Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review: Dick Francis's Gamble by Felix Francis

Dick Francis's Gamble
Author: Felix Francis
Publication: Putnam Adult (July 26, 2011)

Description: Felix Francis continues his father's New York Times- bestselling legacy with another edge-of-your-seat read that's classic Francis.

Nicholas "Foxy" Foxton, a former jockey who suffered a career- ending injury, is out for a day at the Grand National races when his friend and coworker Herb Kovak is murdered, execution style, right in front of him-and 60,000 other potential witnesses. Foxton and Kovak were both independent financial advisers at Lyall & Black, a firm specializing in extreme-risk investments.

As he struggles to come to terms with Kovak's seemingly inexplicable death, Foxton begins to question everything, from how well he knew his friend to how much he understands about his employer. Was Kovak's murder a case of mistaken identity...or something more sinister?

My Thoughts: The Francis formula lives on! A bright and competent man falls into a situation that is dangerous and unfamiliar to him and triumphs. Nicholas Foxton was standing next to a work colleague at the races when the colleague is murdered by an unknown assailant. Both men are Independent Financial Advisors for the same firm - Lyall and Black. Nicholas was a former race jockey who had to find a new career after he broke his neck in a riding accident and lost his jockey license at age 21. He still very much misses the excitement and thrills of his old career and believes that his new one is boring.

But he is soon proved very wrong as he delves into his colleague's life and also into the affairs of his company. Foxton soon becomes the target of the same unknown killers who killed his friend. He has to struggle to find out what he knows that is so dangerous. His colleague was also the front man for an online gambling scheme and Nicholas has to straighten that out too. He was named Kovak's executer and is in charge of settling his estate. At first he thinks the murder attempts might be related to that scheme but it is just a "red herring."

Nicholas also has to deal with personal issues in the story. His live-in girlfriend Claudia has become distant and isn't picking up phone calls. Nicholas has to wonder if she is seeing someone else and if their relationship is breaking up. He is torn because he doesn't want the relationship to end. When he finds out that she has ovarian cancer, he isn't relieved but at least he and Claudia are together. He is trying to protect her from the danger she faces because of the murder attempts and support her in her illness.

What I like about Francis books is that the characters are always interesting and honorable. Nicholas Foxton is in over his head but he doesn't stop fighting for what is right until he triumphs (or, at least, survives.) The mystery was well-done. I didn't correctly identify the villain until Nicholas did. I couldn't put the book down. I was frantically turning pages until the wee hours because I couldn't rest until I knew how things were going to work out for Nicholas.

Mystery lovers won't be disappointed in this suspenseful story.

Favorite Quote:
"How very unusual," she said finally. "But Nicholas was always a funny boy."

Jan Setter had called me strange.

Was I really funny, or strange?

I didn't think so.

To me, I was "normal," but I suppose everyone thinks they are normal. And yet we are all so different. There was actually no such thing as normal.
I bought this one as soon as I heard about it. I am a huge Dick Francis fan. You can get your copy here.

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