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Bloodline: By Dick Francis & Felix Francis (Unabridged Audiobook 8cds)

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When Mark Shillingford commentates on a race in which his twin sister Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in third, he can't help but be suspicious. As a professional race-caller, he knows she should have won. Did she lose on purpose? Was the race fixed? Why on earth would she do something so out of character? That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspi When Mark Shillingford commentates on a race in which his twin sister Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in third, he can't help but be suspicious. As a professional race-caller, he knows she should have won. Did she lose on purpose? Was the race fixed? Why on earth would she do something so out of character? That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspicions, but she storms off after an explosive argument. It's the last time Mark sees her alive. Hours later, Clare jumps to her death from the balcony of a London hotel ... or so it seems. Devastated by her death, and almost overcome with guilt, Mark goes in search of answers. What led Clare to take her own life? Or was it not suicide at all...? Packed with all the hair-raising suspense and excitement listeners know and love from Dick Francis, Bloodline cements Felix Francis's reputation as a master of thriller-writing.


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When Mark Shillingford commentates on a race in which his twin sister Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in third, he can't help but be suspicious. As a professional race-caller, he knows she should have won. Did she lose on purpose? Was the race fixed? Why on earth would she do something so out of character? That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspi When Mark Shillingford commentates on a race in which his twin sister Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in third, he can't help but be suspicious. As a professional race-caller, he knows she should have won. Did she lose on purpose? Was the race fixed? Why on earth would she do something so out of character? That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspicions, but she storms off after an explosive argument. It's the last time Mark sees her alive. Hours later, Clare jumps to her death from the balcony of a London hotel ... or so it seems. Devastated by her death, and almost overcome with guilt, Mark goes in search of answers. What led Clare to take her own life? Or was it not suicide at all...? Packed with all the hair-raising suspense and excitement listeners know and love from Dick Francis, Bloodline cements Felix Francis's reputation as a master of thriller-writing.

30 review for Bloodline: By Dick Francis & Felix Francis (Unabridged Audiobook 8cds)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    I had no idea what to expect from this new to me author and I was very pleasantly surprised. This turned out to be a fairly light but certainly interesting mystery set in the world of horse racing. I enjoyed the story even though some of the deaths were a little improbable, and I did not even come close to guessing whodunnit. However since the main character and erstwhile amateur detective did not guess either I did not feel too bad. Overall a pleasant way to spend a few rainy hours and I would b I had no idea what to expect from this new to me author and I was very pleasantly surprised. This turned out to be a fairly light but certainly interesting mystery set in the world of horse racing. I enjoyed the story even though some of the deaths were a little improbable, and I did not even come close to guessing whodunnit. However since the main character and erstwhile amateur detective did not guess either I did not feel too bad. Overall a pleasant way to spend a few rainy hours and I would be quite comfortable reading more by this author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Bloodline is a fast-paced mystery with a plausible plot and easy-to-relate-to characters. Definitely a novel worth reading. :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor Jones

    I expected to like this book. I didn't expect to actually love it and say "Wow" on the last page. But that's what happened. For starters, Dick Francis fans should not be disappointed. This book has all the elements that made Dick Francis such an enjoyable writer--the suspense, the likeable characters, the thorough research that teaches you more than you can imagine about the protagonist's career...and more. But this writer has a wit and a style all his own that is both fresh and enjoyable. I got I expected to like this book. I didn't expect to actually love it and say "Wow" on the last page. But that's what happened. For starters, Dick Francis fans should not be disappointed. This book has all the elements that made Dick Francis such an enjoyable writer--the suspense, the likeable characters, the thorough research that teaches you more than you can imagine about the protagonist's career...and more. But this writer has a wit and a style all his own that is both fresh and enjoyable. I got emotionally involved in this book to an extent I didn't expect. Not only is a marvelous plot with more twists and turns than a steeplechase racetrack, I had a few LOL moments that took me by surprise. I even held my breath a few times due to the suspense. A sad note is that the writer obviously has a deep understanding of grief, which comes out at various moments and makes this book both triumphant and poignant at the same time. Simply a genuinely enjoyable read and I can't wait for the next Felix Francis book. Kudos.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Text Addict

