26.9.12

Book Recommendation: Silks by Dick Francis and Felix Francis

There are few thriller writers who have had such long and distinguished careers as Dick Francis, and his lengthy series of books (with their zesty recreations of the racing world) are among many readers' favourite novels in the genre. Recently, ill-health seemed to threaten the author's reliable productivity, and the death of his wife (who had long been a behind-the-scenes collaborator on his books) made it appear that the golden days of the Dick Francis racing thriller were firmly in the past. However, here is Silks, the result of a collaboration between Dick Francis and his son Felix -- and it will be a welcome arrival for the legions of Francis admirers.


Julian Trent is found guilty of a violent unprovoked attack on an innocent family and a charge of attempted murder. He is accused by the judge of showing no remorse for his actions, but receives a remarkably light sentence. Surprisingly, this news is not welcome to his defence barrister, Geoffrey Mason, who was secretly hoping for a more severe judgement against his client, whom he does not like. Mason is a part-time jockey (this is a novel with Dick Francis's name on the jacket, after all), and when Mason dons his racing silks and travels to Sandown to follow his real passion -- riding a thoroughbred in a heated steeplechase -- he finds that he cannot leave the violence that is often the bread and butter of his profession behind him A fellow rider is savagely killed by a pitchfork driven through the chest, and there is a persuasive amount of evidence against champion jockey Steve Mitchell as the killer, but Mason becomes involved -- and finds all the various aspects of his life coalescing in a lethal fashion.

Dick Francis has 41 novels under his belt, and remains the consummate thriller practitioner. Felix, his son, had helped with the research on his father's novels over the last 40 years (notably Twice Shy, Shattered and Under Orders). Silks is their second full collaboration after Dead Heat, and should provides Francis aficionados with all the elements they've grown accustomed to. --Barry Forshaw

Available from Amazon

19.9.12

Book Recommendation: A Game of Proof by Tim Vicary

A mother's worst nightmare - can her son be guilty of murder?

Sarah Newby, who left school at 15, and was living as a teenage single parent on an inner-city estate, has worked her way up to begin a career as a criminal barrister. Then in a terrible irony her own son, Simon, is arrested and charged with a series of brutal rapes and murders. The evidence against him appears so strong that his QC advises a guilty plea, but Simon swears he is innocent and begs his mother take on his defence. There is no law against a mother representing her son, so Sarah agrees. The only other obvious suspect for the murders, however, is a man who has already been acquitted once - with Sarah acting as his defence lawyer ...

Has Sarah, in her single-minded determination to create a career for herself, neglected her son so much that she no longer knows him? Since he has often lied to her in the past, how can she trust him when he says he is innocent this time? And what should she do when she herself uncovers evidence that seems to suggest his guilt?

It seems that telling the whole truth must be weighed in the balance against keeping certain information well hidden ...

Available from Amazon

12.9.12

Book Recommendation: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


What do a dead cat, a computer whiz-kid, an Electric Monk who believes the world is pink, quantum mechanics, a Chronologist over 200 years old, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet), and pizza have in common? Apparently not much; until Dirk Gently, self-styled private investigator, sets out to prove the fundamental interconnectedness of all things by solving a mysterious murder, assisting a mysterious professor, unravelling a mysterious mystery, and eating a lot of pizza – not to mention saving the entire human race from extinction along the way (at no extra charge). To find out more, read this book (better still, buy it, then read it) – or contact Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. ‘A thumping good detective-ghost-horror-whodunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy epic.’ The author

Available from Amazon

5.9.12

Book Recommendation: Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster

When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships create a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth is uncovered it can save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.

"This story was inspired by a case my husband handled. As a superior court judge he had to sentence a minor to life in prison. It made me wonder how I felt about minors arrested for violent crimes. Are they most vulnerable among us - capable or horrible violence, perceived as adults and yet emotionally still children?" Rebecca Forster (rebeccaforster.com)

"An enthralling read, with colorful, well-developed characters and the unique atmosphere of the California beach communities." Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

"Blending complex psychological character portraits with spot-on accurage courtroom drmaa, Forster's riveting legal thriller keeps the plot twists coming until the last, satisfying page." - Alafair Burke

Available From Amazon