Dick Francis & felix francis (Michael Joseph, €25.05)
Published 04/09/2010 | 05:00
Army captain Thomas Forsythe's military career is cut short when he is badly wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
He returns to his childhood home in Lambourne, and his cold and distant racehorse trainer mother, the 'First Lady' of National Hunt racing. His reception is decidedly cool, and he soon discovers that his mother and step-father have been conned out of millions and are being blackmailed as a result and could lose everything they possess, including the famous Kauri training establishment.
Against his mother's wishes, Thomas decides to use his military training and expertise in an attempt to unmask the swindlers. Lambourne turns out to be a very different battlefield from those he's used to, and he discovers that victory in this turf war is not at all assured.
Dick Francis died in February, and Crossfire is the book he and his son Felix were working on at the time of his death. Felix has helped his father research and write his hugely popular racing thrillers for 40 years. This last co-authored effort contains far less of the Dick Francis signature insider nuts and bolts of the racing industry, and if a story about National Hunt can ever be termed pedestrian this one can.
A disappointing swansong.