Authors: Dick Francis & Felix Francis
Genres: mystery, thriller, fiction, crime, suspense
Short summary of the story: We open up with a chef, Max Moreton, having his usual life and celebrating the success of his restaurant. Then things happen which cause mayhem - a case of food poisoning at his restaurant (bad for business especially with a restaurant) and then, while at a race course, a bomb explodes while he is present. Is he the person responsible for this -- did he cause the food poisoning or detonate the bom? Of course not, but then the story deepens and delves into personalities and occurrences and he has to work to clear his name, all the while not getting killed himself (as when the brakes on his car are sabotaged). The mysteries are solved and resolved, though, and 'good' triumphs in the end. ...
Good points / bad points:
I had to drag myself through this book. Dick Francis is a favorite author of mine and I opened the book with the idea that here would be another great 'Dick Francis' book, albeit co-authored with his son, Felix Francis.
Goodread has this to say about Dead Heat
One of the people who read the book, and gave it a 1-star rating said this:Max Moreton is a rising culinary star and his Newmarket restaurant, The Hay Net, has brought acclaim. But two disasters fall. Food poisoning fells banquet attendees, and a bomb explodes the private boxes at a race, killing guests and employees.
I gave it a 2-star rating, just because ... Dick Francis. But I'd never have finished the book if it wasn't for wanting to have it for the Book Bingo and one of the categories I needed to fill! I'd tried it twice, and it just was NOT a 'Dick Francis' book.A very interesting read, for one particular reason: this can't be Dick Francis. All the surface pieces are here that indicate a Francis novel: the the understated tone, the careful plot, the (yawn) quietly brilliant protagonist. And yet all of the essential elements that make Francis so GOOD, that extra layer of... substance, are absolutely missing. The wry, unassuming humor, the deft characterizations, the simple insights into people and situations. Nada. If you really like Dick Francis, you might want to avoid this novel; it will give you the willies. Kind of like meeting up with an old friend who's just had a lobotomy.
Evidently this is one of the first books he wrote after his wife (who was said to be his inspiration) died. A theory (with which I agree) is that maybe his son (Felix Francis) wanted him to do something to get out of the depression of Mary dying. Thing is, there is a lot of speculation and agreement that much of what Dick Francis wrote was not only inspired by Mary, but actually co-written (or written) by her. I've no idea -- but there is no 'substance' to this story. There is none of the flavour of the "really nice person to whom strange (and terrible) things happen and he somehow gets out of the situation and triumphs over terrible odds" feeling while reading it or after reading it.