Triple Crown by Felix Francis
|Triple Crown by Felix Francis|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Jeff Hinkley's on secondment to an anti-corruption-in-sport agency in the USA. A real page-turner, with great characters and superb locations. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: September 2016|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
|External links: Author's website|
You couldn't say that Jeff Hinkley, a British Horseracing Authority investigator, was having a midlife crisis, but now that he's not working as an undercover agent quite so much he's not getting the same satisfaction from the job. That was one of the reasons he was delighted to be seconded to the US Federal Anti-Corruption in Sports Agency where the Deputy Director is pretty sure that there's a mole in the organisation. Too many raids have been foiled by the target seeming to know what was going to happen and having the chance to clean up before the investigators arrived. There's not too much to keep Hinkley in the UK, apart from a sister with cancer who says that he should go.
It seems that the FACSA man, Tony Andretti is right, but it's difficult to follow up from the agency end and Hinkley decides that he'll go undercover as a groom in racing stables on the backstretch at Belmont Park. He's chosen his stable carefully: there's a horse in the stable in with a chance at the Triple Crown - winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, a feat achieved by only the best racehorses. If there's going to anything illegal going on, it could well be in George Raworth's stables, as the financial benefits to both the owner and the trainer of a triple crown horse run into millions.
I really enjoyed Front Runner, my first book by Felix Francis. He seemed to have all the inside knowledge of the racing industry which his father, Dick Francis, had displayed as well as the ability to spin a good tale. I've a mild interest in the racing industry in the UK, so I like a story with an authentic feel, but I was less certain about how much I was going to enjoy a thriller set in the USA. I mean, they race on dirt there and it's just not the same. So, how would I get on, particularly when FACSA is fictional?
Well, I needn't have worried. Francis is a master of giving you all the background that you'll need in an enjoyable way and I learned a lot about how the racing industry runs in the USA without ever feeling that I was being lectured. And what a great story: all the excitement of three major race meetings, the race for the triple crown and the search for the FACSA mole. When it got to the final pages I really couldn't see how it was all going to work out, but it did and in a very satisfactory manner.
It's not just a great story in well-evoked locations, either. It's a day or so since I finished reading the book and I'm conscious of being concerned about Jeff Hinkley in the way you worry about someone you know really well who's facing a crossroads in their life. I want him to be happy in what he's doing! I really bought into not just his character, but all the others too. The book's a winner.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
The two books by Felix Francis which I've read both read well as standalones and they're reasonably free from spoilers (unless knowing the name of his girlfriend at the start of Triple Crown counts as the mildest of spoilers), so if you've enjoyed this book I'm sure that you'd also enjoy Front Runner.
You can read more book reviews or buy Triple Crown by Felix Francis at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Triple Crown by Felix Francis at Amazon.com.
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