Ned Talbot is a small-time bookmaker on the edge of giving it all up when his world is turned upside down by a man who claims to be his father, long thought dead. And when the mysterious stranger is murdered, Ned feels compelled to find out exactly what is going on. But the more he discovers, the longer the odds become for his survival.
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I wanted to love this. What’s not to love about a new Dick Francis, right? But I’m sad to say I only liked it. Our typical Dick Francis hero is there with an interesting profession, family problems, a mystery to puzzle through, and villains to defeat. But for some reason the story never completely pulled me in. I still recommend this for any and all Dick Francis fans, but I have to say that while it’s not my least favorite Dick Francis, it also doesn’t make my list of favorite Francis mysteries.
One thing I did find very interesting were all the references to current technology. Ned Talbot (and Felix Francis, I’m sure) is certainly up-to-date with technology and the Internet. There are references to Google, Google Earth, Facebook, microcoders and RFID (radio-frequency identification), the computerized Hawk-Eye system (in tennis), SIM cards in cell phones, Wi-Fi, and E-FIT (Electronic Facial Identification Technique). There have been several other Dick Francis mysteries with computers, gadgets, and even the Internet, but none of them have been quite so loaded with it as this one.