©1981 Dick Francis; (P)2001 Chivers Audio Books
Dick Francis is wonderful and if you like him, you'll enjoy this book. But if you are new to Dick Francis, you'll find this a bit slow and boring. Read about 15 other Dick Francis titles before this one (there are plenty of awesome books to choose from).
This book goes into detail about computers: the early PC. Imagine reading aloud BASIC code. That's what happens in this book. Dull. There is a LOT of discussion about putting computer code on cassette tapes...over the course of 15 years! Not realistic, and a bit dull.
The book is divided into two related but quite distinct parts. The first section is a complete novel.
Likes intelligent mysteries, spy thrillers, world history, most anything Roman. Hates bad writing.
Dick Francis is always at his best writing about what he knows: jockeys, horses, and horseracing. Unfortunately, this book spends most of its time describing in excrutiating (and generally not very well-informed) detail computer technology circa 1980s that is used to construct a betting system that predictably becomes the McGuffin of the plot. It also features an unbelievably vengeful psychopath as an antagonist that any self-respecting protagonist would have done away with whenever he had the chance. Instead the guy keeps popping up in a way that would be unintentionally funny if it were not so annoying. There are many other Francis books that show off his experience and knowledge of horseracing.
I have never not enjoyed Dick Francis. And he's written so many that I've listened to them more than once and enjoyed them as much as the first time.
But this one is the only one actually divided into 2 stories w a tenuous link, and I think it suffers from that set-up. There just isn't time for the development of character and motive that he is justly famous for.
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