Blood Sport
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Blood Sport

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  3,301 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Released with new cover art is this novel about a man who gets more than he bargains for when his boss asks him to locate a missing priceless breeding stallion. He attracts the affection of his boss's daughter, advances from a millionaire's wife, and the deadly attention of horse thieves.
Paperback, 277 pages
Published October 1st 1999 by Jove (first published 1967)
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What is there to say about Dick Francis? As I think about all of his books (yes, this review covers all of his books, and yes I've read them all) I think about a moral ethical hero, steeped in intelligence and goodness embroiled in evil machinations within British horse racing society - either directly or indirectly. The heroes aren't always horse jockies, they can be film producers, or involve heroes engaged in peripheral professions that somehow always touch the horse racing world.

But more tha...more
Since this book was originally published in 1967, in many ways it seemed like a step back to a simpler time for me. A time with simple technologies, no sex, no cussing, and very mild violence. The story centers around the search for 3 missing breeding stallions, and it was made interesting even for someone who knows very little about the world of horse racing and breeding. Gene is also a rather unconventional leading man — mysterious (you never quite find out what it is he actually does for work...more
Claire Sgyreju
I think I tend to prefer Dick Francis novels that don't actually take place on a racecourse or in which the main character is not a jockey - most likely because, surprisingly perhaps for a Dick Francis fan, I have no interest in horse racing.

Gene Hawkins, the main character of this novel, works in counter-espionage - he's definitely not James Bond or Jason Bourne, but he does have a rather specific set of unusual skills that come to good use in the course of the story. This, certainly, is one of...more
This book has an interesting plot and the main character thinks up a couple of smart tricks to first solve the riddle of disappeared horses and then to find who took them and why.

I've now read this book three times, the last time was ten years ago and what an interesting thing a mind is - I had very little recollection of the story. So I was able to enjoy this as a "new" book by Dick Francis, who is one of my favourite authors! How nice!
Most of the time I can enjoy a decent crime novel even if the particular subject matter does not interest me that much. This book failed to live up to my expectations.

Horse racing and horses in general do not hold any fascination to me and thus the background of this book was not that interesting. But that was not the main failing of this book. The main problem was that it was too much of a simplistic linear police procedural, where clue 'A' led to clue 'B' and so on. You never discover what the...more
C.E. Murphy
This is Francis's 5th book, as far as I can tell (which is done by looking at the copyright date and subtracting from the first year he was published, so I'm reasonably close, anyway). It's still unquestionably got his knack for astonishingly adept descriptions with a handful of words, but it's more verbose than I think any of the later books I've read. This is not a complaint, just an observation: my feeling is that as he got better, he pared the books down to their essence, making them tour de...more
Deirdre S.
More moving than I expected, though Francis' understated books often are. In this case the viewpoint character is suicidally depressed, chronically unattached and uses the dangers of his covert-ops-type job to keep himself engaged enough to struggle through one more day after another. Ironically, it is how painful and personal the cost of
his succeeding at this particular job turns out to be that brings him to the point of being willing to re-engage with life, and other people for the first time...more
Deb Greening
Apr 05, 2013 Deb Greening rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Any mystery lover
Shelves: favorites
Have read all of Dick Francis' books and, particularly with the earlier ones, one thing I particularly liked is that he treated his readers are intelligent people - no need for paragraphs describing things - he just made them happen and put the reader right in the thick of it! All of his books have something to do with horses: the protagonist is an owner, trainer, jockey, writer, pilot, or any number of other race horse related employments. Before he wrote books, Dick Francis was a jockey, and i...more
Francis, Dick - 6th book

Gene Hawkings must travel to Kentucky, on the orders of his boss, to spend three weeks looking for kidnapped stallions. But before he leaves, Gene's survival skills are called on closer to home, catapulting him into a maelstrom of blackmail and murder.

I wasn't quite as taken by this book as his others. The protagonist didn't speak to me in the same way.
This is the first Dick Francis novel I've read and it was a huge surprise. I would never have picked it up but it was a book club choice so I gave it a go. I really enjoyed it. It was well paced with rounded and interesting characters and a satisfying plot. Even though it was written in 1967 it didn't feel dated. I will definitely read more.
I loved Dick Francis back in the 80's so I'm sure I read this one. It came across as the Deal of the Day so I thought I'd give it a try. I almost quit at the start as I didn't like the narrator's voice at all but I stuck with it. I have to admit the story felt very dated and the hero's conflict--whether or not to kill himself--never rang true. I'm not sure if it was the bad narration, if this wasn't one of his best or if this is a series that I should just remember fondly and not rev...more
M. Patrick
Dick Francis died in 2010, but he left us an entire library of Crime Fiction. What is amazing to me about his life is that he was a successful jockey, journalist, and author after quitting school at 16. Blood Sport is the story of an intelligence officer grieving over a lost love who is tasked with finding three missing thorough bred horses. The story is engaging and the characters are multidimensional. His prose is lyrical and his images vivid. I only thought it little darker than it needed to...more
My sister and I listened to this on a weekend road trip. Perfect for the car. We both love Dick Francis and this one didn't disappoint (except for one unexpected death late in the story). Especially fun that some of the story was set in Wyoming - Rock Springs, the Tetons, Jackson Hole... we lived there in the mid-1970's.
Megan Kelly
Very British mystery, though most of the action takes place in America. The hero is desperately depressed which took away some of the enjoyment for me. The story otherwise is a clever tale of deception in the world of race horses.
You don't realise how long ago a book you're reading was written until they talk about identifying horses based on blood types and you're thinking, why don't you just do a simple DNA test. Then you turn to the page to see when it was first published and realise that an interesting book stays interesting even though it was written AGES ago. I really enjoyed the story. It was a good summer read.

