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Silks by Dick Francis - Book Review


Dick Francis and Felix Francis

Fiction-Net Rating 4 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

When defence barrister Geoffrey Mason hears the judge's guilty verdict, he quietly hopes that a long custodial sentence will be handed down to his arrogant young client. That Julian Trent receives only eight years seems all too lenient. Little does Mason expect that he'll be seeing Trent again much sooner than he'd ever imagined.

Setting aside his barrister's wig, Mason heads to Sandown to don his racing Silks. An amateur jockey, his true passion is to be found in the saddle but when a fellow rider is brutally murdered, the prime suspect is champion jockey Steve Mitchell.

Mason soon finds himself fighting a battle of right and wrong and, more immediately, a battle of life and death - his own.

We Say

Silks is the first novel written with significant input by Dick's youngest son, Felix. Previously, Felix had assisted in the research of many of Dick Francis novel's but following the author's death in February 2010, his son has taken over the Francis legacy.

Accomplished barrister Geoffrey Mason enjoys his day job but his real passion is horse racing. Long court days are quenched when Mason puts on his racings silks, ready for the freedom and thrill of the race. Although an amateur jockey, in the changing rooms Mason is surrounded by professionals - there is no love lost between these highly competitive sportsmen. Jealous rivalry is abundant.

Jockey Scott Barlow is found dead, all the evidence points to the murderer being fellow jockey Steve Mitchell. The weapon is a pitch fork which belongs to Mitchell, betting slips in his name are found on the spikes of the fork and DNA from the victim are found both on his boots and in his car. Mitchell swears he is being framed but he also has motive.

Mitchell is arrested and requests Geoffrey Mason's help but the defence barrister doesn't particularly want to help and arranges for a fellow lawyer to assist Mitchell. Mason begins to receive anonymous and menacing threats, instructing him to do as he is told. A hand-posted letter orders Mason to take the Steve Mitchell case and lose it. Mason, and his loved ones, are in danger. Will justice be served?

Silks, true to the Francis form, offers suspense, twists and turns that will keep you guessing throughout. Well researched information of both the racing world and the world of law help maintain a healthy level of interest - much of the information being gathered from the writer's own experiences.

The only slight qualm I have with Silks is that at times there is rather too much "I said, he said, I said, he said", which was obviously enough for me to notice it and comment - quite annoying and it distracted from an otherwise enjoyable novel.

Silks will supply you with more than just a good read. This is an intelligent crime thriller with a dose of added romance that will likely make you want to read more Dick Francis novels.

Review by: Toni Watkins

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