New York Times best-selling author Felix Francis returns with the newest thriller in the Dick Francis tradition.
Jeff Hinkley is back for a third outing. Still a British Horseracing Authority investigator, Jeff has been seconded to the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency (FACSA), where he has been asked to find a mole in their organization, an informant who is passing on confidential information to those under suspicion in American racing. Jeff attends the Kentucky Derby with the FACSA team, accompanying the Special Agents on a raid to a horse trainer's barn at Churchill Downs. Things do not go well, and someone ends up dead. Then, on the morning of the derby itself, three of the most favored horses in the field fall sick in what Jeff considers are suspicious circumstances. Jeff goes in search of answers, taking on the undercover role of a groom on the backstretch at Belmont Park racetrack in New York. But he discovers far more than he was bargaining for, finding himself as the meat in the sandwich between FACSA and corrupt individuals who will stop at nothing, including murder, to capture the most elusive prize in world sport: the Triple Crown.
©2016 Felix Francis (P)2016 Recorded Books
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Over the years I have read many of the Dick Francis books. I have read some of those co-written with Felix. I think this is my second book written by Felix alone. I noted that this is a series, whereas Dick, wrote stand-alone books.
Our protagonist, Jefferson Hinkley, of the British Horseracing Association’s Integrity Service is asked by Tony Andretti, the Deputy director of the Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency, to investigate illegal doping, particularly by a trainer named Adam Mitchell. Andretti thinks there is a mole in his Agency. So, Hinkley goes in undercover during the Triple Crown events. A reporter looking into the issues is murdered.
The book is well written, the plot twists and turns while the suspense increases throughout the story. Francis compares the different customs between the British and American racing. I enjoyed learning some of these different customs and particularly looking at them from the British viewpoint.
Martin Jarvis does a great job narrating the book. Jarvis is an award winning British actor and voice over artist as well as audiobook narrator.
The plot was ridiculous--the Deputy Director of a Federal (US) law enforcement agency needs a British agent to explain basic security rules/US law/investigative techniques? REALLY? The plot was bad enough, but the author has obvious contempt for everything American--contempt for law enforcement, the racing community, rich people--you name it! In fairness, he was also disparaging of Puerto Rican and Mexicans! The author should set his future books in England.
Martin Jarvis rally struggled with the reading in this book. especially his Hispanic who sounded more like a Japanese interpretation. That said I have listened to many of his recordings and this was by far the worst. Wish I could say it was just his Latino characters that suffered in this reading but also his Irish really did not sound much Irish.
Felix Francis has inherited his Dad's penchant for not quite making his American characters speak like Americans. This book is rife with syntactical tics and the occasional 'car park' for parking lot - nothing new for a Francis novel. Infortunately Martin Jarvis (normally my favorite audiobook narrator) also lacks a credible American accent of any kind - let alone the Mexican, New York and Puerto Rican accents the story requires.
On the other hand, I've never met a horse racing mystery I didn't like, and the actual story didn't disappoint me at all.
This time around, our British racing investigator Jeff Hinkley is on loan to America to check into some shady doings in FACSA, the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency. He goes undercover as a groom, and finds that someone will do just about anything to ensure their horse wins the Triple Crown. One of the best things about this entry is that we get to see Jeff's impressions about the United States and racing here as opposed to England.
I've been a big fan of the Dick Francis books for years, and enjoyed the previous books Felix Francis wrote. Triple Crown is a real winner--great story and likable main character that really evoked the old Francis franchise. Well done.
I love Dick and Frances books, but this one was disappointing. The reader was boring. Throwing in "informational" facts for once didn't advance the storyline, and the climax was boring and tedious. The worst part was our "hero" was boring. The worst part was the climatic ending. I felt the storylines were rapped up due to a deadline to get to print. The more I think about the war the story ended, the more insipid and disappointing it becomes. I only hope this is a blip in an amazing series.
I enjoyed the story. Felix Francis had donned his father's mantle well.
The narrator moved effortlessly from English to American to Irish accents. His voice talents are remarkable.
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