4 November 2013

Review: REFUSAL, Felix Francis

  • published by Michael Joseph 2013
  • ISBN 978-0-7181-5937-5
  • 419 pages
  • library book

Synopsis (Amazon)

Sir Richard Stewart, chairman of the horse racing authority, wants Sid Halley to look into some suspicious race results, but Sid gave up the investigating business six years ago and he thought nothing could make him go back.

He thought wrong.

The following day, Sir Richard is found dead and Sid receives a threatening call from a man with an Irish accent. The man insists that Sid Halley should investigate the alleged race-fixing and it is only when his six-year-old daughter goes missing that Sid realises that he may pay the ultimate price for his refusal. With his life in tatters and his family in mortal danger, Sid is forced to act.

Maybe he has underestimated the evilness of his foe, but has his foe underestimated the guile and determination of Sid Halley? Extreme situations demand extreme solutions and Sid is desperate to get his life back, or die trying...

My Take

I've always enjoyed the racing novels by Dick Francis, and now we have his son Felix carrying on the name.  For me this novel hits the spot.

Perhaps it is that tomorrow is Melbourne Cup Day here in Australia, said to be "the race that stops the nation". Anyway a well written novel about race fixing combined with murder mystery will always get me in. And Sid Halley's return is seamless. I am very willing to believe he is the same Sid Halley that Dick Francis wrote about all those years ago. Sid Halley was the jockey/sleuth who featured in Dick Francis' first novel in 1965: ODDS AGAINST.

The author Dick Francis died in 2010 and before then his son Felix appeared on the dust covers of a number of novels as co-author. The titles on a number make you think that the original idea was the father's while the actual writing is the son's. I'm usually a bit scathing about what I call coat-tail connections, newer authors who are trying to build their writing careers through connection with a famous person, but in this case it doesn't worry me at all. The writing is good enough. REFUSAL is the 7th novel to bear Felix's name. (I have already read two: DEAD HEAT and  SILKS)

REFUSAL is a bit longer than Dick's novels used to be, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is really a cozy on horseback although there is a little bit of violence as Sid Halley gets beaten up. There are other themes that I'm sure will connect to future novels featuring Sid.

My rating: 4.5

2 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Glad you enjoyed this. I'm the same way you are about 'coat-tails' novels in general, but I also know that Felix Francis worked for a few years with his father before the 'changing of the guard.'

Claudia said...

I've enjoyed both the original Dick Francis novels and the ones with his son. The only objection I've had over the years is Sid always getting beaten up. Maybe he needs self-defense training.

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