Books by Dick Francis

CROSSFIRE by Dick Francis
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

The late Dick Francis's 44th, and last, canter around the track echoes several of his greatest hits. Read full book review >
EVEN MONEY by Dick Francis
Released: Aug. 25, 2009

"A blissfully satisfying blend of suspense, revenge and horse-racing info in a multilayered mystery that's presumably Felix Francis's distinctive contribution to his father's legendary series."
The father-and-son Francis team (Silks, 2008, etc.) turn their attention to the most reviled members of the horse-racing fraternity: on-site bookmakers. Read full book review >
SILKS by Dick Francis
Released: Aug. 26, 2008

"Despite Mason's avocation, the outsider's view of racing takes a back seat to the courtroom sequences. Partnering for the second time with his son, Francis produces a whodunit more accomplished than ever but less distinctive than the work that put him on the map."
What new angles on horse racing are left for veteran Francis (Dead Heat, 2007, etc.) to explore? His latest hero is a barrister who's also a passionate amateur steeplechase jockey. Read full book review >
DEAD HEAT by Dick Francis
Released: Sept. 17, 2007

"Clunky expository dialogue tells you more than you probably want to know about food preparation and concertizing. But the mystery is engaging, and durable Max is a worthy addition to Francis's gallery of racetrack detectives."
Legendary racing-mystery master Francis (Shattered, 2000, etc.) partners with son Felix to bring mayhem of many kinds to the Newmarket track. Read full book review >
RISK by Dick Francis
Released: Aug. 1, 2006

"More zippy ordeals ensue before Roland learns the dispiriting truth, and only a few spoilsports will look past the breathtaking narrative dash to notice that—notwithstanding the nifty relationship between Roland and spinster Hilary—this is not only the fastest Francis ever, but perhaps the emptiest."
Every Dick Francis steeplechase puts a persecuted narrator-hero through some sort of physical ordeal; this one puts likable Roland Britten through what reads—and it's nonstop reading as always—like one long torture. Read full book review >
KNOCKDOWN by Dick Francis
Released: March 7, 2006

"Post time's right now."
If the word horsedealer has any rotten connotations it will have come by them honestly, or rather dishonestly, since Dick Francis' new book is all about buying and selling racehorses — a world in which bloodstock agent (the British term) Jonah Dereham is the exception. Read full book review >
SHATTERED by Dick Francis
Released: Sept. 11, 2000

"So many crooks and crimes this time that you'll need a racing form to sort them out. But Francis, though well below his best form, makes glass-blowing as fascinating and dangerous as steeplechasing."
How far can you get from the world of horse racing and still be the doyen of the equine thriller? Francis's latest hero doesn't get any closer to the winner's circle than glass-blowing, but that's close enough for plenty of excitement. Read full book review >
SECOND WIND by Dick Francis
Released: Oct. 4, 1999

"Urgent questions, all of them, answered with of all Francis's usual unobtrusive technical mastery—even if fans looking for the thrills he more often provides think the action here trails off long before the finish line."
Francis celebrates his 40th horses-plus suspenser by taking his hero on a vacation in the Caribbean—into the eye of a hurricane that will lead him to still deeper mysteries. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 8, 1998

"But Francis fans won't be looking for originality here; they'll be content with the brisk authority with which the author sets up his familiar types for a series of falls as satisfying as they are predictable."
In lieu of his annual novel (10 Lb. Read full book review >
10 LB. PENALTY by Dick Francis
Released: Sept. 22, 1997

"Though the toothless villains deprive the story of any strong sense of direction—a surprising disappointment from reliable Francis—the tale is fleetly and unassumingly told, without any of the excess baggage that has often given the distinguished ex-jockey trouble making weight."
Pleasing lesser Francis (To the Hilt, 1996, etc., etc.) that takes its young hero from horse racing to the far rougher world of British politics. Read full book review >
TO THE HILT by Dick Francis
Released: Sept. 24, 1996

"It's a fine moral code for a jockey, but Al shows that you don't have to be a jockey to be true to your friends."
Horses finish well back in the field in Francis's dependable 36th thriller. Read full book review >
COME TO GRIEF by Dick Francis
Released: Sept. 26, 1995

"Welcome back, Sid."
Big news for Francis fans: He's broken his rule against recycling heroes and brought back one-handed p.i. Read full book review >
WILD HORSES by Dick Francis
Released: Sept. 21, 1994

"Coming after the twin peaks of Driving Force (1992) and Decider (1993), this entry marks an off year for Francis and his many fans."
Stealing a few hours from Unstable Times, the horsey film he's directing in Newmarket, Thomas Lyon goes to visit his friend Valentine Clark, a blacksmith/columnist dying of cancer, and becomes the reluctant repository of Valentine's confession that he killed that Cornish boy and left the knife with Derry. Read full book review >
DECIDER by Dick Francis
Released: Oct. 14, 1993

