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Front Runner Jefferson Hinkley is back in the newest Dick Francis thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of Damage In his role as an undercover investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, Jeff Hinkley is approached by a multi time champion jockey to discuss the delicate matter of losing races on purpose Little does he know that the call will set off a lethal chain of events, including the apparent suicide of the jockey and an attempt on Hinkley s own life Never one to leave suspicious events alone, Hinkley begins investigating the jockey and the races he may have thrown But there are others out there who intend to prevent his inquiry from probing further at any cost Possibly I was feeling less amenable than usual, but the writing in this book did not seem to me to come up to the level of the previous Felix Francis efforts none of which are up to the level of his father s work I m a Dick Francis fan from way back, and I ve read all the Felix Francis efforts, starting with those he wrote with his father as partner presumably consulting only before he Dick Francis died This book reminds me of the first one or two efforts The writing is somewhat immatur Possibly I was feeling less amenable than usual, but the writing in this book did not seem to me to come up to the level of the previous Felix Francis efforts none of which are up to the level of his father s work I m a Dick Francis fan from way back, and I ve read all the Felix Francis efforts, starting with those he wrote with his father as partner presumably consulting only before he Dick Francis died This book reminds me of the first one or two efforts The writing is somewhat immature, the dialogue not very believable, and the characters overly simplistic The last couple were, I thought, better The story is good, and typical of a Dick Francis novel indeed, the publishers still advertise Francis work as A Dick Francis Novel, which makes me wonder whether Dick and Felix together developed a bunch of plots before Francis, Sr died In this case, the narrator comes off as way too prissy and simplistic to handle the job he does or face the situations he faces, and I thought the love interest was totally unbelievable neither one of the two characters rang true and I can t imagine what they would have seen in each other A nerve wracking ride from the starting gate all the way to the wireCome on, Dave, you asked me to come all this way because you had something to tell me that couldn t be said on the phone So here I am Speak to me He concentrated hard on the road ahead and said nothing as the Jaguar s speedometer climbed rapidly past a hundred miles per hour Are you in some sort of trouble I asked, although he certainly would be if what he d told me were true He eased up on the power and pulled overA nerve wracking ride from the starting gate all the way to the wireCome on, Dave, you asked me to come all this way because you had something to tell me that couldn t be said on the phone So here I am Speak to me He concentrated hard on the road ahead and said nothing as the Jaguar s speedometer climbed rapidly past a hundred miles per hour Are you in some sort of trouble I asked, although he certainly would be if what he d told me were true He eased up on the power and pulled over toward the left For a nasty moment, I thought he was going to stop on the hard shoulder and chuck me out, but he didn t He just drove sedately along in the inside lane at a mere eighty five Jeff, can I speak to you off the record he asked again You know I can t agree to that This is my job It s my bloody job that I mworried about We took the exit off the freeway at Newbury and I sat and waited quietly while he negotiated the traffic lights at the intersection Look, I ll keep what you say confidential if I can, I said, encouraging him to go on But no promises He must know that I was obliged to report any breach of the rules to the BHA Disciplinary Committee He sighed deeply I need your help Ask away I m being blackmailedAudiobook Review Front Runner by Felix Francis is the second book in the Jefferson Jeff Hinkleyseries and is just as thrilling as the first Perhaps leg two of the Triple Crown Seems only fitting that book three is indeed titled Triple Crown Jeff is a very likable character as is his older sister, Faye, who is twelve years older and has acted like a mother after their real mom died of cancer when Jeff was only eight Narrator, Martin Jarvis s 5 performance was flawless, providing additional defining characteristics and personality to the characters, along with a higher level of excitement, drama, and suspence to the storyline I read the book the first time around several years ago and I think listening to the audiobook is better than reading it I mentioned in my reviews of the first novel, Dick Francis s Damage, and the third, Triple Crown,that the series doesn t have to be read in order but the character