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Crossfire Paperback – August 2, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favorite Francis.. Afghanistan has taken the Captain's foot but his brain is in top form as he returns to the wierd family homestead, owned by a horse-breeder who happens to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by kzcasey
The use of current events to create the events of the tale come to life was timely and intriguing. Well done to the autho.rsPublished 6 months ago by gary
This book was written in the tried and true Dick Francis formula.
Although it is the same formula it is fresh and new using current events to make the story new.