Iced: A Dick Francis Novel

Felix Francis. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-63910-292-1

The entire life of Miles Pussett, the narrator of Francis’s subpar sixth solo addition to his father’s horse-racing series (after 2019’s Guilty Not Guilty), has been shaped by that of his father, Jim Pussett, a British steeplechase jockey champion. Jim died in a car accident when he steered his side of the vehicle into harm’s way to protect then 12-year-old Miles. Suffering from survivor’s guilt, Miles sets out to emulate his father’s success as a jockey, a career that’s threatened by his dependence on alcohol and comes to an end after an unfortunate incident. Seven years later, Miles competes in toboggan races in Switzerland, where on one occasion he winds up participating in the White Turf, a horse race run on an iced-over lake. Soon afterward, Miles is almost killed when someone puts a cement block in the path of his toboggan, forcing him to play sleuth to identify his adversary. The mystery element is minimal, and a clichéd and superficial romantic subplot undercuts the suspense. Hopefully, Francis will do better next time. Agent: Ed Wilson, Johnson & Alcock (U.K.). (July)
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