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Dick Francis's Gamble Hardcover – July 26, 2011

115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“[Felix Francis] has one priceless advantage. He couldn’t have had a better teacher.”—The Washington Times

“A suspenseful read. Francis aficionados will hope that Felix chooses to carry on the family tradition on his own.”—Publishers Weekly on Crossfire --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Felix Francis is the younger of Dick Francis's two sons. Over the last forty years, Felix has assisted with the research of many of the Dick Francis novels, not least Twice Shy, Shattered, and Under Orders. Since 2006, he has taken a more significant role in the writing, first with Dead Heat and then increasingly with the bestsellers Silks, Even Money, and Crossfire, all father- and-son collaborations. He lives in England.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1 edition (July 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157479
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #958,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Isch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In an interview with second son Felix that I read online while waiting for this, his first solo thriller, to arrive from Amazon, I learned that the Dick Francis mysteries have always been a family affair, with Dick (the late Queen Mother's former jockey) creating the plots, his wife doing much if not most of the writing and second son Felix, the science teacher, contributing the tech aspects and other off-the-racetrack story elements. After Mrs. Francis died in 2000, Dick called it quits. When, after several years, the cry for more from readers and publishers had failed to die down, Felix gave up his teaching career to join "the family business" full time, the annual Dick Francis thriller was reborn and the second son's secondary byline began appearing on the book jackets. Now Dick is gone and the last surviving collaborator is going it alone for the first time. So how's he doing? Spectacularly well, I'd say.

That wasn't my take on it at first. The first couple dozen pages or so, involving an execution-style murder at the Grand National, seemed sort of same old/same old. But once the tale left the track and jumped into the world of international internet gambling, Bulgarian hit men and independent financial advisors (the current profession of our hero, a former jockey who'd broken his neck near the finish line a few years ago and could never ride again), we were off to the races with a fresh, complex and cleverly crafted nail-biter of a thriller. "Couldn't put it down" has become such a cliché on these pages and I'm a bit embarrassed to see myself using it, except that it really and truly does apply here for me and I suspect it will do the same for you.

The Francis family business seems to be in very good hands indeed.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Normally I wouldn't have purchased a book so recently published that had been written by someone, even a son, taking over a series but the reviews this book has received convinced me otherwise. The book is well written, fast paced, interesting, and a lot like Dick Francis' books. Identical? No, but really close with that same hint of terseness, the same kind of tough-minded protagonist, and the same sort of bad guys that I've enjoyed for long in this series. Several times in the book I was really reminded of Dick Francis' earlier books - which were also the ones I enjoyed the most. Felix Francis is an enjoyable author in his own right and I hope to continue reading this series for years.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Chamberlin on July 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Entertaining, suspenseful, and satisfying. I have found all the novels produced by the son since the death of Dick Francis acceptable, but this one truly attains the previous high standard. Practically a lifelong fan, I eagerly await the next.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mikarma on August 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I loved Dick Francis' books, reading and rereading them for the interesting characters, exciting mysteries and insights into the horse world. I read the ones co-authored by Felix and while they weren't quite as good as the earlier works they were still quite satisfying. I hoped that meant that Felix was involved enough in writing those books that he could carry on his father's legacy but I am deeply disappointed. This book could probably have been salvaged by a ruthless editor or writing coach but it's so bad I don't think I'll be able to finish it.

The prose is stilted and plodding, full of passive voice, "whereas" and "however." It reads like a schoolboy essay that will be returned heavily marked in red. An example: "Cheltenham had been the first racetrack I had ever known and I still loved the place. I had grown up in Prestbury village, right alongside, and I'd ridden my bicycle past the backstretch every morning on my way to school." The dialogue is even worse. One of the best things about Dick Francis novels was the inner voice of the narrator and the unique voices of the characters. All of the voices are the same in this book, and no one in real life talks or thinks in such stilted prose. It makes it impossible to develop any real sense of the characters and removes any drama and excitement.

Sadly, it's just boring.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sirena on August 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This was a very disappointing first solo effort by Felix Francis. I had high hopes, as I had found his collaborative efforts with his father to be good reads, but this book is not up to the par established by Dick Francis over so many years.

The plot was plodding, and the characters were not well developed or well presented. As examples:

The lead character doesn't show much imagination or initiative.

There is no explanation as to why the main character is fond of his girlfriend. Their conversations are exceptionally mundane, and she is not given any personality or endearing characteristics.

Horses appear, but there is no appreciation of horses as a species or as individuals. One horse breaks a leg during a race and is put down, and its owner's reaction is pretty much, "It happens. He was a slow horse anyway."

There is not even an attempt to create believable characters. Here are bits of dialogue from a woman character raised in Kentucky: "Herb had always been one for an occasional flutter on the horses." "He may have liked the odd bet...." "He can't have done." All British vernacular, certainly not southern American.

And there's a 40-something woman who wants the main character for sex, because, you know, these older women find it hard to get sex partners. Snort.

The Dick Francis era is clearly over.
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