one of the better efforts from the racetrack specialist. an unusual hero, still the quiet but strong introverted one, highly intelligent and self-reliant, but this time one burdened by a crippling depression. The bad guy is more in line with the usual Francis typecast : moneyed, smooth, greedy, less prone to violence than in other books. Also typical is the presence of a very appealing female companion.
The plot is of course about racehorses, and the setting moves from the Thames riverbanks to Ke...more
This Francis book had a complex and interesting plot and IMHO a good representation of suicidal depression. It made me wonder if Francis himself ever suffered from depression. Unfortunately the plot was a bit dated, since the major swindle could never be carried out in these days of simple DNA analysis, but setting that quibble aside it was quite an enjoyable installment in the Francis series.

Simon Prebble narrated the recording I listened to. He's a fine British narrator in general. Unfortunate...more
The book seemed a bit fast-paced for what spanned over many weeks. Although I would have wished for stronger connections between the protagonists and the other characters I have to say this book did have its wow factor. I found it kind of odd, yet amazing, how Gene was able to deduce so many clues from things that I would have found ordinary or useless during investigations. It was nice to see how someone could always think two steps ahead of the game. Overall, I hardly felt any emotional attach...more
Ismael Ali
This book was a refresher from all the bland sameness that infect a lot of books I tend to read. The pacing was great, starting off a bit slowly but getting quicker and quicker as the book progressed. Something I really enjoyed about this book was the portrayal of Gene, the protagonist. He was a borderline suicidal, but not because of depression, but just because he has become BORED with LIFE. Honestly he is this bad-ass who knows his way with people but simply got bored and spent a big chunk of...more
Melanie Collins
It was ok, suspenseful enough but predictable.
I always enjoy reading a good Dick Francis novel. They are pretty clean, the language isn't too bad, and not a lot of sex.... Sometimes I even reread the books, because it's like being with a friend you haven't seen in several years. I really enjoy the characters he uses, Syd in this book. Guess I've always had a little crush on him, and I also enjoy the series he writes about too. I'm not a gambler, but I really enjoy watching them live, as well as on screen. There is a certain excitement that...more
Debra S
I think I prefer the mysteries that take place closer to the track, but this was also an entertaining read. I have to admit, that having a main character who doesn't care whether they live or die made the ending more poignant. I would recommend to people who are already fans of Dick Francis, and others depending on many variables.

Good weekend read, just what I wanted.
I'm omnivorous when it comes to books. I don't think I have ever read anything in this genre, so I thought I would try it. I was slightly disappointed that there was no mystery here. It was suspenseful, and the characters are interesting. The main character is a miserable sort who muses repeatedly about death and his desire for oblivion. I tired of that.
A Jackson, Wyoming dude ranch is the setting for this one. I liked it enormously! I've spent a bit of time in Jackson and in the other parts of the American desert West Francis uses for the setting of this book, and I think that was a draw. It is a particularly good sample of Francis's writing. Gene Hawkins is the hero.
I quite enjoyed this book. It is a very early Dick Francis, and it shows, just due to the age of the writing, and the technology (or more correctly, the almost complete lack of it) portrayed in it. The book moved along at a steady pace, with plenty of action to keep me turning pages, and the chapters were a nice length.
I liked the mysteriousness of the leading character. I would enjoy more of him. I enjoyed the Kentucky settings as I know that horse country. I always enjoy Dick Francis's books. I enjoyed this one. Not a lot of depth. Not any surprises. What made this book was the main character's inner struggles. Glad I read it.
Allen Caraway
A masterpiece. Despite Francis's love of adverbs (which are thankfully nowhere near as prevalent in this book as they are in later novels, Blood Sport is still a brilliant story, beautifully written and with excellent characterizations. One of my all time favorite Dick Francis books. I re-read it every year or so.
Early book that had been referred to in several of his later books that feature Syd the ex jockey minus one hand. This is the story that tells how the crippled hand became no hand. Love the characters and understanding their early relationships to each other made the later books feel more complete/rich.
Interesting story. Had some good twists and turns. It was sad that Walt was killed. The main character
seemed to carry the depression too far; altho the time element in the loss of his love was not
noted--I thought the depression was too much. I liked the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love a damaged hero, and it's nice that Dick Francis makes his characters attractive. The plot was interesting, and I liked that the setting changed to the United States, places I've been too (not that I don't like British settings).
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Dick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.

* Sid Halley Mystery
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