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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Bet!
"The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." -- Ezekiel 18:20 (NKJV)

If you are a long-time fan of Dick Francis novels, you are looking for a story about steeplechases,...
Published on 18 April 2010 by Donald Mitchell

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just not as good as I expected
I've enjoyed most of DF's books - but these later ones are just not as good. I just can't like the main character as much as earlier books and there is something lacking in the empathy that the earlier books had. It was OK - but not un-put-downable like some of the others.
Published on 4 May 2010 by A Customer


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Bet!, 18 April 2010
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
"The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." -- Ezekiel 18:20 (NKJV)

If you are a long-time fan of Dick Francis novels, you are looking for a story about steeplechases, jockeys, and danger for doing the right thing. Hold that thought . . . because it doesn't apply to this book. Yes, there are steeplechases in the background, a perhaps a mention of a jockey or two, and definitely some danger. But for the objective reader, this is a suspense novel that happens to take place part of the time near steeplechases. As a suspense novel, it's pretty good. If that's not what you're looking for, go back and re-read an early Dick Francis novel.

If you are still with me, this is a story about being a legal bookie in England who has a complicated family life. The story begins to take unexpected twists and turns when Ned Talbot, proprietor of TRUST TEDDY TALBOT bookmakers, meets a man who may be the father Ned thought had died decades earlier. Matters are quickly confused when the man is murdered in the parking lot of Royal Ascot. Ned doesn't trust the police and begins to look into the matter on his own, quickly finding that he's only a few steps ahead of dangerous enemies who will stop at nothing.

Ned already has a complicated life due to his wife being hospitalized for a recurring mental disorder. It becomes quite a balancing act to keep her life tranquil while he fends off threats and violence.

If that weren't enough of a problem, his business is facing a crisis that means he has to find a way to compete in new ways.

As the story unfolds, the twists and turns just keep coming . . . quickly after one another. Your pulse will definitely be racing before you are done . . . even if not from cheering on a winner on which you have placed a bet.

To me the most interesting part of the story involved various ways that betting can be illegally manipulated while avoiding the attention of the authorities. If you enjoy stories about stings, you'll have some fun with this book.

Alas, Dick Francis left us recently. I'll miss him. We had a lovely chat once at the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan where he exceeded my expectation of what he would be like in person. He was a delightful man and a wonderful source of stories about the steeplechase world that he loved so much.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just not as good as I expected, 4 May 2010
This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
I've enjoyed most of DF's books - but these later ones are just not as good. I just can't like the main character as much as earlier books and there is something lacking in the empathy that the earlier books had. It was OK - but not un-put-downable like some of the others.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well researched but not up to standard, 1 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
I finished reading this book earlier this week and was disappointed. It's not up to the standard of previous Dick Francis books. It's well researched but lacks punch. Just when it seemed that it might get going it ended extremely tamely. I've read almost all of Dick Francis' work and this is a long way short of the general standard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs some fine tuning, 30 Oct. 2009
By 
Ronald Hosking (Abbotsford, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
I eagerly anticipated this book as with all Dick Francis books. I found the lead character a bit of a departure from the original formula, but that was all right. Maybe I was expecting a little too much. The book was not a "don't put it down till it's done" type compared with earlier books. It just seemed as if the authors were reaching for something that was eluding them. For all that, still worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gentle horse racing thriller, 23 Jan. 2014
By 
Brian R. Martin (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Even Money (Paperback)
Dick Francis is renowned as a thriller writer with plots based around horse racing. In this book, although the central character, Ned Talbot, is indeed an on-course bookie, much of the action has only a peripheral connection with racetracks. It starts when Ned is approached by a man at the Royal Ascot meeting who says he has just arrived from Australia and claims to be Ned's father. This is a shock, because Ned had been brought up by his grandparents, and had been told that his father and mother had died when he was young. Nevertheless, Ned, for rather superficial reasons, believes his story. Ned's acquaintance with his father doesn't last long, because as they walk to the car park a lone man attacks them, and in the ensuring fight the father is stabbed and later dies. The attacker steals nothing from Ned, but seemed to want some money from the father that he was owed.

