One of the youngest winners of the Grand National, Nick “Foxy” Foxton suffered a near-fatal injury that cut short his career. Years later, he’s out for a day at the Grand National races when his colleague, Herb Kovack, is shot at point-blank range right in front of him. Like the police, Nick is baffled: Why would anyone kill such an apparently gentle soul?
Then Nick finds a threatening note in the dead man’s coat, and he begins to doubt how well he really knew his friend. And on discovering that Herb named him beneficiary in his will, Nick wonders why he’s been entrusted with the legacy. Is this a generous gift from a friend, or is it, in fact, a poisoned chalice?
Francis, having coauthored four horse-racing thrillers (Crossfire, etc.) with dad Dick Francis (1920 2010), proves himself more than capable of carrying on the family legacy alone. Shortly before the start of the Grand National, "one of the world's greatest sporting events," Nicholas Foxton, a financial adviser and former jockey, is standing next to Herb Kovak, who works for the same London financial services firm, when a gunman executes Kovak and escapes into the crowd of spectators. The police, who cancel the race, are irked that Foxton can't meaningfully describe the assassin. Later, Foxton finds a threatening note in the pocket of Kovak's coat that may provide a clue to the crime's motive. Foxton, who retired from the turf after breaking his neck in a race, can't resist playing detective, especially after he discovers that Kovak designated him as executor of his estate. While the ending will strike many readers as predictable, Francis shares his father's gift for brisk storytelling and for creating a sympathetic, wounded, but determined hero.
Is Felix as good as Dick?
I enjoyed this book. But before buying, you are probably wondering if Felix Francis is as good as Dick Francis. The answer is "almost."
There were a few places where the hero gave too much information to those around him. It is something that Dick's characters seldom did. Beyond that slight hiccup, I found the style and plot to be almost identical in the writings of father and son.
Okay....Not great. Not a lot of depth.
Too far from the old Francis, style is flat as are the characters, If it stays like this it is not worth the money