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Crossfire Hardcover – August 17, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (August 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915681X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156816
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the enjoyable fourth and final collaboration between Francis (1920–2010) and son Felix (after Even Money), the army career of Capt. Thomas Forsyth abruptly ends when an IED in Afghanistan blows off one of his feet, leaving him with a prosthetic replacement (like another Francis lead, Sid Halley). Upon discharge from National Health Service care, Forsyth makes his way home to Lambourn, where he gets a less-than-warm welcome from his mother, Josephine Kauri, a horse trainer. After learning that her stable has had a series of mishaps, Forsyth discovers that Kauri has been sabotaging her own animals in response to a blackmailer's threats to reveal her tax evasion to the authorities. With nothing else to occupy him, he turns detective to identify the extortionist. Though the plot details won't linger as long as those in Dick Francis's best work, like Whip Hand, this is still a suspenseful read. Francis aficionados will hope that Felix chooses to carry on the family tradition on his own.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Good authors never die; they leave behind at least one book. Francis, who died this year after writing a string of more than 40 racing mysteries, the last 3 in collaboration with his son, Felix, left at least this one book behind. For all lovers of old-fashioned, character-driven, plot-perfect suspense, this is like getting a windfall from a distant, deceased relative. The hero will remind longtime Francis fans of Sid Halley, the driving force of arguably Francis’ finest mysteries. Both have had their careers cut short by a devastating injury (steeplechase jockey Halley lost his hand in a racing accident; new hero, British soldier Captain Tom Forsyth, had his foot blown off by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan). Both have to find their way out of pain and grief to construct a new life. Forsyth, temporarily cut loose from his regiment, returns to the home he fled at age 17, the cold and hostile environment of his mother, one of Britain’s top racehorse trainers. While there, he stumbles into a blackmail plot involving his mother, one that puts her horses at high risk. The Francis team uses both Forsyth’s dilemma, which is how to find “targets and objectives” in a blown-apart life, and his military skills to enable him to get to the bottom of a rotten mess. The plot reads like classic Francis; the research parts presumably come from Felix, and they add a lot of weight to the saddle. The publisher hints that Felix may be carrying on his father’s legacy, but it’s doubtful anyone can. Enjoy this bequest. --Connie Fletcher

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Customer Reviews

Characters are well developed.
Thomas Triplett
They might be no more than background, but one way you could tell the good guys from the bad guys is that the good guys would never do anything bad to a horse.
Miz Ellen
I found the plotting to be more than fair but this forced characterization of the central character in the book is its weakest aspect.
Carol Mello

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 106 people found the following review helpful By ck VINE VOICE on June 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll freely confess that I cried at the end of "Crossfire." My tears had nothing to do with the story -- which was excellent -- and everything to do with the closing of a chapter of writing history. Crossfire, you see, is the book former champion jockey Dick Francis was working on at the time of his death earlier this year.

Thankfully, his son Felix had been working with his father on the last few books, and their partnership reached a high point in the plotting and development of "Crossfire." Longtime fans will appreciate the subtle nods throughout the story to earlier Francis protagonists and locales, and are likely to agree that the writing is as taut as it was in the elder Francis' earlier days.

The underpinnings of this tale remind me of the forces at work in such classics as "To the Hilt" and "10 Lb. Penalty." The Francis hallmarks of loyalty, duty and decency all are present. I hesitate to say more about the story line because I do not want to steal any of its thunder.

It is safe to say, however, that in "Crossfire," Tom Forsyth faces up to personal challenge, as did Sid Halley. He arrives at a new view of himself, as did Philip Nore. And he comes to grips with family relationships, as did Rob Finn, Lee Morris, and the Derry brothers. Those of us who grew up with the words of Dick Francis can honor his passing, while knowing that his son has served his apprenticeship well, and has leaped into the saddle.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia E. Downes VINE VOICE on July 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Crossfire is a great book! Dick Francis had his leg amputated in 2007; and, apparently, he and his son, Felix, use this experience as inspiration. Crossfire is about a young Captain in the army who has been sent "home" after losing a foot to an IED during his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, "home" for him is with his estranged mother, a successful horse trainer with whom he has not spoken for years. To make matters worse, she is being secretive and more aloof than ever. The reason: she is being blackmailed.

