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Felix Francis Produces Another Winner,
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This review is from: Bloodline (Dick Francis Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Felix Francis has written a novel that is constructed around the racing scene but it is much more than a story of the racing fraternity. He weaves in the essential elements of a top-class thriller with a well-organised and plausible trail of events and character introductions and their development that are core features of the plot.
Mark Shillingford is a racing commentator and television broadcaster. His twin sister, Clare, is a successful jockey. During a race at Lingfield, Mark is suspicious of Clare's riding on the beaten favourite. At dinner that night, Mark broaches Clare with the race. The conversation suddenly becomes unsavoury. Clare leaves to go to Newmarket for the next day's racing but on the same night is found dead having fallen from a balcony on the 15th floor of the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, apparently a suicide.
Mark refuses to believe this and sets out to find what really happened to his sister, unknowingly putting himself and others in danger. The author smoothly takes the narrative via a series of characters and events that intermingle mystery, attempted and successful murders, blackmail and romance all wrapped in a build-up of atmosphere and suspense. He cleverly uses racing as the enclosure for the plot without it being the dominant subject yet has adroitly explained the basic features of racing realistically to the reader. We meet some straight and shady individuals during the story, including owners, trainers, jockeys, journalists, and a less than efficient police investigation.
The final chapters of the book are pulsating with exciting action as Mark relentlessly gets nearer to the facts that will tie everything together, with a few unexpected spins. Felix Francis has followed his father's footsteps (with mother Mary), but on the evidence of his last novel, 'Gamble' and more so 'Bloodline', he is becoming his own man with his own stamp. This is an excellent, enjoyable, stirring thriller. Much more writing of quality to come, I'm sure.