    A good solid mystery with the traditional Francis focus on the horse-racing industry - in this case, the narrator is a race-caller and TV commentator. The mystery of why Mark Shillingford's sister Clare died is well done, complete with the not-unusual crucial piece of missing information (can't tell you what, it would spoil the book). But I'll say the same thing I've said about Felix's other works: He isn't his father. There's nothing wrong with his writing, but to me it lacks the deep human empa A good solid mystery with the traditional Francis focus on the horse-racing industry - in this case, the narrator is a race-caller and TV commentator. The mystery of why Mark Shillingford's sister Clare died is well done, complete with the not-unusual crucial piece of missing information (can't tell you what, it would spoil the book). But I'll say the same thing I've said about Felix's other works: He isn't his father. There's nothing wrong with his writing, but to me it lacks the deep human empathy that Dick Francis's work expressed, especially in his later years. I think Felix actually tried harder in that department with this book, but he hasn't quite got it. It's one of those ineffable things about writing, that individual tone that some writers have that, quite possibly, no one else can duplicate. The book also struck me as recycling some concepts from the earlier Francis body of work: specifically twins, blackmail, adultery, and a character who thinks he's content but has actually stalled out in life. That's my impression, anyway. Frankly, you'd probably have to have read all the books at least three times, the way have, to think so - therefore, most readers won't even notice, I'm sure.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    So sad. Dick Francis was my favorite author, just someone you could rely on to churn out a great mystery once a year. His books were just enjoyable and you didn't want to put them down. His protagonists were always likable, everyday heroes. No matter their profession (and that was part of the formula; a Francis novel was always based around the hero's work so each novel you would learn about the life of a chemistry teacher, a jockey, a trainer, a painter, a precious gem dealer, etc), the charact So sad. Dick Francis was my favorite author, just someone you could rely on to churn out a great mystery once a year. His books were just enjoyable and you didn't want to put them down. His protagonists were always likable, everyday heroes. No matter their profession (and that was part of the formula; a Francis novel was always based around the hero's work so each novel you would learn about the life of a chemistry teacher, a jockey, a trainer, a painter, a precious gem dealer, etc), the character was always dashing and clever and always endured his beatings stoically until he had outwitted and outmaneuvered the villain in the end. You had the feeling that if you met these characters you would really enjoy their company. After Dick Francis passed away his son Felix Francis took over the franchise and started writing the books solo. Though the formula stayed the same (this one I learned about the profession of racecourse commentator), the thrill is gone. The protagonists have all the charm of a sweaty balding fellow the next cubicle over with food stains on his shirt. There's no hero here, there's just a very ordinary guy bumbling along and almost accidentally discovering who did it in the end.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Would I have read with a critical eye if the author was Dick Francis instead of Felix Francis? I'm not sure, but there definitely seemed to be a difference (if slight) in quality. All of the Dick Francis hallmarks are there: -a great hook: Mark, a racing commentator, realizes his twin sister Clare, a jockey, is purposely riding to lose, an illegal offense. Why? -a sibling relationship: Mark and Clare are twins -a profession related to racing: Mark is a racing commentator, so readers learn a bit a Would I have read with a critical eye if the author was Dick Francis instead of Felix Francis? I'm not sure, but there definitely seemed to be a difference (if slight) in quality. All of the Dick Francis hallmarks are there: -a great hook: Mark, a racing commentator, realizes his twin sister Clare, a jockey, is purposely riding to lose, an illegal offense. Why? -a sibling relationship: Mark and Clare are twins -a profession related to racing: Mark is a racing commentator, so readers learn a bit about live TV behind the scenes -the role of newspapers and reporters: as usual, one highbrow paper whose reporter has integrity, and one tabloid paper whose reporter is a rat -murder: or is it suicide? No, we're pretty sure it's murder. -amateur detective aided by police: in this case, Mark is pretty competent, and the police are pretty unhelpful -the bachelor protagonist: attractive to women, and naturally good in bed However, though I raced through it (no pun intended), it wasn't as clever or satisfying as some of the old ones, such as Hot Money, Decider, Banker, Twice Shy. In those, the women were stronger characters (and did less screaming. Can't they at least "exclaim"?), the reader learned more about whatever the main character's specialty was - betting systems, color photography, piloting a plane, veterinary science, whatever - and the twist/reveal was more spectacular, and yet there were seeds planted throughout. The culprit in Bloodline kind of comes out of nowhere. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. If you feel compelled to read British racetrack mysteries, you could certainly do worse.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    I read the book in one sitting. Enjoyed learning about the protagonist's career announcing races for games and media. The plot was fine. Where the book let me down was in secondary character development and some improbable physicality. For instance, nobody with broken ribs is capable of giving or receiving hugs a few days later. Slip-ups like that pulled me out of the narrative. The hero meets an eager, bright, beautiful woman at a family event and she throws herself at him despite his having no I read the book in one sitting. Enjoyed learning about the protagonist's career announcing races for games and media. The plot was fine. Where the book let me down was in secondary character development and some improbable physicality. For instance, nobody with broken ribs is capable of giving or receiving hugs a few days later. Slip-ups like that pulled me out of the narrative. The hero meets an eager, bright, beautiful woman at a family event and she throws herself at him despite his having no apparent status or interest in who she is, he doesn't even know what she does for a living for several days. Clearly he isn't paying full attention, and for some men that would be the case, but that seems unlike the hero. Possible but unlikely, felt more like the wish fulfillment of an author wanting his hero/avatar shagging like a James Bond. This means the hero wavered in and out of the boot-stap up world of racing featured in all the earlier books. In general I missed the athletic physicality of description that made the Dick Francis books more visceral. So my advice to the author is to get the details right (continuity and probability) and find a way to more deeply inhabit the spirit and body of your men and women!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    Found this on my shelves and thought it would make a good, distracting read for the moment. It did. I was a fan of Dick Francis's racetrack mysteries 20 years ago and this one is in the same vein. Dick Francis always had a likable, everyday main character who would figure out the mystery, figure out the bad guys and go on about his business, which would relate in some way to the racing world. This book follows the same basic formula, with Mark, a race track commentator investigating his twin si Found this on my shelves and thought it would make a good, distracting read for the moment. It did. I was a fan of Dick Francis's racetrack mysteries 20 years ago and this one is in the same vein. Dick Francis always had a likable, everyday main character who would figure out the mystery, figure out the bad guys and go on about his business, which would relate in some way to the racing world. This book follows the same basic formula, with Mark, a race track commentator investigating his twin sister's apparent suicide (she's a winning jockey). The secondary characters, specifically the girlfriends, don't seem very real or plausible though. But still, a good read, bit disappointing at the end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    In Bloodline, Felix Francis' latest horse racing mystery, Mark Shillingford, a television commentator at the track is horrified to learn that his twin sister Claire, a noted jockey, has apparently fallen to her death from the balcony of a hotel. The police rule it a suicide, but Shillingford is just not ready to believe it. He had just met her earlier that evening, and while they had a fight about some race she had lost, she had given him no reason to believe that she was depressed. After a noto In Bloodline, Felix Francis' latest horse racing mystery, Mark Shillingford, a television commentator at the track is horrified to learn that his twin sister Claire, a noted jockey, has apparently fallen to her death from the balcony of a hotel. The police rule it a suicide, but Shillingford is just not ready to believe it. He had just met her earlier that evening, and while they had a fight about some race she had lost, she had given him no reason to believe that she was depressed. After a notorious muckraker Toby Woodley publishes a nasty article about Claire and claims to have known some buried secrets about Mark, he is mysteriously knifed to death. The police suspect Mark. Meanwhile Mark delves into Claire's life and he discovers that someone has been blackmailing her, a trainer and other members of the horse establisment about small indiscretions in their lives. But now the blackmailer is seeking more and more money. Mark is determined to find out why Claire dies, and twice has to foil attempts on his life. When he discovers the blackmail, he believes that her death and the blackmail are tied together. At the end, Mark must confront the murderer and blackmailer in a final confrontation. The story is solid, but there are few clues in the prose that lead you to even suspect who is the killer. Meanwhile, I am almost positive, but would have to re-read all of the Dick +Francis oeuvre to figure it out, that the blackmailing journalist who uses small blackmail was previously used in another one of his earlier books, although that blackmail was used to fund the Jockey Fund and not someone's wallet. Finally, Francis is very good describing the racing commentary that forms the tie to the horse racing world in this novel, but there is still an emotional detachment in his writing. His father made you feel the protagonist pain or price, Felix Francis leads you through it. Maybe that's just enough.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Grey853