"Despite an unconvincing hint of May-December romance for his fatalistic hero, this is the most elaborate and satisfying of his recent books—a winner from the starting gate to the last hurdle."
Francis's newest suspenser (his 32nd) is typical not only in its racetrack setting, but in its doubling of the hero's mildly dysfunctional family (he and his diffident wife are held together only by their brood of six sons) with another family of deep-dyed villains. Read full book review >
DRIVING FORCE by Dick Francis
Released: Oct. 19, 1992

"All in all, despite a sometimes sluggish pace: top-drawer Francis."
Is there any aspect of horse-racing that Dick Francis hasn't turned into a thriller? Read full book review >
COMEBACK by Dick Francis
Released: Oct. 18, 1991

"The solution, which Peter helps construct from his own Cheltenham memories, is, like the whole exercise, a little pro forma, but the bestselling author's touch with a story is as sure as ever, and there's more about horses (though dead rather than quick) than in any Francis in years."
After a superfluous opening episode in Miami, Francis begins his 30th thriller by packing his Foreign Service hero Peter Darwin back to Cheltenham, where Peter spent his own early years, to solve the riddle of who burned down the office of his new friend Ken McClure's veterinary practice, who was the dead man found inside, and why and how so many of the horses that Ken has recently attended have died on (or awfully near) the operating table. Read full book review >
LONGSHOT by Dick Francis
Released: Oct. 17, 1990

"Francis manner, without the foolish tedium of Hot Money or The Edge."
Middling, readable Francis thrills—with a serviceable murder-mystery, some harrowing violence, horses in the background (if not central to the plot), and lots of filler about wilderness-survival literature. Read full book review >
HOT MONEY by Dick Francis
Released: March 7, 1988

"But the Francis combination of airy, muscular storytelling and gruff sentiment makes for steady-on entertainment once again—even with an over-large cast and a rather juiceless hero."
In many of the better Francis adventures (and a few of the weaker ones), the hero is driven by an intense, admirable loyalty to some family relation. Read full book review >
THE EDGE by Dick Francis
Released: Feb. 20, 1988

"Lumpily padded, thinly plotted: a thoroughgoing disappointment for Francis fans—and not much fun even for fanciers of the luxury-train-in-jeopardy genre."
Once upon a time there was an ex-jockey named Dick Francis who wrote taut, fresh action-mysteries about racing (Dead Cert, Nerve, Forfeit, Bonecrack, etc.). Read full book review >
BOLT by Dick Francis
Released: March 1, 1987

"Still, it's all blandly readable—and that may be enough, along with the racecourse background, for loyal fans."
Kit Fielding, the rather colorless jockey-hero of Francis' last novel, Break In, returns—in a limp sequel that features a cardboard super-villain, no mystery whatsoever, and only sporadic flickers of genuine action-excitement. Read full book review >
BREAK IN by Dick Francis
Released: March 1, 1986

"So, while some readers may be disappointed by the relative placidity and predictability here, old Francis fans will find it all easy, comfy reading—from the noble, near-invincible hero to the monied villains and the ubiquitous horses."
After strong-selling digressions into finance, kidnapping, and the liquor business (Banker, The Danger, Proof), Francis is back with a jockey-hero and lots of racing-game atmosphere again: this new adventure—which also involves some slimy newspaper doings—reads like a mild, murder-less, very agreeable replay of such early Francis standouts as Enquiry and Bone-crack. Read full book review >
THE DANGER by Dick Francis
Released: April 2, 1984

"Yet somehow none of these drawbacks really interferes with the unique grab of Francis' plain, tough, tender suspense-magic: less truly authentic than other kidnap novels, this one nonetheless tops them all—with a streamlined mixture of mystery, heart (kidnap-victim psychology), and nonstop action."
Most kidnap-thrillers suffer from pacing problems—with the familiar basics (the snatch, the ransom demand, the drop, etc,) strung out rather too predictably. Read full book review >
PROOF by Dick Francis
Released: March 25, 1984

Booze, not horse-racing, is the primary focus of Francis' latest suspense tale—which, like several of his recent efforts, is rather skimpy on mystery, rather heavy on talk and violence. Read full book review >
BANKER by Dick Francis
Released: April 1, 1983

Don't let that title worry you: there's plenty about horses in Francis' new mystery—which offers one of his best plots in years. Read full book review >
TWICE SHY by Dick Francis
Released: April 16, 1982

"But, if not as informative or affecting as prime Francis, this is topnotch, nonstop entertainment: ironic, clever, exciting, and—even when rip-roaringly violent—thoroughly warmhearted."
As hinted in the title, Francis has altered his formula a bit this time. Read full book review >
REFLEX by Dick Francis
Released: April 1, 1981

"And Francis is still faster around the track than anybody else in the business."
Don't let the book-club selection and change of publisher worry you: this is the same old Dick Francis, very much true to form, with a stoic jockey-sleuth (amateur photographer too) who uncovers dirty business at the track while getting beaten up and testing the limits of honor, loyalty, and friendship. Read full book review >
WHIP HAND by Dick Francis
Released: May 28, 1980

