2011 / ISBN 9780399157479
Suspense / Amateur Sleuth / England / Contemporary
by L J Roberts
First Sentence: I was standing right next to Herb Kovak when
he was murdered.
For Nicholas Foxton risk is part of his life. His career as a jockey
ended with an injury that could still cost him his life; his profession
as an independent financial advisor has him specializing in extreme-risk
investments. His friend, Herb Kovak, current jockey and co-worker
is murdered standing right next to him. Was his death due to something
in Herb s life, his work or could it have been that the killer had
the wrong target.
This first book by Felix Francis literally opens with a bang three
of them, in fact and it certainly captured my attention.
The differences between Dick’s and Felix s style are very
apparent, which isn’t a bad thing. Felix allows his protagonists
to be in active, working relationship; something Dick rarely did.
Felix s voice is more cynical. Even though there is a bit of wry
humor, which is quite good, it pops up far too seldom. One unfortunately
habit he does carry on is the use of unnecessary portents.
The backstory the protagonist and the reason can no long ride is
very well done as it adds an excellent level of risk and, when needed,
suspense. It’s actually quite an informative book as one learns
about the role of an Independent Financial advisor and a variety
of interesting topics.
The plotting is decent with very good suspense, action and effective
twists. However, because there is so much other expository information,
one feels the plot becomes a bit mired down. While the dialogue
is quite good, the sense of place is lacking. It feels as though
Felix hasn’t quite found his own voice yet. All the elements
are there, but that s the problem. There is the sense that he is
working from an outline but without an author s internal passion
so the story lacks colour and dimension.
Gamble was a good read, but a month after reading it; it is difficult
to remember many of the details. I will be interesting to see how
Felix Francis progresses from here.