31 March 2017

Review: FRONT RUNNER, Felix Francis

  • this edition published by Penguin Group Australia 2015
  • ISBN 978-0-7181-7885-7
  • 428 pages
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

Things are hotting up in this latest thriller from best-selling author Felix Francis, in his fifth solo novel Front Runner.

Jefferson Hinkley is back. In his role as an undercover investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, Jeff is approached by the multi-time champion jockey, Dave Swinton, to discuss the delicate matter of losing races on purpose. Little does Jeff realise that the call would result in an attempt on his life, locked in a sauna with the temperature well above boiling point.

Dave Swinton is then found dead, burnt beyond recognition in his car at a deserted beauty spot. The police think it's a suicide but Jeff is not so sure. He starts to investigate the possible races that Swinton could have intentionally lost but discovers instead that others are out to prevent him from doing so, at any cost.

My Take

I think it is high time that we admitted that Felix Francis isn't just his father's son, that he writes a cracking good novel all on his own. Publishers could take " A Dick Francis novel" byline off the cover.

Jeff Hinkley first appeared in DAMAGE  His work with the BHA involves hunting down gradt and corruption in the British Horseracing industry. The BHA gets a phone call tip that someone is putting on bets for a banned person and in checking this out Hinkley works out that the scheme also involves jockeys deliberately losing races. In the course of a day he is invited to a private room at the race course where he sees two men having an argument. He does not realise the significance of his observation at the time, but takes a photo of them on his phone.  This will eventually have serious consequences.

The characters in this story are well drawn and the plot quite believable, with the action fairly racing along. Certainly if you enjoyed the novels written by Dick Francis you will enjoy this one.

My rating: 4.4

I've also read

Also by Felix Francis
1. Gamble (2011)
2. Bloodline (2012)
3. Refusal (2013)
4. Damage (2014)
5. Front Runner (2015)
6. Triple Crown (2016)

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