Saturday, September 28, 2013

Book Review: Dick Francis's Refusal by Felix Francis

Dick Francis's Refusal
Author: Felix Francis
Publication: Putnam Adult (September 3, 2013)

Description: Dick Francis’s beloved investigator Sid Halley returns in the riveting new mystery by New York Times–bestselling author Felix Francis.

Six years ago, investigator Sid Halley retired for good. He’d been harassed, beaten, shot, even lost a hand to his investigating business, and enough was enough. For the sake of his wife and new daughter he gave up that life of danger and uncertainty, and he thought nothing would ever lure him back into the game.

He thought wrong. Sir Richard Stewart, chairman of the racing authority, begs Sid to investigate a series of dodgy races. Sid adamantly refuses, but the following day, Sir Richard is found dead under suspicious circumstances. And then a man with an Irish accent contacts Sid, telling him to deliver a whitewashed report about the suspected race-fixing . . . or else.

At first Sid ignores these warnings, knowing that once he submits to this criminal bully, he will forever be under his control. But as the intimidation tactics escalate—and Sid’s own family comes under threat—Sid realizes he must meet his enemy head-on . . . or he might pay the ultimate price for his refusal.

My Thoughts: Sid Halley retired from being a private investigator and is now living near his ex-father-in-law with his wife and six-year-old daughter. He is working as an investor and telling himself that his life if satisfying. When someone high in command of British horse racing asks Sid to investigate what looks like race fixing, Sid refuses. When that person is found dead of an apparent suicide the next day, Sid is interested but still unwilling to be involved.

It takes a threatening phone call that demands Sid sign off on a report indicating that nothing is going one and the kidnapping of his young daughter before Sid gets involved. Luckily, Saskia is home almost before Sid knew she was missing but the threat is very clear. Sid isn't the type to let threats keep him from doing what he knows is right but threats to the safety of his wife and child do give him pause.

When Sid starts to investigate, the villain throws more trouble Sid's way. This time Sid is accused of abusing his child and taking pornographic pictures which were found in his garden shed. While that does cause a lot of trouble including the loss of his computer and cell phone and the necessity of moving to the Admiral's house, Sid perseveres. He feels that the only way his family will ever be safe is for him to get rid of the villain who is causing all the trouble. 

Many of Sid's old colleagues are no longer available to assist him but Chico Barnes still is. Chico is a great character and very helpful to Sid. Together the two of them investigate and come up with a plan to end the threat to Sid's life and family.

Also in this story, Sid learns of hand and arm transplants and sees an opportunity to finally get rid of the prosthesis that has been a part of his life for fourteen years. He has always hated it and is willing to take the risk of the surgery for the possibility of having a flesh and blood left arm.

The story was exciting, the villain looked to be invincible, and Sid Halley was as courageous and stubborn as always in this book. I recommend it to fans of mysteries and especially to those who have read the other books about Sid Halley by Dick Francis. 

Favorite Quote:
These days, we are all so used to having cell phones and the internet immediately at hand that we feel completely at a loss without them. It's as if we are addicted to the contact with the world at large and are unable to cope with even a few hours of digital isolation.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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