Come to Grief (Sid Halley Series #3)

Come to Grief (Sid Halley Series #3)

by Dick Francis
4.0 10

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4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
EPClark 19 days ago
After an almost 20-year hiatus, Dick Francis returns to his favorite character Sid Halley in "Come to Grief." Like the other Sid Halley stories, this one is dark and edgy even for a Dick Francis book, and like the other novels from the early 1990s, it features a particularly sadistic and disturbed villain. This time Sid Halley is called into action to find out who has been mutilating ponies and yearlings (like I said, sadistic and disturbed). The answer plunges Sid into some deep soul-searching, as he recognizes his affinity for the villain, and once again has to face his worst fear, which is the loss of his one good hand. "Come to Grief" is not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it is, in my opinion, one of Francis's stronger works. Throughout his career he vacillated between providing light escapist entertainment and powerful meditations on the human condition, particularly the effects of pain and fear, of which he is the consummate master. With most authors I have the impression (perhaps unfair) that they have never really experienced true pain and fear, and can only describe it through cliches or improbably over-the-top events. Francis, however, knew, or at least knew exactly how to describe, just how terrible and debilitating even moderate amounts of pain and fear can be, and the agony and triumph of overcoming even small, personal hurdles. None of the bad guys in "Come to Grief" are trying to take over the world--although one thinks he is--and in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter whether Sid succeeds or fails, any more than it matters in the grand scheme of things whether the child cancer patient whom Sid is trying to help is cured or not, but for the characters it is literally a matter of life and death, and Francis places the reader squarely in their heads and causes the reader to care just as much as they do. His artist characters--in "Smokescreen," "In the Frame," and "To the Hilt," for example--struggle with the uneasy tension between their impulse to take the easy route and provide light entertainment, and the tendency for deeper things to come out of their art against their will, and one can't help but suspect that the same was true for Francis himself. In "Come to Grief" the darkness and depth definitely predominates, making it a more emotionally challenging read (the plot and language are as engaging as ever) than some of his other works, but also proving why Francis was more than just a mercenary purveyor of cheap thrills, and had at least one foot in the world of Literature with a Capital L.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SID HALLEY IS LIKE AN OLD FRIEND TO ME. I TOO MISS DICK FRANCIS GREATLY BUT FELIX DID A GOOD JOB CONTINUING SID'S STORY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree that Felix is not the writer his father is, but he is stll better than many other mystery writers today. It is just that Dick was one of a kind. He had a very distinct and clear style. The only critisim I have ever heard oh him was that his heroes were all interchangable. But that was not a weakness in my eyes, it was a strength.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love everything by Dick Francis. NOT the stuff with his son Felix, you can tell that Dick wasn't in control by then. I miss him very much. wish he were still with us and writing.
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bluegoose More than 1 year ago
I don't know why the reviewer on June 05, 2005 thought this novel was "too close to home." It makes me wonder if the reviewer had personal experience (as a victim) with the type of crime in Come to Grief. Even though I am a fan of Dick Francis, this was a tough read for me because of the violence and evil perpetrated by the criminal on animals. I gave the plot 4 stars because it is not for the squeamish. That being said, it was an excellent book full of the taut suspense, solid characterizations, and pacing that make all Dick Francis books great. It is important to know that the Mystery Writers of America gave this book the Edgar Award for Best Novel of 1996. Do not let one poor review turn you away from Dick Francis books. If you're not sure if you can handle the plot, try reading the synopsis on the dust jacket (or back) of the books. For those who haven't read Dick Francis' novels yet, I recommend starting with Dead Cert. It's a brilliant book as are all the others he wrote. Mr. Francis passed away in February 2010. The last novel he wrote (in collaboration with his son, Felix Francis)is titled Crossfire and will be available August 17, 2010.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I always used to love the Dick Francis books until this one. This one is too close to home for my liking, which is a great shame, as before this book I had seen Dick Francis through rose coloured glassed, and I hated having those glasses removed from me.