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Remember the early books of Dick Francis where the everyman hero got the stuffin' beat out of him, with him getting nearly killed two or three times a book while he was trying to solve the mystery? Well, Felix Francis has adopted that same formula for BLOODLINE and I think it's the best one he's written so far. When Mark Shillingford's sister dies in an apparent suicide, he's not convinced. He had just had dinner with her a few hours before her death and she was anything but suicidal. It didn't m Remember the early books of Dick Francis where the everyman hero got the stuffin' beat out of him, with him getting nearly killed two or three times a book while he was trying to solve the mystery? Well, Felix Francis has adopted that same formula for BLOODLINE and I think it's the best one he's written so far. When Mark Shillingford's sister dies in an apparent suicide, he's not convinced. He had just had dinner with her a few hours before her death and she was anything but suicidal. It didn't make sense. Still, there's a note, a grieving dysfunctional family, the threat of losing his lover, job, and his home to distract him. As he investigates her death, another person dies and there are several attempts on his life which lead to another tragedy. He uncovers race fixing and blackmail, all things that point to the fact that his sister was murdered. There are some slower parts to the book like when he's calling races or when he's with his family, things I didn't care about. But when Mark is actually fumbling along, having no real clue what's going on, it's very much like the earlier books where an amateur falls into the middle of a big mess of corruption and has to fight to survive. I give it a thumbs up. It's been a while since I read a whole book in one evening.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Michael

