Danny Roke decides to take a risky job as a stable boy in Britain to try to discover how it is horses are performing so well without any sign of doping. Hired by the executives of the steeplechase organization, he plays his part well, but almost to the loss of everything. Dick Francis weaves another book with interesting characters and an astounding twist in the midst of the finale. Even though dated (hey, with a cell phone, the whole finale would never have happened!), it's still a well-crafted mystery. At 40+ years, it still holds up!
One of the first Dick Francis books. Very good!!
Dick Francis at his best. Daniel Roke, English-born but raised in Australia, owns and operates an Australian stud farm and supports his 3 younger siblings. But he feels trapped by the farm and his duties. An English Steeplechase racing official persuades him to go undercover in England as a stable lad to learn how race horses are being drugged (with a drug undetectable by labs). A suspenseful, exciting, and fascinating read.
Francis always writes a good mystery.
A successful Australian horse farm owner & trainer goes undercover as a British stableboy to expose a horse doping scam. Fascinating, fast-paced & gripping. Read it in a day!
STORY CENTERS AROUND TWO GIRLS FRIENDSHIP WHICH OUTLASTS YEARS AND EMOTIONAL ATTRACTION TO THE SAME MAN.
You have to have read a couple of Dick Francis' novels before you understand the author. In a way he stands alone, for as far as I can tell he has not overtly used other writers styles and no contemporary writer has used Francis as a primary influence. All of Francis' books follow a similar arc, from one to the next, you know exactly what you will get. But in a strange way, this is not bothersome, instead it is like revisiting an old familiar and comfortable place.
Francis' books are not in a series format. He only uses the same character for a second time once. In his first ten or so books, he uses a particular jockey to set his story around. And later he finds people of different professions that have racing interests to center stories around. This book, "For Kicks" is from the transitional phase, the late 60's, early 70's. It tells the story of Daniel Roke, a trainer from Australia who is hired to uncover a doping ring that is not being detected through traditional methods. Its a pretty simple story, and like all of Francis' work it is refreshingly understated. With James Patterson and Patricia Corn wells mammoth body counts and terrorizing serial killers, or end of the world scenarios a la Tom Clancy and too many others influencing todays reading lists, its amazing to see how much quiet tension builds up in Francis' stories.
I would highly recommend Francis to anyone. Its a fun world to live in for a while, where all of England revolves around the racing world... every other profession comes second. horses?
Dick Francis never disappoints. Great horse mystery per usual
From the Inside Flap
"The best thriller writer going."
Daniel Roke didn't want to leave his Australian stud farm to help look into an English horse-doping scandal. But there he was in England, taking over invetsigative duties vacated by a racing journalist who had died in a suspicious auto accident. And soon enough, Daniel learned that men who would give drugs to horses would do much worse to human beings....
I have read many historical romances in which horses are featured often. Although For Kicks is a modern day mystery, I could still follow the theme without difficulty. A couple of times I thought the book slowed, but generally liked it.
(a different cover)Proprietor of a stud farm in the breathtaking region of Australia's Snowy Mountians? Or a muck-raking stable boy in Yorkshire? The Earl of October persuades young Australian Danny Roke to accept the English alternative. It's the change of scene and the challenge that pushes Danny undercover, on the scent of a suspected racehorse dope scandal. But the pain involved, dealing with vicious swindlers and the Earl's two attractive daughters, could overturn all his pleasure in the chase.
One of my favorite Dick Francis stories. It really gives you a feeling for what a stable lad goes through in his day-to-day life, especially if he works for an unscrupulous trainer. Loved this book more than I can say. It's SO well written! An absolute page-turner.