The rest of the book is about how Ned finds out more about his father and grandparents and their very dark past. This leads to his interaction with two characters, both of whom want items, money and equipment, that Ned's father had brought with him from Australia. One is the murderer of Ned's father and will not hesitate to kill again. The other claims to be working for the Australian horse racing authorities, but Ned is unsure whether this is true. For various reasons he does not tell the police about these approaches and this greatly complicates matters. All this is played out against a background of Ned trying to protect his wife, who is in hospital with bipolar disorder, and an attempt by a large off-course betting company to take over his business. Eventually, of course, he comes out on top on all fronts, and his wife recovers and returns home.

This is a straightforward thriller, with not many complications and coincidences, although the final pages when Ned and his wife travel to Australia to be reunited with Ned's two newly discovered sisters are very unbelievable. The character of Ned and his associates are well described, but those of his two pursuers much less so. Some of the technical details also lack credibility. Some examples, noted also by others, are: a long-term NHS psychiatric ward with luxury individual rooms; a mobile phone jammer powered by a simple car battery that has the power to block every network; and a mechanism that blocks network communications, yet can be reliably activated and deactivated remotely. Overall, this is a gentle enjoyable read, but will not tax the reader very much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for bookmakers, 17 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
I love Dick Francis and have read all his books many times.

I also used to work in a betting shop, so this book was really intesting for me. It's also very current as bookmaking is going digital and we are losing the tic tac men - which is a shame.

The only thing about this book that didn't make it perfect was the ending. It was a bit quick and sudden.

But I would still recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic 'Old School' Francis!, 9 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
Enjoyed this one more than some of the recent books and thought it was one of the best collaborative efforts. Central character a little more vulnerable than some of the previous heroes we would all like to be but a good read anyway and recommended to Francis fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic Dick Francis, 2 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Even Money (Kindle Edition)
Sid Halley a stubborn difficult intelligent lonely character well drawn with a cast of interesting people, the plot unfolds told from a different angle, the racing background displays expert knowledge and carries weight accordingly. A great absorbimg tale
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not right but it's OK, 17 Nov. 2009
By 
Windy Miller (Buckingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
NB I review this as a DF fan.

If you've never read any DF before then this is a perfectly serviceable whodunnit. It's a little convoluted, there are some hideous 'public service' style explanations, some characters are sketchy to the point of invisibility, the character sterotypes are all in place and the clunking plot development is bolted together like Meccano but this is typical of the Francis family style and it should be accepted as part of the charm. There's horses, a noble hero and not much to scare most people from teenage onwards.

If you are looking for a better introduction to his/their work, I would suggest you look elsewhere. Begin with an earlier classic - 'For Kicks', perhaps or 'Banker' - 'Blood Sport', 'In the Frame', 'The Danger', 'Come to Grief' and 'Proof' are also worth a look. In fact nothing after 'To the Hilt'.

For anyone with a little familiarity with DF's work I would like to suggest that 'Even Money' is a huge improvement on the, IMHO, awful 'Silks'. It saddens me to say that I haven't 'enjoyed' a DF book for a long while now but I do think this latest has a really good shot at recapturing something of the essence of the earlier work. I do think the hero is a bit dull - I'd like some more 'likeability' and 'grit'. I'd also like a single hero, just for once (please no more dead/nuts wives). I'd like an injection of pace, some humour, a sense of menace and threat and perhaps, some adult relations - all things you could often find in the classics.

But hey, I'm pleased to see they're keeping going with the series. No doubt I'll buy the next one as well.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite in the winners enclosure, 13 Sept. 2009
By 
E. J. Alford (Dorset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Even Money (Hardcover)
I always look forward to the latest Dick Francis book coming out and this one was no exception. It was very well written as always and I warmed to the main character like I warmed to Sid Halley. The only thing is that the end of the story felt rather unfinished, or finished in a hurry and I came away feeling a bit disatisfied although this was not to say that the book is a good one and hard to put down.
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Even Money by Felix Francis (Paperback - 22 July 2010)
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