    I admit I approached this book with a bit of trepidation as I have not cared much for the earlier books by Felix Francis. Fortunately, I would say that he is coming into his own with this one. Definitely has the tone and feel of the Dick Francis books that I enjoyed so much, a main character somewhat flawed but gaining strength as he continues on, quite well developed supporting characters and a very interesting twist on blackmail in the plotline. Overall an excellent continuation along the Franci I admit I approached this book with a bit of trepidation as I have not cared much for the earlier books by Felix Francis. Fortunately, I would say that he is coming into his own with this one. Definitely has the tone and feel of the Dick Francis books that I enjoyed so much, a main character somewhat flawed but gaining strength as he continues on, quite well developed supporting characters and a very interesting twist on blackmail in the plotline. Overall an excellent continuation along the Francis tradition. I reserve nearly all of my 5 star ratings and many of my 4 star ratings for books I know I am going to want to keep and re-read at some point and this is one of them. Not quite "amazing" but a solid 4 star and I am definitely looking forward to the next. Felix Francis has, I believe, truly come into his own with this one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I enjoy the way Dick Francis would include some details of the horse life, perhaps how a jockey spends his off day, or how an artist making horse trophies blows glass. He always mixed two or three of these kinds of deep dives together to build a plot. In this Felix Francis extension of the Francis franchise, we get detail on television race commentators. A lot of detail. I figured out how the crime would be solved based on the first scene, even before there was a crime. So this wasn’t one of the I enjoy the way Dick Francis would include some details of the horse life, perhaps how a jockey spends his off day, or how an artist making horse trophies blows glass. He always mixed two or three of these kinds of deep dives together to build a plot. In this Felix Francis extension of the Francis franchise, we get detail on television race commentators. A lot of detail. I figured out how the crime would be solved based on the first scene, even before there was a crime. So this wasn’t one of the better ones in the series. Much of the book dragged with repetition. I will say that beyond the stretching of the story through repetition and the occasional plot oddity, this showed some signs of good storytelling. Some of that was seeing plot points familiar from early books in the series, but some was interesting writing. I look forward to reading more by Felix as he hones his craft.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Allen

