Felix Francis is back with another edge-of-your-seat thriller, in the classic Dick Francis tradition.
Undercover investigator Jeff Hinkley is assigned by the British Horseracing Authority to look into the activities of a suspicious racehorse trainer, but as he’s tailing his quarry through the Cheltenham Racing Festival, the last thing he expects to witness is a gruesome murder. Could it have something to do with the reason the trainer was banned in the first place—the administration of illegal drugs to his horses?
Then many more horses test positive for prohibited stimulants, and someone starts making demands, threatening to completely destroy the integrity of the racing industry. In order to limit the damage to the sport, it’s critical that Jeff find the perpetrator . . . but he’ll soon learn he’s up against someone who will stop at nothing to prevail.
Francis's fourth solo outing (after 2013's Dick Francis's Refusal) ranks with the best of his late father's thrillers set in the British horse racing world. At the Cheltenham Racetrack in Gloucestershire, Jeff Hinkley, an investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, spots ex-trainer Matthew Unwin, who's been barred from the track for horse doping. Unwin approaches a bookie and, without warning, slashes the man's throat. The murder is open-and-shut, though Unwin's motive is unclear. Meanwhile, an extortionist, who calls himself Leonardo, reveals that he was responsible for drugging almost all the horses who raced in the Gold Cup, and demands 5 million in exchange for not destroying the integrity of the sport. Jeff takes on the job of stopping Leonardo, but he must also deal with a family illness and a narcotics charge against his sister's stepson. The compelling main storyline deserves high marks for originality no mean feat given the almost 50 novels the author's father wrote.
Dick Francis wrote books that were entertaining, thrilling and ultimately uplifting. I want to like the books written by Felix, but find the pace to be tiresome and some elements like from a soap- opera .
Very pedestrian effort, not worthy of the Francis name. Meaningless meandering sub plots and weak main plot. Took me forever to wade thru it.