand over the money. During the subsequent brawl, James is injured and rushed to the hospital where he dies. Ted goes to his dad's hotel room and finds proof that his father was involved in an illegal activity. The thugs still demand their loot and the code used on chips that are imprinted and then inserted into the horses. Ted's life is in jeopardy but he also wants justice for his father and the insurance these punks will not go after him or his loved ones in the future. He ignores the cops because the lead police officer investigating his father's death assumes he is guilty of something.

    Dick and Felix Francis once again affirm that a father-son writing team can provide quality mysteries. Readers are caught up in British horse racing (a trademark of father) and the shenanigans that occur away from the track including some instigated by Ted. Still he receives plenty of empathy as criminals are coming after him as the likely recipient of his father's legacy, he has a mentally ill wife institutionalized, and a co-worker wanting to be his partner in the family business. With plenty of thrills, chills, and spills EVEN MONEY is a sure bet.

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    Interesting point of view

    I was surprised by some of the negative reviews. I actually really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The handling of mental illness was done well and the characters were likeable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Another winner from Dick Francis

    Ned Talbot runs his grandfather's bookmaking (as in gambling) business with a young computer expert named Luca. Life is going by day after day until a stranger introduces himself to Ned at the Ascot races. From there, Ned discovers far more than he ever planned and uncovers secrets from both the present and the distant past.

    This mystery is more like three mysteries in one, all with Ned as the critical component. Ned is such an interesting character and has a lot of depth. He deals with real issues concerning his family, his past, and his business. And it all comes together at the end in a complex ending that will have you turning the last 70 pages and not putting it down.

    I admit that I'm a huge fan of Dick Francis, and if you like his books you'll find another winner here. I was not disappointed with this one, and read it straight through. A thoroughly enjoyable mystery/thriller.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2010

    Another winner!

    I am so glad Mr. Francis is back to writing. You can tell his son is assisting with the writing; it's not quite the same but it is VERY close to the original Dick Francis style. What I think is different, and not quite as good, is the depth of the plot. But it is a great mystery, thrilling and minus the stupid blood/gore of some mysteries. I look forward to more from the Francis's.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

    Even Money

    Worst book Dick Frances has ever written, if he actually wrote this.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 21, 2009

    What are the odds?

    Once again Dick Francis takes us behind the scenes and shows us the world of the bookmakers plying their trade at the race track. How the odds are set and then reset based upon the amount of bets placed before each race. The gamemanship between the on tract bookies and the large off track betting houses to assure that they always end up after each race paying out less then they take in. To complicate our bookmaker's life, he is confronte by his father who was supposedly been long dead, only to have him murdered a few hours later. Now our bookie must find his father's killer while he keeps hie eye on the odds. Great relaxing read for a day at the beach or curled up in fromt of a fire on a cold night.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great Book!!!!!

    As usual Dick & Felix Francis have teamed up for a great book. It is exciting and you like the characters. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a great murder mystery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    I have read every Dick Francis book

    but this one falls a bit short. Too much slogging through the technicalities of what a bookmaker's life is like to get to the plot and the mystery. I was disappointed because I just wanted to have a good read that took me away like the Dick Francis of old but this was more of a how to be a bookmaker mixed in with a plot that could have been expanded and thus more interesting to the reader.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    Excellent.

    I have read just about all of Dick Francis' books. This was vintage Francis. There is always some connection to horses, and he always takes pains to educate the reader so the reader will understand the various problems the characters are going through. The characters are likable, believable, and the reader is always left wanting more. I would geartily reccommend this book to anyone, especially fans of Dick and Felix Francis.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Ok, not the best

    Read above.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Good book

    This was a good book. I would recommend it to others and will read/listen to books by the Francis' again.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Not the best Dick Francis entry.

    Really not a very intersting book. There are lots better Dick Francis books than this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Even Money

    This is a good book! However, as with all of Dick Francis' books, it is hard to get into. Once you get into it, it takes off and has a life of it's own.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 24, 2011

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    Posted March 20, 2011

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    Posted January 22, 2011

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    Posted January 23, 2010

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    Posted June 19, 2011

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    Posted January 2, 2013

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