    Loved it. Such a brilliant protagonist, would like to meet him as he felt so real. A definite chip off the old block as I loved his father's books too!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jerry B

    We’re life-long Dick Francis fans, and have enjoyed both son Felix’s co-authored books and his recent first novel (“Gamble”) on his own, although for sure in such a style and formula to extend the family bibliography rather than set a new direction. And while all the familiar elements were present, from the horse racing milieu to the lovable male protagonist good at what he does (a TV race commentator in this case), somehow the book had a workmanlike feel to it that sapped our enthusiasm by the We’re life-long Dick Francis fans, and have enjoyed both son Felix’s co-authored books and his recent first novel (“Gamble”) on his own, although for sure in such a style and formula to extend the family bibliography rather than set a new direction. And while all the familiar elements were present, from the horse racing milieu to the lovable male protagonist good at what he does (a TV race commentator in this case), somehow the book had a workmanlike feel to it that sapped our enthusiasm by the end. The hook sets us up for a good tale, when our hero Mark Shillingford catches the pretty famous jockey, twin sister Clare seemingly fixing a race from certain details only he as a former jockey, and with the ability to replay the race in slow motion at will at the studio, is likely to ever detect. He confronts his sister at dinner over the matter, and she lays some cryptic comments on him, leaves in a huff, and commits suicide later that night. Mark thought it was more likely a murder, as did we, and basically the rest of the tale proceeds to develop the plot to determine an alternative explanation. The death of a tabloid reporter and other shenanigans add to the complexity of the plot, but of course our hero eventually unravels all, despite being roughed up on a couple of occasions, a familiar theme. So – a rather typical entry in the set, but one that while modestly enjoyable and entertaining, failed to generate much heat or excitement.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dlora

    I don't think that Felix Francis needs to keep adding his father's name on his books. He's doing a good job himself. I liked the horse setting--Mark Shillingford is a commentator on the race tracks as well as doing interviews for TV racing channels. It's another aspect of the racing world, and one not covered by his father in his long list of books. The love of and connection to horses isn't quite the same, but the world of racing is there. There is a twisty and action-filled plot: while comment I don't think that Felix Francis needs to keep adding his father's name on his books. He's doing a good job himself. I liked the horse setting--Mark Shillingford is a commentator on the race tracks as well as doing interviews for TV racing channels. It's another aspect of the racing world, and one not covered by his father in his long list of books. The love of and connection to horses isn't quite the same, but the world of racing is there. There is a twisty and action-filled plot: while commentating a race, Mark realizes something is wrong with the outcome, and it's his twin sister who seems to have thrown the race, although in such a way not many would recognize. He confronts her with it and they fight. The next morning she is dead, a suicide, the police believe. Mark is not so sure and sets out to find out why she either killed herself or was killed, while still protecting her reputation as a successful jockey. The final ingredient that I've loved in Dick Francis novels is the goodness and kindness, yet mental and moral strength of the main character. I found the book engrossing but felt a little let down toward the end, because of a some shallowness in the character, I think. The book started out stronger than it ended in terms of character, although the bang up ending was there. I should read an old Dick Francis for comparison purposes. Perhaps I am remembering them better than they actually are.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Storm

