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Dead Heat Mass Market Paperback – September 2, 2008


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425223191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425223192
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

MWA Grand Master Francis's first collaboration with his son Felix, a former physics teacher who researched many of his father's previous bestsellers, introduces an engaging hero, though longtime fans may find certain plot elements, like an unlikely love interest and sinister figures somehow connected with shady racetrack doings, less than fresh. The reputation of Max Moreton, a young wunderkind chef with a restaurant in Newmarket, England, suffers after guests at an affair he caters fall ill with food poisoning. This calamity nearly jeopardizes another job—feeding several dozen attendees at a major horse race. While that meal goes off without a hitch, a terrorist's bomb decimates the crowd at the track. Despite the official theory that an unpopular Middle Eastern ruler at the event was responsible, the chef wonders whether the bombing is related to the earlier food poisoning and turns amateur sleuth. Crisp writing and well-paced action help offset the routine plotting. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

After a silence of six years, Francis made a triumphant return last year, bringing back the ever-intriguing series hero Sid Halley in Under Orders. Now, Francis introduces a new hero, chef Max Moreton, who runs a thriving restaurant near the Newmarket racetrack. Moreton has a complex background; he's afraid of horses yet fascinated by the world of horse racing (his father was a steeplechase jockey and racehorse trainer). Francis is, as always, completely convincing when it comes to the track, but his efforts at depicting the challenges and delights of cooking seem labored and secondhand (his son, Felix, is credited with the research for this book). Unfortunately, the cookery details often seem pasted on and unnecessary. The action, however, is first-rate Francis. It centers on Moreton's travails as chef. First, food poisoning hits his guests and staff at a racing gala. The next day, a bomb shatters the grandstand box where Moreton has catered a lunch. And as Moreton struggles to decipher the cause of the food poisoning and whether it was connected to the bombing, he suffers the prospect of financial ruin and emotional trauma from the bombing. Then he discovers that someone is out to kill him. This mix of cooking and racetrack isn't close enough to horse racing to be completely satisfying Francis, but the action and the hero's struggles deliver a solid punch. Fletcher, Connie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Reading this after Mr. Francis' hiatus now reminds what good mystery book writing is about.
Jon - Seattle
True they are different, they have taken different paths to story telling, but all are very good, enjoyable fictional reads.
Kay's Husband
Highly recommended for a terrific read; the kind of book that really transports you somewhere else.
Ellie's Reads

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on September 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After I was "introduced" to Dick Francis a decade ago, I had a great time in the library, going through his many books. They are uniquely Dick Francis... he developed his own sub-genre of mystery writing. His last two, however, were, quite frankly, weak.

Was this the end?

Then came Dead Heat.

It's got that poor guy who gets beat up and in over his head. It's got that bulldog determination to right a wrong, and get the bad guys. And it's got horses and horse racing.

In other words, it is definitely Dick Francis. However, this time it is Dick Francis and son (Felix).

The plot line is intriguing and sharp. Culinary mastermind Max puts together a catered dinner for 200 and most become desperately ill with "food poisoning." To make matters worse (much worse), the very next day, a bomb goes off in Max's next meal event.

What is a restauranteur to do?

Find out "who dun-nit."

And that Max attempts to do, in typical Dick Francis style and grit.

You know, his novels aren't great literature. They are just plain fun. Max is a realistic character, with his own set of trials and tribulations. But he's pissed off that somebody is trying to wreak his restaurant and his good name.

He happens to also fall in love with something attached to a viola.

So, welcome back to Mr. Francis, and welcome forward to son Felix. I know that I speak for other Dick Francis fans in saying we look forward to your next installment!
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Firstly, I'm so very glad that Dick Francis is back to writing, and I hope he's got a few (but preferably a lot more) mysteries left in him. In DEAD HEAT, his latest baffler, his normally can't-miss Dick Francis elements are in place: naturally the British horse racing backdrop, the first person narration, the sudden, unexpected bursts of violence set in serene surroundings, and a lead character cut from that reliable English cloth, who is unassuming, reserved, undeterred, and clever but not that clever.

A classic Francis page-turner calls for, among other things, the protagonist not only to be hellaciously roughed up and tossed about but to also stoically endure the doing so. Locally famous chef/restaurateur Max Moreton certainly fits that bill as the pages open with him spending a mortifying, pain-wracked night in the loo, victim to food poisoning ostensibly by his own hands. And that's only the start of Max's bad road. He promptly discovers that that evening's clientele had also suffered from food poisoning. The next day finds his restaurant being shut down awaiting a public health inspection. The day gets even worse as Max then survives a shocking bomb explosion at a privately catered race track event. Now, with allegations made against his livelihood and his life on the line, Max, stubborn cuss that he is, determines to get to the bottom of things. It's not a smart move.

DEAD HEAT is the second book written by Dick Francis after the passing of his beloved Mary and a 6 year hiatus. 2006's Under Orders was good enough and enjoyable enough that it was reasonable to think that the old master was indeed back and without having missed a beat. Now here's DEAD HEAT.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Boyken on September 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
And another torch passes . . . this book, the newest in a long line of British horse-racing-related mysteries, is co-written by the author and his son, and while a decent-enough read, it doesn't quite have the feel of a "true" Dick Francis mystery. All the elements were there--the decent protagonist, the horse racing connection, the love interest, the unravelling of the hidden plot, the life-and-death confrontation . . . it's all there, and yet, it just didn't have the resonance that I wanted to be there, like his voice was being obscured by another voice--one that knew the tune but didn't have the depth of quality to give the story its due. A perfectly adequate book, and better than no new Dick Francis book at all, but still . . . it just wasn't the same.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kay's Husband on October 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Since the son of Dick Francis did much research with several of his father's books of the past, who better to help in constructing new ones.

Restaurants and race tracks, salmonella and bombs, a man afraid of hores yet loves race horses, what a great mixture for a Francis novel. I think Mr. Francis is a writer who in later years has branched out to write broader novels than at the beginning. Sadly many writers only have one book in them and continue to rewrite that book their entire careers. Not so Dick Francis, and I strongly disagree with any who say his books aren't as enjoyable today as in the past. True they are different, they have taken different paths to story telling, but all are very good, enjoyable fictional reads.

I am one who joined Francis years back for the horse racing, but the surrounding world of racing and its colorful characters is just as enjoyable. Keep writing them Mr. Francis anyway you see fit, they are afterall your books, we just read and enjoy them.

Semper Fi.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By skylarkspur on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I loved it. I loved 'Under Orders', and all the others for the last 25 or more years. Boy, did I miss you. Only a Dick Francis (and now a Felix Francis too) gets carried onto an airplane. Nothing else can make you forget the noise, smells, crowding, jitters...
I have a terrible memory, which adds to the enjoyment of rereading. Yet, most of what I know about wine is from a Dick Francis novel (I know, pathetic, but true). I can still picture the toy inventors workshop with the wide drive belts. Just try to forget that terrible murder at the vet's surgery. Did any of us know there was a special bolt action instrument fired with a shotgun shell? Flying horses, kidnapping, transcontinental trains, murder most foul, every time you read a Dick Francis you wonder how he will ever best that story.
A year passed, and then another and another, and finally I thought there would be no new ones to read. I am delighted that Felix Francis may be able to carry on writing a good book, should his Father decide to retire. Many Sons have successfully continued their Father's characters and style, and added their own.
Thanks for adding all the extra 'friends' to my life.
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