"Julian Trent, you have been found guilty by this court of perpetrating a violent and unprovoked attack on an innocent family including a charge of attempted murder. You have shown little or no remorse for your actions and I consider you a danger to society."
When defence barrister Geoffrey Mason hears the judge's verdict, he quietly hopes that a long and arduous custodial sentence will be handed down to his arrogant young client. That Julian Trent only receives eight years seems all too lenient. Little does Mason expect that he'll be looking Trent in the eyes again much sooner than he'd ever imagined.
Setting aside his barrister's wig, Mason heads to Sandown to don his racing silks. An amateur jockey, his true passion is to be found in the saddle on a Thoroughbred, pounding the turf in the heat of a steeplechase. But when a fellow rider is brutally murdered - a pitchfork driven through his chest - Mason's racing life soon becomes all too close to his working life. The prime suspect is one of their brethren, champion jockey Steve Mitchell; the evidence is overwhelming.
Mason is reluctant to heed Mitchell's pleas for legal advice - but soon he finds himself at the centre of a sinister web of threat and intimidation. Mason is left fighting a battle of right and wrong, and more immediately, a battle of life and death... his own.
After collaborating on Dead Heat (2007), bestseller Francis and his son, Felix, deliver another gripping thriller with a thoroughbred racing backdrop. Soon after London barrister Geoffrey Mason, an amateur jockey by avocation, starts receiving a series of threatening messages from a former client, Julian Trent, whose conviction for assault was overturned on appeal, Mason reluctantly accepts the defense of a jockey, Steve Mitchell, accused of the pitch-fork murder of fellow rider Scot Barlow at a steeplechase event. Mitchell and Barlow had fallen out over Barlow's sister, a vet and Mitchell's former girlfriend, who took her own life just a short while before. When unknown parties order Mason to lose the case, he must balance his professional ethics and his sense of self-preservation. The solid writing and engaging lead will carry readers along at a brisk pace, though some may find the dramatic courtroom revelation of the murderer overly theatrical.