    I would give this book three and a half stars if that was an option. "Bloodline" is a solid mystery with a variety of interesting characters. Felix Francis does a good job describing the details in the professional life of Mark Shillingford, a horse racing commentator, who is the protagonist. Mark's personal life takes a beating, in part because of the death of his twin sister Clare. Mark's dysfunctional family is somewhat reminiscent of the family in "Hot Money", one of my favorite books by Dic I would give this book three and a half stars if that was an option. "Bloodline" is a solid mystery with a variety of interesting characters. Felix Francis does a good job describing the details in the professional life of Mark Shillingford, a horse racing commentator, who is the protagonist. Mark's personal life takes a beating, in part because of the death of his twin sister Clare. Mark's dysfunctional family is somewhat reminiscent of the family in "Hot Money", one of my favorite books by Dick Francis, the late father of Felix. Alas, "Bloodline" didn't quite meet the standard of a Dick Francis novel. Some of the plot developments, like when Mark meets a friend of another sister at a family party who makes no secret of her interest in him, seemed rushed. It's almost as if Felix Francis was following an outline that required certain situations being present in a plot, and felt he had to get all of them in somehow. I didn't get the same emotional connection with the characters in "Bloodline" compared to those in many Dick Francis books. Still an enjoyable read. I'm interested in horse racing, and the books of both Francis men have provided a closer look from the point of view of a jockey, trainer, or in this case, racing commentator. Will continue to read Felix's efforts.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    When race caller and television presenter Mark Shillingford calls a race in which his twin sister, Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in second when she could have won, he believes the worst: that she lost on purpose, and the race was fixed. That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspicions, she storms off after an argument—and it’s the last time Mark sees her alive. Hours later, Clare jumps to her death from the balcony of a London hotel . . . or so it seems. Devastated and When race caller and television presenter Mark Shillingford calls a race in which his twin sister, Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in second when she could have won, he believes the worst: that she lost on purpose, and the race was fixed. That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspicions, she storms off after an argument—and it’s the last time Mark sees her alive. Hours later, Clare jumps to her death from the balcony of a London hotel . . . or so it seems. Devastated and guilty over her death, Mark goes in search of answers. What had led Clare to take her own life? Or was it not suicide at all? The best thing about this book was the in depth explanations of racing and commentating. The worst was the lack of feeling. There was no depth to the characters, Mark went into what was possibly a life-changing relationship with hardly any lead-up at all. Completely unbelievable. I never felt any grief, never felt near to tears, never felt much tension. Completely bland and disappointing. I'm giving it two stars because it passed a few hours pleasantly enough.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Feit

    The second standalone written by Dick Francis’ son follows the same formula that served the father so well: A mystery set in the English racing world, populated by the trainers, jockeys and track officials. In this case, the plot involves the Shillingford family, especially race-caller Mark and his twin sister, jockey Clare. When Clare rode a horse that came in second when it should have won, he believed Clare lost on purpose and over dinner they had a heated argument. Later that night, Clare fel The second standalone written by Dick Francis’ son follows the same formula that served the father so well: A mystery set in the English racing world, populated by the trainers, jockeys and track officials. In this case, the plot involves the Shillingford family, especially race-caller Mark and his twin sister, jockey Clare. When Clare rode a horse that came in second when it should have won, he believed Clare lost on purpose and over dinner they had a heated argument. Later that night, Clare fell 15 stories from a London hotel to her death, an apparent suicide. Bereft, Mark starts asking questions, seeking a reason for her death. What was the meaning of a short written message which the police believed to be a suicide note, but really is ambiguous? What, if anything, does the discovery of several blackmail victims in the racing world have to do with her death? The author shows the same talent as Dick Francis for creating suspense, pitting danger and personal jeopardy for his protagonist on the way of solving the mystery. And the reader will be hard put to tell the difference in the writing between father and son. It is virtually indistinguishable. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Clark

    Based on the reviews from Dick Francis fans, I was prepared for another mediocre effort by Felix in an attempt to replicate his father's work. I was very pleasantly surprised. This was a great tale by Felix and, frankly, if I didn't know Felix had written it, I would have thought it to be not only one of Dick's, but one of his best. The plot was very well thought out and Felix had obviously done a lot of research regarding the production of horse racing via television and other modern electronic Based on the reviews from Dick Francis fans, I was prepared for another mediocre effort by Felix in an attempt to replicate his father's work. I was very pleasantly surprised. This was a great tale by Felix and, frankly, if I didn't know Felix had written it, I would have thought it to be not only one of Dick's, but one of his best. The plot was very well thought out and Felix had obviously done a lot of research regarding the production of horse racing via television and other modern electronic communication. I also learned a lot about the betting process in Great Britain that I did not know previously. Felix also did a very good job of creating and developing the protagonist and led us through his many trials and tribulations, much as his father used to do. For me, Felix has now come of age as a writer. Let's give credit where credit is due and stop comparing him to the incompatible Dick Francis.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie P

