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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
Tragedy at Cheltenham
In the early years of the 1900s there was a writer named John Buchan who pretty much defined what thriller fiction would be for the next 100 years. While Buchan is best known for such pursuit novels as the brilliant The Thirty-Nine Steps, which Hitchcock turned into a filmic masterpiece, he also created (or refined) at least three other well-known fictional forms.
Now the inestimable Dick Francis has taken a basic Buchan form and put his own heady spin on it all these years later.
I call it "The Wrong Man": The villains thinks the Wrong Man (our hero) knows or has something that they desperately need. So they chase him. Only he doesn't know/have what they want. So, while on the run -- there is usually a reason he can't go to the police -- he a) has to survive and b) find out why he's being chased.
Francis takes "The Wrong Man" and shows us how it should be done at the dawn of a new century. Shattered is as sleek, stylish, and winsome a book as Francis has ever written.
Famed glassblower (you know how much Francis favors arcane occupations for his protagonists) Gerard Logan is being pursued by some suspicious people after his friend, jockey Martin Stukley is killed in a horse racing accident.
But what is this videotape the apparent villains want? What's on it? Where is it? Why do they think he has it? Was Martin knowingly mixed up in all this?
I literally read this book in one three-hour sitting. It was exciting all the way through. Dick Francis is in a class of his own in the way he approaches the thriller, and his readers are all the better for it.
Ed Gorman's latest novels include Wake Up Little Susie, Harlot's Moon, and Black River Falls, the latter of which "proves Gorman's mastery of the pure suspense novel," says Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. ABC-TV has optioned the novel as a movie. Gorman is also the editor of Mystery Scene magazine, which Stephen King calls "indispensable" for mystery readers.