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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2012
For those of you who were as devastated as I was to say goodbye to the master of crime on the racecourse, the arrival of Gamble by his son, Felix, with little pomp or circumstance may have brought forth warring emotions of excitement and apprehension. The Dick Francis novel as we know it has been steadily changing over recent years as Felix has been having more of an input into the books. Undoubtedly still the father, but with touches of the son. This would be his first foray into solo writing in order to continue what his father has so comprehensively started, and the front cover states exactly what all fans would want to know in a single glance; 'A Dick Francis novel, by Felix Francis'.

Nicholas Foxton is a prematurely retired jockey through injury, now working as an independent financial advisor in London but gaining most of his client base from the racecourse. A seemingly safer choice of career until his colleague is shot at point blank range right next to him on Aintree racecourse with no clue as to who or why. This is the catalyst that propels Foxton into a world of guns, threats and dirty dealing proving that when it comes to gambling its not just the short off your back you can lose.

This has everything a Dick Francis novel should. The intrigue, the mystery, the personable characters and an entertaining and exciting story line. There are just some parts of it that feel a little rough and rushed, characters who aren't quite knitted and storylines that almost feel shoehorned into the plot line. The book is good and has all the ingredients to be another great Francis novel but unfortunately it just falls a little short.

I was exceptionally pleased to see that this is a totally unique story and not a rehash of previous stories and that though the writing was different it had all the hallmarks of someone who's worked with the original. But there were differences that made this novel definitely his own. For a start, the language used by his characters is certainly more earthly but always in keeping with the story, and the descriptions were of similar vistas but viewed through different eyes. Unfortunately for Felix this is the comparison he will come up again time and again when writing a Dick Francis novel and perhaps even if he branches out into his own, but from my point of view I am very glad that he has.

I think beyond anything else, this book gives me hope. I love Dick Francis books; his style, his characters and his writing so I honestly despaired on his death for purely selfish reasons that I would no longer have the joy of exploring one of his new books. The later collaborations with Felix, although slightly different, still always had the father's unique stamp on them and this would now be lost to the ether. but in Gamble, Felix has produced not only a good read but a commendable memorial to his father's great work as well as putting his stamp on the pages and making is decisively 'different' in a similar kind of way. This may not be my favourite 'Dick Francis novel' ever written, but it does give me hope that there will be many more to come in the future. And I shall be looking forward to them.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2011
I'll admit I had some reservations before buying this. Though Felix's collaborations with his father had all been very good books, there was still doubts in my mind about how much or that was Dick and how much Felix actully did (i.e. was he in a similar role to Mary or was he more involved in the writing?). Figuring he must of had a large role in order to get a co-writers credit, I gave the book a go and was not disappointed in the least.

Felix has shown that he has a similar writing style to his father, which helped make the books he wrote with his father a success, but he's not an exact copy of Dick, which is good because it allows him to stand on his own two feet, even if the book does have a very noticable 'A Dick Francis Novel' on the cover, obviously trying to draw people who were on the fence like me in. It worked but I hope it doesn't continue onto the next books he writes because it would be unfair for Felix to stand in his father's shadow. With this book he's proved he can write on his own and produce a damn good novel.

The plot is very interesting, it starts of in a very similar vein to Dick but quickly goes off in a diffent direction that you'd expect. The trademark Francis suspence is there to enjoy and the book is a bit racier then I was expecting but I'm not complaining. I did think I had the murderer pegged and was about to congratulate myself when the reveal was made, only to be proven wrong (and proved wrong in a good way i.e. the actual murderer makes just as much sense as the guy I pegged and wasn't a 'oh it's actually this guy who has absoulty no reason to do it." twist).

Can't recommend higher. If you're torn over this book, have no fear Felix is on a winner ( *wince* sorry, obligiatory pun is obligiatory)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2011
I was expecting great things from this book - that it would prove to be a worthy addition to my complete collection of Dick Francis's fiction. I was disappointed: it certainly isn't. To a great extent it reads like a first novel. The language is mawkish, sometimes stilted, occasionally approaching the childish. The result is a lack of tension and of suspense in the text, which was one of the trademarks of Felix's father's work. Worse, there are errors of continuity that affect the flow of the reader's understanding of the storyline. The whole thing could have done with vigorously competent editing. For all that, I did finish reading the book, and I haven't thrown it away. If Felix writes another, will I buy it? I probably will, hoping that it has got to be better. Or I won't buy any more.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2011
I've been a fan of Dick Francis for years. His plots are always intriguing, and the lead character is always compelling. Not so with this book. The lead character takes a patronising view of the women he purports to love, and his internal monologue reveals him to be self centred and insecure. Quite honestly, I didn't care in the least when the villains tried to finish him off in a risible denoument utterly lacking in tension - for the sake of the women in his life, I almost wished they would. There is a crass subplot about cancer, and the whole book is written in a clunky style with an occasionally hectoring tone. The entire book plods along like an old nag, and could do with some serious loving care from a good editor. Really disappointed in a book I really wanted to like.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2012
I was not sure what to expect from this book after Dick Francis had sadly passed away and this being Felix's first solo book. I need not have been worried , the transition was seamless, the 'old style ' was all there and I was very happy with the whole package . When is the next one due ?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2013
I purchased this book as, over the years, the whole family have found the Dick Francis canon to be readable and entertaining. As usual, this book was well researched. However, that started to annoy me after a while because Felix seems to delight in showing he has done the research. I got to the stage that, if I had one more sentence about IFA rules and regulations, I would throw the book in the nearest ocean! If Felix reads this, we get it. We know you research your topic thoroughly. Spend more time devloping the plot twists and less showing off your research ability. I'll probably buy Bloodline when it comes into paperback but I'm not sure whether I'll buy the one after that if it follows this pattern.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2011
Not everything grows in the Amazon sometimes Tesco or Asda is worth a look. However let us consider the book whichis a whodunwhat rather than a whodunit. On the first page you might consider that you have read this story before but do not despair this goes off at a different tangent. In fact I made the mistake of picking up this book to read at 11 pm and I did not put it down till 5 am.- so you have been warned about its insidiouness. The plot rapidly gets technical since it shines a light upon independent financial advice and that is what I like about the Dick Francis genre is that they delve into the technical backroom of life as we know it. The technical explanations are lucid and while you will not become an expert; you will not remain an ignoramus. Yes the hero is an ex jockey and th story meanders on the edge of horse racing because that is where its milieu starts in order to bring the characters and plot together.As always the hero is in a YOYO (you are on your own) situation and the situation he finds himself is highly plausible simply because in this day and age the number of ways to commit crime have expanded exponentially especially in the field of fraudulent scams. But as ever crime leads to murder and that is where you start on page one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2012
If you like Dick Francis books I am sure you will like this. it has the same sort of unbelievable plot that has no link at all to real life. To read it requires no brain power, no synapses, no thought. As usual the police are total morons who cant see the obvious in front of their faces and act like total idiots so the hero has to work it all out on his own. That said it is readable though only when your brain has become totally overloaded and no meaningful thought is possible. About once ever 3 years can I take a book like this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
read all dick francis novels and enjoyed later ones with felix as well. did like this and stopped reading about halfway through .lacks subtlety and class of previous francis novels
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2012
I was very sceptical about this first book by Felix Francis alone, especially as I had been a little disappointed by the books written jointly by Dick and Felix. I need not have worried. This book gripped me from the first page, as Dick's books used to do, and the more I read the less I was able to separate the writing style of Felix from that of his Father.

I can strongly recommend this book and am already looking forward to the next one.

Well done, Felix
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