Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Review: Crossfire by Dick Francis and Felix Francis

Author: Dick Francis and Felix Francis
Publication: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (August 17, 2010)

Description: An exhilarating new novel from the New York Times-bestselling authors. 

Shell-shocked and missing a foot-lost to an IED during his tour of duty in Afghanistan-Captain Tom Forsyth has been sent "home" by the army and, at loose ends, returns to his estranged mother's house for the first time since he joined up at seventeen. But Josephine Kauri, the "first lady of British racing," has always put the horses she trains first and her family last. Tom soon finds himself strained to the breaking point with his mother and stepfather.

But there's another reason for the stifling tension at Kauri House Stables: Josephine is being blackmailed for a hefty sum every week-and forced to make her horses lose. Retirement is not an option, as she has been warned that it will result in the thing she most fears: exposure and ridicule . . . and prison, when the government finds out what she's been hiding.

Tom sets out to discover and defeat this hidden enemy using his finely honed military skills. But can he save his mother's reputation and career, or will he find himself caught in the cross fire?

My Thoughts: CROSSFIRE is classic Dick Francis. Captain Tom Forsyth encountered and IED in Afghanistan and lost his right foot. He has just gotten out of the hospital and is beginning a six-month leave. He wasn't a good patient being both bitter and impatient. Because the army has been his life since he was seventeen, Tom is at something of a loss about what to do. He decides to go to his mother's home in Lambourn where she is a famous race horse trainer despite the fact that they really don't get along.

When he arrives, he finds that his mother is under more than the usual stress and that she is being blackmailed. It doesn't take long for Tom to get deeply involved in trying to find out who is blackmailing her and solving the problem that led to the blackmail in the first place. 

This one delves into hedge funds, murder, and modern vices and has Tom using the lessons he has learned as a warrior and the guidance of Sun Tzu's The Art of War as he solves the puzzle. 

This was a mystery with a hero who is competent in his own field and who brings that competency to his investigation. Tom is smart and honorable. He is dealing with and adjusting to the probable loss of the career he loved. His mother's problems give him a new focus. While this one is wordier than early Dick Francis books it is still a fast-paced story filled with tension and danger. I really liked it and recommend it to mystery fans. 

Favorite Quote:
Even in recent weeks, I had often thought about suicide. But I could have walked out and thrown myself under the wheels of the London bus right outside the hospital if I'd really wanted to, and I hadn't, so at least I must be on the way up from the nadir.

My life needed targets and objectives.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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