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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 Felix Francis (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"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." ( Booklist)
"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tracey
  • craigmore, Australia
  • 09-22-14

refusal

What made the experience of listening to Refusal the most enjoyable?

felix and dick francis book are a good listen the narrator brings the book to life

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

it was interesting good story plot

What about Martin Jarvis’s performance did you like?

very similar to tony britton in the reading style

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

refuse and you die

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not his father

Dick Francis combined good plots, growing characters, excellent research on engaging topics, and excellent writing to produce easy reads that left readers satisfied. His son tries to copy his formula, but falls short on every single aspect. Sid Halley, Charles and Marina were complex and multifaceted and grew through the books, but stagnated here. The plots meandered. And the transplantation component was a sideline, so the research didn't come through.
In general, this book was a negative to the Francis brand, and even though Martin Jarvis is a good reader, he couldn't make up for the fact that the book was just poor.
I will read Felix's next attempt, because his father's legacy is good to continue. But if that is only twice as good as this one, I won't read the one after that.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Charles
  • 03-22-15

Dreadful pastiche of the Dick Francis style

What disappointed you about Refusal?

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.

What was most disappointing about Felix Francis’s story?

the result is that the whole book is interminably slow and has me practically shouting 'get on with it'.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

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.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Refusal?

All the internal monologues.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lee
  • 01-07-15

Story good, narrator disappointing

Another fast paced and enjoyable Sid Halley story from the Francis stable, if sometimes seeming more laboured than the original ones.

I did not like the narration though, not varied enough and the Michael Caine imitation voice of the police inspector drove me mad!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Squeaky Joe
  • 09-15-18

A stonking good yarn

Six years after investigator Sid Halley’s retirement, a request from racing authority chairman Sir Richard Stewart looks like pushing Sid back into the sleuthing game. But the former jockey-turned-detective has no desire to revive a line of work that got him shot, beaten up and thrown in the path of danger on a regular basis. With his wife and daughter to think about, Sid makes it clear he’s not interested in checking out a series of dodgy races. But when Sir Richard turns up dead, Sid may have to reconsider, and that’s before a mysterious Irishman starts making threatening phone calls.

After co-authoring a few books with Francis senior, Dick’s son Felix took up his father’s mantle in 2011 with his first novel ‘Gamble’. This is the fourth (of eight) and is also the fifth book featuring Sid Halley.

Years ago, I had a Dick Francis novel that sat on my bookshelf untouched for months, purely because I thought a book centred around horseracing wouldn’t interest me. So it was pure chance that I happened across ‘Refusal’ on Amazon while perusing something completely different. Though the first few pages intrigued me, I still wasn’t certain it was my cup of jockey’s tea, so opting for the audiobook version, I allowed the marvellous Martin Jarvis to garner my interest.

‘Refusal’ is a stonking good yarn that gives its hero plenty to keep him busy. With murder, kidnapping and arson on the agenda, the poor man is thrown from one impossible situation into another, with a villainous Irishman hovering over his shoulder at every turn. The plot spirals into a thrilling denouement where Halley’s future, and that of his family, could easily go up in flames.

Some knowledge of horseracing and betting might clarify the plot, but for a novice like me, these details are clearly explained by the author without over-egging the steeplechase custard. A great story with that’ll appeal to anyone who loves a mystery.

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  • Doug
  • 08-19-18

Dark and nasty

It is generally a rather unpleasant story all round. Well read, though some of the characters all sound the same.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • iThink2018
  • 05-13-18

Brilliant novel, Brilliant narrator!

Loved this fast-paced, beautifully read novel!! Have already downloaded my next Dick Francis, read by Martin Jarvis, and already searching for other books read by Martin Jarvis! Listened to Refusal over two days: addictive! Paused only to sleep, shop and work!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • andrew thompson
  • 05-13-18

good old sid

another great sid story let's hope there are some more.. brilliant story writing well done

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • L. K. Mcbride
  • 04-11-18

Gripping!

Loved the story. Took me a while to get use to the narrator's voice portrayal of Marina.. sounded more like Victor Meldrew!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • MoBotRio
  • 08-29-17

A brilliant Sid Halley book

From start to finish well paced & kept my interest. A further installment of the Sid Halley series worthy of it's place. Recommended.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Angela
  • 08-27-17

Dick Francis modernised!

Although slower to start than most DF adventures, the pace soon picked up and the story was gripping. It was good to hear Sidcup Halley using a mobile phone and still managing to keep us in suspense! Martin Jarvis did a great range of voices.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • sheba WL
  • 07-27-17

exciting and entertaining

This story was entertaining and exciting. It was not quite as good as an original Dick Francis novel

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  • Froste1979
  • 01-28-15

Not Dick

This is the first of the "Felix" Francis books I have read, it was ok, but no where near the standard of his fathers earlier novels.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tony
  • 09-11-18

Terrific.

Just as good as a Dick Francis book. Well worth it. I couldn't stop listening.