After a dull departure into spy/terrorism (Trial Run), Francis clearly wants to get back on the track—and he does it by reviving lame ex-jockey/private-eye Sid Halley (Odds Against, 1966), whose sleuthing led to his losing a hand (he now has a nifty motorized one). Read full book review >
TRIAL RUN by Dick Francis
Released: May 16, 1979

"By Francis standards—unexciting, cliche-ridden, and only occasionally colored with the author's distinctive character."
Well, now we know why Dick Francis has always stuck close to his formula of horse-racing-and-physical-ordeals. Read full book review >
IN THE FRAME by Dick Francis
Released: March 30, 1977

"Francis stays on top because he remembers to touch bottom."
The horses age painted ones this time, but stop worrying. Read full book review >
HIGH STAKES by Dick Francis
Released: May 1, 1976

"No personal problems this time (Francis readers usually enjoy them)—just a straight run somewhere in the middle of the form which is authoritatively and exclusively his, hers and theirs."
Steven Scott, all-around success, a toymaker of considerable ingenuity, and a race horse owner on the side, hasn't noticed that he's been stolen blind by his trainer and a bookmaker until a brutal assault, which, along with alcohol dripped into his veins, leaves him doubly knocked out. Read full book review >
SLAY-RIDE by Dick Francis
Released: Feb. 2, 1973

"The story's sound and Mr. Francis keeps it moving and changing directions with his customized touch."
At the start it's to the races again — this time in Norway where a jockey is said to have disappeared with the day's turnstile take. Read full book review >
BONECRACK by Dick Francis
Released: May 17, 1972

"You'll like these sons of sons and the gentle moral message."
Neil Griffon, who had broken with his father altogether as a youngster and made it on his own, is forced to take over the old man's training stables when the latter is hospitalized. Read full book review >
SMOKESCREEN by Dick Francis
Released: Feb. 1, 1972

"This should win eased up — it's the most of the very best."
A horse story — in occasional stretches, a mystery — certainly, but primarily a supersized action-suspense novel featuring several backgrounds and situations and you can get them all together via Edward Lincoln, family man and nephew of the courageously dying Nerissa, film star — muy hombre, and patron of the track. Read full book review >
RAT RACE by Dick Francis
Released: March 3, 1971

"Tiresome but the fans are not ready to ground him yet."
Matt Shore, small job pilot with a large painful past, transports dabblers, die-hards, a racketeer or two along with a brace of jockeys to the track. Read full book review >
ENQUIRY by Dick Francis
Released: July 1, 1970

"This is another pro forma performance with the expected competence; even if the story itself barely reaches the backstretch, his admirers are hard to unseat."
Kelly Hughes, one of Mr. Francis' scrappy jockeys, is disbarred after his poor showing in the Lemonfizz Crystal Cup and Kelly survives (a nearly fatal accident; an assault) to prove how it was rigged. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 26, 1969

"Previously dubbed 'the man who didn't win the Grand National,' Mr. Francis may change his epitaph — to 'the bloke who writes those bloody good books."
The author has done supremely well in the mystery category with books like Flying Finish. Read full book review >
BLOOD SPORT by Dick Francis
Released: Feb. 28, 1968

"Galloping entertainment."
Mr. Francis specializes in horseflesh/suspense; here he moves closer to the mode in espionage novels, horses and all. Read full book review >
FORFEIT by Dick Francis
Released: Feb. 26, 1968

"And then there's the dusky beauty Gail who loves him, betrays him, in this multi-gaited thriller."
Reporter James Tyrone takes on an additional assignment in order to cover the expenses that help support his invalid wife. Read full book review >
FLYING FINISH by Dick Francis
Released: June 21, 1967

"A lot of personnel disappear in various counteries, but Grey doesn't think much of it until he finds out enough to get himself killed too."
Dick Francis was off to a flying start with American mystery fans from the time he published his first book, Dead Cert, in 1962. Read full book review >
ODDS AGAINST by Dick Francis
Released: March 16, 1966

"Fast away."
England, like the rest of the civilized world, has a population expanding at the bottom and top of the age levels. Read full book review >
FOR KICKS by Dick Francis
Released: March 10, 1965

"A photo finish for suspense and well up to this author's last— Nerve."
Daniel Roke is the sort of gentleman detective it would be nice to meet again and again and .. Read full book review >
NERVE by Dick Francis
Released: March 25, 1964

"He is one of several jockeys being hounded out of racing by unfounded, untraceable rumors about his personal character. Finn decides to right back. He determines to do to his persecutor everything that has been done to him. The pace of the races and the build up of the revenge plot that Finn institutes produces swift-reading suspense/mystery in an unusual setting."
Rob Finn, just hitting his stride as an up and coming steeplechase jockey, finds a wall that can't be jumped. Read full book review >
DEAD CERT by Dick Francis
Released: June 15, 1962

Murder on the track Lakes a special turn with amateur steeplechasing in England, and Alan York, from Australia, sticks with the course in trying to find the reasons for his best friend's dying on a jump. Read full book review >