I have read Dick Francis books since the late 1980s in my Mom’s Reader’s Digest Condensed books. It did not take long for me to decide I had to switch to the full version. I like falling into the books and feeling as if I am the one who is at the race track along side the main character. I am witnessing with him the hard work of the jockeys, the horses, the trainers, etc of racing track. Then there is the danger and murders world which invades it and the hero of the book an ex-jockey or an investigator who is out to right the wrong and restore the racing world.
After Dick Francis’s death and his son Felix went from co-writer to continuing his father’s legacy. I can’t honestly tell much difference. I think Felix captures the earlier novels because he helped research them then later helped write some before taking over himself.
Last year in Damages, Felix introduced Jeff Hinkley an investigator for the British Horse Racing Authority. He is ex military who adapted these skills to investigation. He has also developed skills as a master of disguise. This year Hinkley comes back in Front Runner, a multi winning jockey comes to him to discuss blackmail against him to lose races on purposes. He starts to investigate and before Hinkley knows it someone attempts to kill him in a sauna.
I felt ease with Hinkley’s survival in Front Runner, unlike with Damages, because his skills are better used to save himself. It was a relief to not dread Hinkley dying before the end of the book. And as always I appreciate great details about British horse racing, learning about the Cayman Islands, tax law, and diving. Everything tied together well with the solving of the murder. If this holds, it will be easy for me to choose to read another Francis book.