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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, written, entertaining and easy to Read
When I first read Chequered Justice I had not heard of John Bartlett and I had no interest in motor racing. But to my surprise I found he had written a marvellous, horrifying book which was impossible to put down. I read it over a weekend; it was the story of terrible miscarriage of justice in which the narrator, Will Middleton, had become entrapped.

But it...
Published 21 months ago by T. Vicary

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much new material
I'd read Chequered Justice and found that a really enjoyable read. Dark Horse, though consists of significant chunks cut and pasted from Chequered Justice. Disappointing
Published 4 months ago by Douglas Antill


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well, written, entertaining and easy to Read, 19 Dec 2012
By 
T. Vicary "Tim Vicary" (York, England) - See all my reviews
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When I first read Chequered Justice I had not heard of John Bartlett and I had no interest in motor racing. But to my surprise I found he had written a marvellous, horrifying book which was impossible to put down. I read it over a weekend; it was the story of terrible miscarriage of justice in which the narrator, Will Middleton, had become entrapped.

But it was clear throughout that Will Middleton was a thinly disguised portrait of author, John Bartlett, and Chequered Justice was a fictionalised autobiography, which made the events described in it even more shocking. It also raised a number of questions: if this was essentially a true story, what happened before the book started? Who was Will Middleton? How did he grow up, and get into this mess in the first place? What sort of events shaped this man's character?

Dark Horse is an attempt to answer all that. Once again the narrator, Will Middleton, is clearly Bartlett himself. And once we see that this man, a self-confessed dyslexic, has a natural gift for storytelling. Not only that, but he has a marvellous fund of stories to tell. He begins with his childhood in Brighton, where he works his way through a number of appalling schools which are beautifully described, and very familiar to people of my generation. But Middleton gives as good as he gets. Several of his inventive escapades as a teenage had me laughing out loud; they reminded me very much of the stories told by Roald Dahl, in his autobiography Boy. In fact I think John Bartlett and Roald Dahl would have had a lot in common, if they had ever met.

The book then takes us through a remarkably successful - and equally amusing and inventive - business career, which Will Middleton abandons only because of his passion for motor racing. Along the way he describes the lives of many close friends, some comic, others - one in particular - very sad and tragic. The experience of driving a high-powered motor racing car (not my favourite sport) is graphically described, but equally interesting and entertaining are the escapades Middleton finds himself getting up to in order to get onto the racing track at all. He becomes an entrepreneur as much as a driver - a buccaneer more like Sir Francis Drake, than just a simple sailor. This is a man of great energy and resourcefulness; he casually tells us, for example, that he bought a helicopter and learnt to fly it in 8 weeks, as if it were no harder than riding a bicycle.

But always in the distance, like a dark cloud coming closer is the threat of the law, which will entangle Will Middleton in its web, as readers of Chequered Justicewill know. In this prequel, Dark Horse, we see him young, inventive, and mostly happy, with the dark days still to come. It is entertaining, easy to read, and adds a great deal of fascinating background to the tragic tale told in Chequered Justice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly engaging read, 15 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
This is the prequel to the very successful book "Chequered Justice". "Dark Horse" is candid, honest and thoroughly engaging account of the early life of John Bartlett and the events that lead to the dramatic sequence of events that befell him. There is an anger that slips through the pages of Chequered Justice but in Dark Horse we see a more reflective account, touched with moments of fine humour. It provides a fascinating insight into the world of dyslexia and motor racing. It's a very easy read and thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 24 Jun 2013
An intriguing journey through the early life of an ambitious, intelligent and determined young man as he struggles with dyslexia though a linear education system.
But dyslexia can be a boon as well as a disability. Let out in the big wide world, using his ability to think laterally he wangles, finds back doors & and bends the rules in order to achieve the success, his teachers said he would never have.
Then, only to have it all stripped away by a system that doesn't like people who think outside the box.

Being dyslexic myself, I found myself sympathising with the treatment of the main character during his school years (though I hasten to add, my school days were not quite as draconian as Will's).
This book stands as both an inspiration and a warning to all young people with similar learning difficulties.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Horse, 8 Jun 2013
I read the authors first book (Chequered Justice) a couple of years ago and loved it. This is the story of "Will Middleton's" early years. Its a story about Will Middletons (though it is obvious its based on the authors life) early years growing up in the 60s and 70s and how through sheer drive and determination becomes a professional racing driver. I especially loved the stories when he's a boy going through the education system in the 60s. Being dyslexic in the 60s sounds no fun but as you'll see he seems to get his own back in the endless mischief he gets up to! Sometimes sad but more often hilariously funny this was a great easy fun read with the excitement of motor racing thrown in for good measure.
Very highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and an easy fast read. I loved it!, 4 Dec 2012
I loved Chequered Justice and wondered if this prequel could be as good - it is, almost! The only negative point being that I wanted more! Dark Horse is well written and an easy fast read. It's funny and at times heartbreaking. The story fills the gap at the start of Chequered Justice, telling more of the life of "Will Middleton's" childhood and school days and growing up in the 1960s. It's a real insight into what creates the single-minded, unwavering character that makes up a racing driver.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing book, 30 Oct 2013
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Another amazing book, from John Bartlett

Let me give you some background, I was there some 25 years ago working as a mechanic on the sort of cars in the book often in the garage next to "Will Middleton'
This story fills in the gaps of Wills early life and an insight to what drove him and what motivated the young Will to grow into the man and racing driver in Chequered Justice
Again what a brilliant book a must read for anyone who has read Chequered Justice

Mark Bowbrick
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read, 10 Jun 2013
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Chequered Justice, I couldn't wait to find out more about Will Middleton's early years. This book does not disappoint. Well done Mr B!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real life in the fast lane, 6 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. S. Payne (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Horse (Paperback)
I have been a lifelong motorsport fan, and found Dark Horse a truly gripping read.
I well remember the racing in the 1980's but people forget just how dangerous it could be and also how fast the Group C sports cars were, each lap reaching 230mph down the Mulsanne straight at Le Mans.
The book is well written with a brilliant account in chapter 29 of a Lap of the Nurburgring, all 13 miles of it.
Making you feel like you were travelling in the race car too.
What also marks the book apart is the insight into how a small race team raised funds and does deals to keep racing on a very small budget. Real genius.
The characters and scrapes they go through, jump for the page. Early life and school days make you realise how times and attitudes have changed.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read. Interesting prequel to Chequered Justice., 1 Dec 2012
I found this book very easy reading and it contains good mix of the harsh regime of schooldays in the 1960's and exciting car racing chapters as well as the wheeling and dealing and sponsorship deals that go on behind the scenes in motor racing.

Interesting to read more of the early days that lead to Johns first book Chequered Justice.

Can't wait for the next instalment!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Horse, 27 July 2014
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I have also read Chequered Justice and both excellent reads. This is the build up to a book you can't put down putting everything into perspective.
Life has its ups and downs but trying to form a career in racing behind the wheel and have a family life with all the unpredictable events and finding money to live on can't be easy. Will also had dyslexia but didn't allow it to hinder his progress. In fact it made him more determined to succeed. Highly recommended.
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Dark Horse
Dark Horse by John Bartlett (Paperback - 30 Nov 2012)
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