Dead Heat: Horse Racing ThrillerHardback
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- Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd
- Format: Hardback | 384 pages
- Dimensions: 154mm x 232mm x 38mm | 721g
- Publication date: 6 September 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0718153650
- ISBN 13: 9780718153656
- Sales rank: 520,942
'I wondered if I was dying. I wasn't afraid to die but, such was the pain in my gut, I wished it would happen soon.' The night before the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket sees the great and the good of the horse-racing community gathered for a prestigious black-tie Gala dinner. It is a fitting testament to the glamour of the occasion that top chef Max Moreton is cooking the evening's meal. Max is something of a celebrity in Newmarket circles. He is founder of the racing town's favourite Michelin-starred restaurant, the Hay Net.However, spending the night retching in the throes of agony is the last thing Max expects. But much worse is to come ...his food is suspected of putting twenty-four of the dinner guests in hospital. Max's pride and professionalism tells him all is not as it seems. Within hours, Max's restaurant is forcibly closed, his reputation teeters on the brink of ruin, and a court case looms. But the day is far from over, and soon Max Moreton finds himself desperately fighting for more than just his livelihood..."Dead Heat" is the latest searing, intrigue-filled blockbuster from the Grand Master of thriller writing.
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Dick Francis has written forty novels, a volume of short stories (Field of 13), his autobiography (The Sport of Queens) and the biography of Lester Piggott. He is rightly acclaimed as one of the greatest thriller writers in the world. Felix Francis is the younger of Dick's two sons. Having spent 17 years teaching A-level Physics he took on the role of managing his father's affairs in 1991. With Dead Heat, Felix takes on a more significant role in the writing, assisting his father with the production of the latest instalment of the Dick Francis catalogue.
Legendary racing-mystery master Francis (Shattered, 2000, etc.) partners with son Felix to bring mayhem of many kinds to the Newmarket track.After a night he's spent huddled over his toilet sick as a dog, it's no consolation to restaurateur Max Moreton to learn that he hasn't been alone. Virtually everyone at the party at the Hay Net, his racing-themed restaurant, has become ill. Soon enough, longtime patrons begin to cancel their reservations; the Cambridge County Council seals his kitchen; and violist Caroline Aston, whose quartet had played at the party, announces her plans to sue him. By that time, however, Max already has bigger problems. A bomb planted in the stands at the 2,000 Guineas, a high-profile race run the day after the debacle at the Hay Net, has killed 19 and sent dozens more to the hospital. Are the two incidents connected, and if so, how? It doesn't take Max long to satisfy himself that his meal was sabotaged by the unboiled kidney beans someone introduced into a sauce that didn't call for them. But why would anyone seek to poison 250 diners the night before detonating a bomb? Working with Caroline Aston, who's morphed rapidly and improbably from legal antagonist to lover, Max focuses on the people who attended the party but not the race. Soon enough, some conscientious sleuthing and lucky breaks reveal an ingenious smuggling plot Max is determined to end - that is, if the powers arrayed against him don't succeed in killing him first by means of arson or a car crash or a polo mallet or another bomb.Clunky expository dialogue tells you more than you probably want to know about food preparation and concertizing. But the mystery is engaging, and durable Max is a worthy addition to Francis's gallery of racetrack detectives. (Kirkus Reviews)