Iced by Felix Francis

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Iced by Felix Francis

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Peter Magee
Reviewed by Peter Magee
Summary: A departure from the usual style of the franchise creates a book which is a rewarding, if slow-burning-read. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: September 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1471196614

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Miles Pussett used to be a Steeplechase jockey but those days are past and he now gets his thrills from hurling head-first down the three-quarter-mile Cresta Run, occasionally reaching eighty miles an hour. He was in St Moritz the same weekend as White Turf - that's high-class horseracing on the frozen lake and against his better judgement he gets talked into helping with the saddling of the horses. It's seven years since he put horseracing behind him and he swore that he'd never go back to it. But when he sees that something suspicious is going on, Miles can't help but look for answers, even when it puts him in danger.

Miles' father was a champion jockey and he died in a car accident when Miles was twelve years old. Since then Miles has endured flashbacks and feelings of guilt because he survived the accident which killed his father. It might have been different if he'd had the same sort of success that his father had earned. It's a slow burn book and you're going to learn quite a lot about the problems of addiction and alcoholism along with the attendant mental health issues. It's pretty obvious that Miles Pussett is suffering from PTSD and the character is a brave choice for Felix Francis, whose heroes have usually been rather more immediately capable. It was another brave choice to centre so much of the book on Miles' struggles with his mental health.

There is a horseracing element but it's not so prominent as it has been in earlier novels, both by Felix and his father, Dick Francis. We do get to see the thrills and dangers of riding racehorses - and the disappointment of owners and trainers when they lose. The other side of this coin is the insight into the tricks that some trainers will employ to ensure that their horses are unable to win a particular race: what they have in mind is that the horse will have a better chance next time out so that a gamble can be landed at a good price. There's a real feeling of being inside the racing industry.

I notice that the title of the book is Iced: A Dick Francis Novel and I wonder how relevant this is now. The style of the books has changed (for the better, I think) since they were under the sole authorship of Dick Francis and it is eleven years since Francis senior died. Perhaps the time has come to drop the link.

I did enjoy the book and I look forward to reading the next in the series. For a horseracing autobiography, we can recommend Winner: My Racing Life by A P McCoy.

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Buy Iced by Felix Francis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Iced by Felix Francis at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

Buy Iced by Felix Francis at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Iced by Felix Francis at Amazon.com.

Iced by Felix Francis Check prices, read reviews or buy from Foyles. Foyles currently charges £2.99 (first class £3.99) for orders under £25, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Foyles bookshop at no charge.

Iced by Felix Francis Check prices, read reviews or buy from Waterstones. Waterstones currently charges from £2.75 for orders under £20, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Waterstones bookshop at no charge.

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