Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Son's
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Challenges: What An Animal
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | iTunes* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.
Blurb from goodreads:
Jefferson Hinkley is back in the newest Dick Francis thriller by the New York Times–bestselling author of Damage.
In his role as an undercover investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, Jeff Hinkley is approached by a multi-time champion jockey to discuss the delicate matter of losing races on purpose. Little does he know that the call will set off a lethal chain of events, including the apparent suicide of the jockey and an attempt on Hinkley’s own life. Never one to leave suspicious events alone, Hinkley begins investigating the jockey and the races he may have thrown. But there are others out there who intend to prevent his inquiry from probing further . . . at any cost.
Felix Francis has come into his own. Though Felix's mysteries are similar to his father's - dry wit, light on emotion, a depressed male lead who works through his emotional hurdles - he makes them all his own. Unlike the last book by Felix Francis that I read, he's no longer trying too hard. It's his story, told his way.
"Front Runner" delivered interesting characters, several decent mysteries, a semi-plausible romance, and an enjoyable story. Jeff Hinkley is an investigator for the British Horseracing Authority and he is approached by a friend about a problem. Before we hardly have a chance to blink, there are several serious attempts on his life. I had a guess, that was partially right, about one of the mysteries but I was wrong about the other one. They are connected, though not how you initially expect. Francis kept me off balance and surprised me. Despite the multiple murder attempts, the story was slow at times in part due to lots of technical info until about halfway through and then it picked up. I liked Hinkley and there's potential for this series to go on for many books. I had no trouble reading this as a stand alone though now I want to go find the first book and read it. The events in this book do relate back to the first book but Francis gives us the necessary info and the book works as a stand alone.
The romance, while sweet, was a bit hard for me to swallow; it felt like a fantasy. Henrietta is smart, successful, spontaneous, impulsive, a bit flighty, loyal to her family even while she sees them, mostly,for who they are. But her pursuit of Jeff struck me as unlikely and hard to believe. I had no trouble seeing them together, especially as we got to know Henri more, and I'd like to see how their romance develops. It's just the hookup that I had trouble with.
"Front Runner" was solid story telling and Felix Francis has found a reader. I'll be picking up future books by him.
My review of Dick Francis's Bloodline by Felix Francis.