Unfortunately, Captain Tom Forsyth is handicapped by an artificial foot, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and emotional issues related to his mother. One part of him wants to help his mother; the other part wants to run away. He wants to continue life in the military, yet the reality of his artificial foot is something with which he must come to terms.

Dick Francis is a master of character development. In only a few short pages, you understand the main character's motivations, his strengths, and his weaknesses. You quickly become invested in him and want him to win. In addition to watching the character grow as he works his way through his emotional and physical handicaps, you are quickly drawn into the story by the excitement of horse racing, kidnapping, extortion, and attempted murder. It is not a boring read. I started the book one evening and finished it the next day!

I'm a big fan of Dick Francis and this book did not disappoint me. I'm so sorry that he passed away this year, but I am glad that his son, Felix, has been collaborating with him these last few years. Perhaps we'll have more of these character-driven adventures to look forward to. In the meantime, you definitely don't want to miss reading Crossfire. It's one of their best.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First Sentence: Medic! Medic!

Captain Thomas Forsythe has returned from fighting and being injured in Afghanistan, to a place called home in name only. He and his mother have never been close. She is a well-known, well-respected, successful trainer of racehorses and at risk of losing everything to a blackmailer and/or the Inland Revenue. For the first time ever, Tom can help his mother; if she would only let him.

One thing on which you can always count with a Francis novel is a captivating opening and this book didn't disappoint. It begins with a bang, literally, and is both current to our time and effective. After that, I must admit, the old charm wasn't quite there.

Tom is an effective character and classically Francis; he's independent, a loner, self-reliant and determined. He was certainly the best of the characters in the story, and the most well developed.

It may sound silly, but enjoy that the author's voice, particularly with both the author and the characters being British, sounds British without an attempt to Americanize it. There was a strong sense of place, I feel I'm coming to know the Lambourn region. Details make a difference. The inclusion of information on Tom's life in the military, including what the infantry wears and carries with them, but also information on the tax system; these things add dimension to the story.

Taking into account that I was reading an uncorrected proof, there was a good deal of redundancy. I hope that won't be true with the finished edition.

The plot was good, but lacked the suspense to which I'm accustomed and a number of the situations were strikingly, and rather uncomfortably, familiar from previous books.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kristi VINE VOICE on June 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you've ever read a Dick Francis novel, you know what to expect -- a resourceful young protagonist, possibly an armed forces veteran, who becomes embroiled in nasty goings-on in some aspect of horse racing. Oh, and he'll most likely be unlucky in love.

That's what is so marvelous about these books: if you liked one, you'll like them all, and yet no story is repeated -- you don't know what's going to happen next. They are invariably diverting and you pretty much always learn something and that's a pretty big payback from a mystery novel, don't you think?

For me, the best part is the protagonist. There is always something quintessentially solid about our hero. He may be "disabled," as is the case in this book, but he is able to use his head and whatever else is at hand to come out on top. There may be some soul-searching along the way, but there isn't any angst. In this book, our man has lost a foot in combat and realizes he has returned to his childhood home, a place where he has never been made to feel welcomed or loved, precisely because of his mother's '"Get on with your own life and let me get on with mine" attitude.' You see that stiff upper lip, "do what has to be done" temperament mostly in the post-war novels by Michael Gilbert, even Agatha Christie, but it seems uncommon for modern-day characters; they rely on guns and squads and tend to waffle about a great deal in their own heads.

I hadn't realized until picking up this book that Dick Francis passed away in February of this year. I think it is a great loss to the mystery field. His son, Felix, partnered with him on three previous books as well as this one, and I hope that, in time, he will want to continue his father's work.
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