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on 1 May 2017
Excellent service, article as described
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"And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen." -- Exodus 14:23 (NKJV)

Unless you've never read a Dick Francis mystery about steeplechasing, you know what to expect. Someone connected to steeplechasing unexpectedly uncovers a crime, investigates in amateurish ways, is opposed by the police, falls into danger, has to face his or her greatest fear to survive, and the villains get their just deserts.

But I suspect that you enjoyed the mysteries because they were rich in racing knowledge and were written well enough that you felt as if you were the book's amateur detective undergoing all of the trials.

In Dick Francis's Gamble, you'll find the usual plot . . . with perhaps an improvement or two. So far, so good.

The connection to racing is there, but more by plot than by writing. I could have written the steeplechasing material, and I know nothing about riding or these races.

The writing itself isn't very good. You won't feel as if you are in the story most of the time. You'll feel as if you are reading a novel that's long on plot . . . and light on details and character development.

Still, as opposed to having no more Dick Francis-style mysteries, reading the book encourages an occasional recollection of a much better book in the original series.

If you had never read a Dick Francis mystery, you would probably see this book as a mildly entertaining summer read for a vacation.

Felix Francis will probably become a better writer in time, so don't give up on him just yet.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 September 2011
First Sentence: I was standing right next to Herb Kovak when he was murdered.

For Nicholas Foxton risk is part of his life. His career as a jockey ended with an injury that could still cost him his life; his profession as an independent financial advisor has him specializing in extreme-risk investments. His friend, Herb Kovak, current jockey and co-worker is murdered standing right next to him. Was his death due to something in Herb's life, his work or could it have been that the killer had the wrong target.

This first book by Felix Francis literally opens with a bang--three of them, in fact--and it certainly captured my attention.

The differences between Dick's and Felix's style are very apparent, which isn't a bad thing. Felix allows his protagonists to be in active, working relationship; something Dick rarely did. Felix's voice is more cynical. Even though there is a bit of wry humor, which is quite good, it pops up far too seldom. One unfortunately habit he does carry on is the use of unnecessary portents.

The backstory the protagonist and the reason can no long ride is very well done as it adds an excellent level of risk and, when needed, suspense. It's actually quite an informative book as one learns about the role of an Independent Financial advisor and a variety of interesting topics.

The plotting is decent with very good suspense, action and effective twists. However, because there is so much other expository information, one feels the plot becomes a bit mired down. While the dialogue is quite good, the sense of place is lacking. It feels as though Felix hasn't quite found his own voice yet. All the elements are there, but that's the problem. There is the sense that he is working from an outline but without an author's internal passion so the story lacks colour and dimension.

"Gamble" was a good read, but a month after reading it, it is difficult to remember many of the details. I will be interesting to see how Felix Francis progresses from here.

GAMBLE (Susp/Ama Sleuth-Nick Foxton-England-Cont) - Good
Francis, Felix - Standalone
Putnam, 2011, Uncorrected Proof - HC ISBN: 9780399157479
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on 5 October 2011
Great read! I have read all of Dick Francis' novels, and I see this a worthy continuation. Keep writing, Felix!
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on 13 April 2012
I've read most Dick Francis novels and also the more recent books co-authored by Felix Francis.
I was somewhat disappointed in 'Crossfire' and did not expect too much from this, but I was wrong!
This is an excellent novel with interesting characters and a well thought out plot-line with some very original ideas. It even makes the job of financial advisor sound exciting! The slighly menacing sense of danger throughout the book kept me riveted as to the conclusion of the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and am now looking forward to further good work from Felix Francis, who is turning into a very worthy successor to his great father.
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on 2 October 2012
After his last offering I vowed never again. However, as I am presently confined to bed with a broken leg I decided to give him another chance. So glad I did! Not so much involvement in the world of horse racing but a very enjoyable read. Looking forward to his next offering.Gamble (Dick Francis Novel)
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on 12 November 2013
We love the Dick / Felix Francis books but find the paperback version print too small for a comfortable read. Also the Dick Francis books are un-put-down-able - so you don't want to strain your eyes. Also we like to re read them.
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on 5 May 2014
Felix is every bit as good a story teller as his father. Look forward to many more in the future.
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on 11 October 2015
Good read
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on 17 November 2015
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