BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review of Dick Francis's Bloodline by Felix Francis

Publisher: Putnam
Format Read: Hardcover
Release Date: October 2nd
Buying Links:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   The Book Depository

Book Blurb (from goodreads):

When race caller and television presenter Mark Shillingford calls a race in which his twin sister, Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in second when she could have won, he believes the worst: that she lost on purpose, and the race was fixed. That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspicions, she storms off after an argument—and it’s the last time Mark sees her alive. Hours later, Clare jumps to her death from the balcony of a London hotel . . . or so it seems.

Devastated and guilty over her death, Mark goes in search of answers. What had led Clare to take her own life? Or was it not suicide at all?

"She didn't say good-bye," he said suddenly. "Clare. She never said good-bye to me." "Dad, she was hardly likely to ring you up to say good-bye before she killed herself." "No, not that," he said, now openly crying. "I mean, she never said good-bye to me when she left here that evening. We had argued. We always seem to, these days. I can't even remember what it was about. Something about the house, or the garden. She kept telling me I was getting too old to look after it. Anyway, it doesn't matter what we argued about-suffice to say, we did. And I told her that she was an insufferable spoiled brat who should know better than to speak to her parent like that." I could imagine the exchange. I'd had them myself with the old git. "She just walked out without another word," he said miserably. "She didn't even say good-bye to your mother. I followed her outside, telling her not to be so bloody stupid, but she didn't reply. She didn't even look at me. She got in her car and drove away without a backward glance." He sobbed again. "I feel so guilty." Join the club, I thought.
Reviewed By: Bea

Bea's Thoughts:

I grew up reading Dick Francis's books, they were favorites of both my mom and dad, and I gobbled them up and continued to gobble them over the years. He went through a slump or two but always pulled out of them. When Dick and his son Felix started writing together, the books were okay but not great. Now Felix has taken over, writing the same style of racing mysteries that his father did. To be honest, I'd like to see him move away from his father's franchise and write his own material; I think he could be interesting on his own.

At the start of the book, it seemed as if he was trying too hard to channel his father but slowly the story smoothed out and I got caught up in it. Felix stayed true to his father's formula, there's little that's original. There are a few differences: his women characters aren't as strong and he killed off someone I didn't expect and that I think his father wouldn't have. But otherwise it's a tried and true Francis story.

I didn't find Mark's career to be all that fascinating but then the few times I watch a sports game on TV, I often hit the mute button. Mark himself is interesting and matures as the story progresses; like most Francis heroes he's a bit emotionally stunted at the start of the story. His parents felt a bit stereotyped and I would have liked more actual horse time. The blackmail twist was a good one, very clever. I figured out who blackmailer #1 was early on but not blackmailer #2. As for his sister's death, there were some surprise elements there, including the reason for her death. The killer was a complete surprise and not in a good way but more like Francis himself wasn't sure who the killer was and randomly picked a character. Francis did tie the killer into another element of the story (and it made me go "eeeeew") but I do wish that there's been some hint, some buildup, to the killer's identity.

It's not bad, it's a decent story and one I enjoyed after the rough start. I admit, I still miss Dick Francis.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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