Wild Horses

Dick Francis, Author
Dick Francis, Author Putnam $22.95 (319p) ISBN 978-0-399-13974-1
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For his 33rd-and quite splendid-novel, Francis (Decider) adds to his usual horse-racing setting a backdrop involving feature filmmaking. As usual, though, it's murder most foul and mayhem most brilliant for this English master. In the Suffolk city of Newmarket, Thomas Lyon is for the first time directing a film featuring an American megastar. Based on a bestselling book, the movie concerns a still unexplained, 26-year-old death by hanging of a young horse trainer's wife. The wife's sister, niece and nephew are vehemently opposed to the film, while the book's author, who's also the screenwriter, is opposed to any changes in his plot. The megastar's double is attacked, a murder occurs, Thomas gets death threats and finds himself in great peril. How Francis has him solve the assorted mysteries and achieve a satisfactory ending for his film is nothing short of dazzling. Francis puts his novel together in the same way a movie is constructed, with out-of-sequence scenes, dissolves and brilliant images. He offers wonderful set pieces and moves his large and colorful cast with the aplomb of a seasoned director. Even better, in Thomas Lyon he has created a representative of a vanishing, even endangered, fictional species: the thoroughly decent chap we care about. A tip-top thriller, this could make the best movie about movies since The Stunt Man. BOMC main selection; author tour. (Sept.)
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