s stories do continue from the previous installments so I recommend reading them in order to get the most from the books Felix Francis is the son of the former champion jump jockey, Dick Francis, who wrotethan fifty novels following his retirement from riding The books are all centered around British horse racing in one way or another Dick Francis Felix Francis co authored several novels together before Felix took over the rains following his father s death He s certainly a chip off the old salt block and an accomplished writer in his own right Foron father and son horse racing mystery novels and a bit of history about Dick s riding career, here s the link to my review of the first in this series, Dick Francis s Damage.https www.goodreads.com review show One of the most successful continuations of the works of a popular author who has passed away is, IMHO, that of Felix Francis, son of the late Dick Francis I used to love reading the father s tales set in Great Britain s horseracing scene most often steeplechase , and I was very sorry to learn of his death in 2010 at the age of 89 Felix Francis, a physics teacher, helped his father with both research and writing as did, reportedly, the late Francis s wife and Felix s mother, Mary, who died i One of the most successful continuations of the works of a popular author who has passed away is, IMHO, that of Felix Francis, son of the late Dick Francis I used to love reading the father s tales set in Great Britain s horseracing scene most often steeplechase , and I was very sorry to learn of his death in 2010 at the age of 89 Felix Francis, a physics teacher, helped his father with both research and writing as did, reportedly, the late Francis s wife and Felix s mother, Mary, who died in 2000 So in 2011, when Felix wrote his first solo book, Gamble, I wasn t too surprised that it wasn t much of a departure from earlier books Felix had co written nor were the three others that preceded this one.Now that I ve finished it, consider me still happy This may not be the best of the Felix written bunch except for the main character, British Horseracing Authority undercover investigator Jeff Hinkley, none of the other characters ever really developed much of a personality, although the plot moved quickly and held my attention throughout Hinkley, by the way, also appeared in the Felix Francis written Damage, published in 2014, but the two books stand alone.This one begins as a popular winning jockey reveals to Hinkley that he s lost at least one race on purpose but before he can spill the rest of the beans, he dies in what s being called a suicide Meanwhile, Hinkley who has come to the jockey s home to learnends up locked in the jockey s super hot sauna Apparently, the jockey decided he didn t want his secret to get out, but then, overcome with remorse, he offed himself.Managing to escape from the killer heat that s not a spoiler you wouldn t really expect the hero to die in the first few pages, did you , Hinkley decided to doinvestigating and discovers a fewirregularities of race fixing and illegal wagers And suddenly, he finds himself in the crosshairs of someone orthan one someone intent on silencing him forever.Also of interest to me is that one of the locations where action takes place in the book is the Cayman Islands interesting because that s where the elder Francis was when he died he had a home there 3.5 starsI feel it s only fair to point out that I just finished rereading most of Dick Francis books, so the differences between the Dick Francis originals and the newer ones by Felix werepronounced I didn t realize how well Dick Francis could create a character and a scene with so few lines.Nicely convoluted and twisty plot, but I didn t feel that any of the characters except maybe Jeff had any depth view spoiler The return of a Dick Francis character Peter Darwin was a pleasa 3.5 starsI feel it s only fair to point out that I just finished rereading most of Dick Francis books, so the differences between the Dick Francis originals and the newer ones by Felix werepronounced I didn t realize how well Dick Francis could create a character and a scene with so few lines.Nicely convoluted and twisty plot, but I didn t feel that any of the characters except maybe Jeff had any depth view spoiler The return of a Dick Francis character Peter Darwin was a pleasant surprise, especially as a way to show time passing, but didn t overcome the feeling that the first mystery Dave s death became an afterthought hide spoiler It lacked resolution That said, it was an enjoyable read and I finished it at 1am, so make of that what you will.Note to G.P Putname Londoners do not own cell phones, apartments, or sneakers a car has a boot while luggage may be a trunk and anyone rifling through a pants pocket would be quickly arrested for indecent assault if indeed such a thing exists This is why I stopped buying British books published in the U.S

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