Shattered - Dick FrancisPan, 2001, Paperback.
Condition: Near Fine.
Few writers can lay claim to having made a genre entirely their own, but the racing thriller remains unassailably Dick Francis territory. And Shattered, as smoothly crafted a piece of entertainment as anything he has produced, is a reminder that despite various pretenders to the throne, he retains his crown--even the kafuffle regarding the authorship of his books (his wife apparently lent a hand at times) only increased his profile, with readers seemingly indifferent to this revelation. What is his secret? Primarily, of course, it's the author's finely honed narrative skills that immediately mark him out as a master entertainer--thrillers such as Rat Race, Smokescreen and Trial Run bristle with energy and momentum. The ace in the hole is that satisfying sense of insider knowledge in his plots, however implausible they are. Shattered once again conveys that the equestrian world is quite as dangerous as Colin Dexter's Groves of Academe: jockey Martin Stukely dies after a fall in a steeplechase at Cheltenham races, and his friend, artist Gerald Logan, finds that the dead man has a connection to a stolen videotape with mysterious (and highly valuable) contents. Logan is more familiar with the problems of glass-blowing than violence and extortion, but he is soon undergoing a crash course in survival techniques as some very malignant heavies target him. 304pp.