Review Blog

Sep 30 2013

Refusal: A Dick Francis novel by Felix Francis

cover image

Penguin, 2013. ISBN 9780718159375.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Mystery. Thriller. Crime.
Sid Halley has been trying to have a quiet life with his wife and child. He has given up doing work investigating crimes in the horse racing industry and is determined not to go back. Then Sir Richard Stewart, chairman of the horse racing authority, approaches him with a tale of things that are happening that could put the whole industry into jeopardy. When Sir Richard is found dead the next day Sid knows that his quiet life is over and this is further reinforced when his 6 year old daughter goes missing. However Sid is one determined and cunning man who is prepared to go to extremes to end the race fixing that he uncovers.
I have been a fan of the Dick Francis mysteries for many years and was excited to find that the character of Sid Halley still felt familiar even though Felix Francis was now writing the book. The same easy to read style and thrilling action that was a hallmark of Dick Francis' writing is also found in Refusal, so it was a pleasure for me to rediscover the series. Sid Halley is still the same intelligent, gutsy and wily investigator who undergoes many trials while attempting to solve the mystery of the game fixing and bring the culprits to justice.
The suspense is breath-taking as Sid fights for his family against the odds. Intertwined with the mystery is the dilemma that Sid faces about whether he should have a hand transplant and this problem enhances the story as the reader follows the problems that Sid faces using a prosthetic and the difficulties that could result from a hand transplant.
It is clear that Felix Francis can write mystery and suspense and I look forward to his future books in this genre.
Pat Pledger

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