Six years ago, investigator Sid Halley retired for good. He’d been harassed, beaten, shot, even lost a hand to his investigating business, and enough was enough. For the sake of his wife and new daughter he gave up that life of danger and uncertainty, and he thought nothing would ever lure him back into the game. He thought wrong.
Sir Richard Stewart, chairman of the racing authority, begs Sid to investigate a series of dodgy races. Sid adamantly refuses, but the following day, Sir Richard is found dead under suspicious circumstances. And then a man with an Irish accent contacts Sid, telling him to deliver a whitewashed report about the suspected race-fixing...or else.
At first Sid ignores these warnings, knowing that once he submits to this criminal bully, he will forever be under his control. But as the intimidation tactics escalate - and Sid’s own family comes under threat - Sid realises he must meet his enemy head-on...or he might pay the ultimate price for his refusal.
"This is fascinating reading on every level, from the neatly calibrated plot, moving from suspense to terror, to all the details of the racing world Francis provides. Halley is now, as before, an utterly complex, interest-holding character. And the final, moral turn that Francis makes of “refusal” is brilliant. A heroic return for Sid Halley." (
"Francis successfully resurrects one of his late father’s most popular creations and only series character—disabled jockey–turned–PI Sid Halley... Longtime fans will be hard put to tell this gripping thriller from the senior Francis’s work." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Dreadful pastiche of the Dick Francis style
No sense of action like the originals, the 'hero' agonises in tiresome internal self-questioning monologues for minutes at a time where a true Dick Francis hero would have just got on with it and allowed his internal confusion to be inferred.
the result is that the whole book is interminably slow and has me practically shouting 'get on with it'.
Martin Jarvis's droll voice, perfectly suited to the Just William stories, which he made his own in an admittedly idiosyncratic way, is just not remotely suited to what ought to be a pacy thriller. It simply compounds the book's weakness.
All the internal monologues.
Story good, narrator disappointing