    I hadn't realized how much I missed reading Dick Francis' books until I pulled this one out of the library. Granted, this is Felix, the son, but his style is clearly reminiscent of his father's. What did strike me as a bit different, however, is that the protagonist and his sister, as well as their family, were not really very likeable people. Neither seemed to have many redeeming qualities which didn't make the book worse, but just different. In addition, the ick factor re: the denouement was k I hadn't realized how much I missed reading Dick Francis' books until I pulled this one out of the library. Granted, this is Felix, the son, but his style is clearly reminiscent of his father's. What did strike me as a bit different, however, is that the protagonist and his sister, as well as their family, were not really very likeable people. Neither seemed to have many redeeming qualities which didn't make the book worse, but just different. In addition, the ick factor re: the denouement was kind of interesting. Really? That's the killer? Oh well, novels in the 21st Century. Here we are. Altogether a good read, or rather listen, as I had the audio book, but it does make me want to go back and pull out some older Dick Francis books.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Audio book. I read all the Dick Francis stories there were. This is the second by his son. As with the books written by his father this one has a first-person narrator and as with moots the other books, the narrator is directly tied to the host-racing industry, this time as a race commentator. I enjoyed it (although I occasionally got bogged down in racing details, such as why a trainer might secretly bet that his horse would lose and what he stood to gain if that horse did lose. Essentially, th Audio book. I read all the Dick Francis stories there were. This is the second by his son. As with the books written by his father this one has a first-person narrator and as with moots the other books, the narrator is directly tied to the host-racing industry, this time as a race commentator. I enjoyed it (although I occasionally got bogged down in racing details, such as why a trainer might secretly bet that his horse would lose and what he stood to gain if that horse did lose. Essentially, the narrator discovers that his jockey twin sister might be "throwing" some races but, before he has chance to find out if and why she dies in what is described as a suicide, he continues to search for why she died and ends up almost dying himself. Not a deep read but an exciting one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    On page 50, he's already made me cry. While his heroes aren't -- so far -- as "Greatest Generation" stalwart as his father's, they are clearly drawn, as are the supporting characters, and they are real, breathing people. The benefits of learning his craft from a master are clear.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline J

    I think Felix is doing a fine job carrying on his father's legacy. I liked this. It had the feel of a DF novel. The plot was pretty sound and all the elements made sense and worked together. I don't think a Francis fan would be disappointed in this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shorty

    Dick Francis' son Felix is really shaping up to be a wonderful author, just like his dad. His style is even somewhat reminiscent of his father. I enjoyed every bit of this novel, and I fully expect to read any more in the future, when they come out.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hapzydeco

    Gamble was better. While the description of the life of a racing commentator piqued my interest, this book seemed to lack something. Perhaps Felix is trying to hard to duplicate his father’s genre.

  26. 4 out of 5

    sonja figueiredo

    I enjoy this authors books very much.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Thompson

    Racing commentator Mark Shillingford watches his twin sister Clare come in second in a race she should have easily won. Clare's a top-flight flat-racing jockey, and the horse under her was the favourite. Shocked that she might have deliberately "stopped" the horse, Mark confronts his sister. Hours later, she's dead, an apparent suicide. Wracked with guilt, Mark can't believe Clare killed herself over their argument. Then he's witness to the stabbing death of Toby Woodley, a smarmy sports journali Racing commentator Mark Shillingford watches his twin sister Clare come in second in a race she should have easily won. Clare's a top-flight flat-racing jockey, and the horse under her was the favourite. Shocked that she might have deliberately "stopped" the horse, Mark confronts his sister. Hours later, she's dead, an apparent suicide. Wracked with guilt, Mark can't believe Clare killed herself over their argument. Then he's witness to the stabbing death of Toby Woodley, a smarmy sports journalist. Lots of people hated Woodley, but who hated him enough to kill him? And was he the person behind the blackmail notes given to members of the racing fraternity? Could he have been blackmailing Clare? Mark stumbles ever closer to a devastating truth... Felix Francis has picked up where his late father Dick left off, turning out reliable, entertaining crime thrillers with everyman protagonists. It's a formula, sure, but it's one that works, and one that I for one don't tire of. I've always said that I always learn something when I read a Francis novel; this time, I learned about the intricacies of televised horse racing in the UK, and the tricks that race commentators use to keep track of a bunch of horses running at top speed a long way away from them. I know what to expect with a Francis, and Felix doesn't disappoint.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shadow0

    I am a longstanding fan of Dick Francis, and to me this book is nothing like it at all. The first big difference with the writing of Dick Francis is that it lacks the generally humane and positive outlook on the characters. Most characters are flat and flat in a generally slightly cynical way. The writing itself is sometimes hard to follow. It starts of scenes or dialogues with one emotion and then totally contradict itself a few lines down. And not because the motivation of the character change I am a longstanding fan of Dick Francis, and to me this book is nothing like it at all. The first big difference with the writing of Dick Francis is that it lacks the generally humane and positive outlook on the characters. Most characters are flat and flat in a generally slightly cynical way. The writing itself is sometimes hard to follow. It starts of scenes or dialogues with one emotion and then totally contradict itself a few lines down. And not because the motivation of the character changes naturally. It just feels inconsistent, and makes the characters act at a distance and a bit random. And I had major trouble with the unrealistic timing. The twin sister, not just any sister but the actual twin sister, died of an unexplained suicide right after they had a fight. That would have a severe emotional impact, I'd say. Something that may affect you for months, if not years. Yet only two weeks later, he confesses "it was the first time I felt happiness since Clare's death" or something to that effect, without hinting on any underlying devastation. It feels so superficial. The plot was too far-fetched for my liking, and that's a shame because it hinted at some very interesting angles.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Helio

    The Butler did it. How does the Publisher's justify this being a Dick Francis novel when it is written by his son? It could be a "Son of Dick Francis Novel" or a "Son of Dick Francis, trained by Dick Francis novel" but it ain't no Dick Francis novel. The main character is not likeable nor particularly adept. He constantly refuses to involve/inform the police on criminal matters leading to deaths that might have been prevented. Loose ends abound: for instance those being blackmailed are told to ge The Butler did it. How does the Publisher's justify this being a Dick Francis novel when it is written by his son? It could be a "Son of Dick Francis Novel" or a "Son of Dick Francis, trained by Dick Francis novel" but it ain't no Dick Francis novel. The main character is not likeable nor particularly adept. He constantly refuses to involve/inform the police on criminal matters leading to deaths that might have been prevented. Loose ends abound: for instance those being blackmailed are told to get a cetain sum ready. Then the follow up note with the delivery instructions says to have the amount in used twenties or fifties. Isn'tthat important to know in the first note? What if the blackmailee had a hard time to get used fifties ready and the second note said to have twenties? The whole blanketting victims with blackmail notes is not well explained. How was the blackmailer supposed to know which one threw away the notes and which ones wanted to pay? The blackmailer was a character pulled out of the author's hat - it might as well have been the butler.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Listened to the audio book, whose narrator had great difficulty making the characters' voices distinguishable. What do you do when your twin dies, and everyone but you is convinced it was suicide? You investigate yourself, becoming a target for the possible killer, of course. I couldn't engage with this story, because the characters are a little flat, and there are a bit too many convenient happenings to further the plot. A couple are fine, but these really stack up. The solution reveal is clever Listened to the audio book, whose narrator had great difficulty making the characters' voices distinguishable. What do you do when your twin dies, and everyone but you is convinced it was suicide? You investigate yourself, becoming a target for the possible killer, of course. I couldn't engage with this story, because the characters are a little flat, and there are a bit too many convenient happenings to further the plot. A couple are fine, but these really stack up. The solution reveal is clever enough, though the delay tease got on my nerves. There's a few repeated phrases that felt lazy, too. But a decent mystery about jockeys, racing, and family.

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