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For Kicks

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,475 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Common sense said that the whole idea was crazy...but when offered huge sums of money to move to England and help the Earl of October uncover a suspected racehorse dope scandal, Danny Roke finds the proposal intriguing. Swapping his job as proprietor of an Australian stud farm to work undercover as a stable hand in Yorkshire, Danny soon has his hands full. Whilst the Earl' ...more
Paperback, Pan, 362 pages
Published 1967 by Pan MacMillan (first published 1965)
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An Odd1
"For Kicks" by Dick Francis is why the hero takes on a painful job, and gets broken and bruised. The lone hero has to investigate and fight - with some background data, without training, tools, or support. Annoying, too gorgeous, the October daughters, distract, detract, and fatally endanger. From the discomfort and shame the disguised successfully portrays "low-class", I wonder if the author ever went incognito for research, or remembers humbler beginnings.

Daniel Roke, Australian who establish
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
When I was in middle school, I went on vacation with a friend's family. She was an only child and soon decided she did not like sharing attention with another kid. It was a long week with a lot of time spent in a car. The only thing that saved me was "For Kicks", which I found shoved under the front seat of the family car. I read through arguments about dinner, car sickness, and sleeping in the same room as a sick cat for two nights. After I returned home (finally!) I conveniently forgot to retu ...more
Alexander Bradley
Um, what to say about this? Well I read it as it was suggested by a friend due to Mr Dick Francis's superb 1st person writing skills in a hope to improve my own. Not a story I would have normally read but ended up quite enjoying it.

He has a simple approach that never really leaves you not knowing what is going on. His description was exceptional with a full body language included that made the story almost come to live in my head. A nerve racking story that gets you routing for the main characte
Daniel Roke accepts a job to go undercover to investigate a series of doping incidents among British race horses. The ruse is to be hired as a stable hand, and a not-too-honest one at that, and infiltrate the ranks to learn how the horses are being doped. Only a few weeks in, he witnesses a horse behaving as if it had been shot full of adrenaline. Tests come back negative, just as they had in every other incident. Gradually Daniel figures out what is really going on and is able to gether the ev ...more
One of my favorite Dick Francis books. Daniel Rork (is that right?) at a very young age has to take care of his younger siblings when his parents are killed. He makes a great success of breeding horses at his home in Australia but feels that weight of being too tied down and grown up at 28. He is approached by a Lord from England who is looking for someone to come and be an inside man in the racing world and to investigate why horses are winning and looking "doped" but not testing as doped. He d ...more
Billie Doux
In Dead Cert and Nerve, Francis chose jockeys as his heroes who found themselves in the center of a mystery. This time, Francis decided to go with an actual investigator. The way Daniel Roke was drafted as an undercover agent was exceptionally convoluted, and it was hard to get into the actual mystery because it wasn't personal. Roke, as usual for a Francis hero, is appealing, likable, and naturally noble and honest, and it's interesting to travel with him as he makes himself into something he's ...more
John Marsh
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Janine Noble
A first-rate adventure, spy story set in the world of British horse racing.

Daniel Roke, a successful young horse breeder from Australia, takes an opportunity to escape what has begun to feel like the inescapable burden of supporting three much-loved younger siblings (dependent on him since their parents died in an accident when he was eighteen), and travels to England where he goes undercover as a stable lad in an effort to expose what appears to be a doping ring which is threatening the reputat
Fredrick Danysh
Daniel Roke is an Australian horse breeder. Orphaned as a teenager, he supports his siblings and is bored to death. When is is offered a job to underground and investigate a racing scandal he takes a chance and discovers the adventure that he craves.
I've been on a Dick Francis reading spree while on vacation and he never disappoints. In this one an Australian stud owner goes undercover as a disreputable stable lad in order to discover how a dozen horses have been doctored and run better than they're expected to. A truly psychopathic horse owner has discovered that he can make horses so afraid of fire that they will bolt. The comparison of different stables and the conditions under which stable lads work is quite palpable.
Daniel Roke is an Australian who has an established stud farm. He is presented with a chance to work undercover as a stable boy in England to figure out how horses are being doped and undetected. He is not exactly happy with his current lot, so he does it. He must transform himself into a shady character and work at brutal stable whose owner isn't above beating the workers. This was a good one. No language.
I've started a Dick Francis kick. (Ha, I just see play on name of book...) Anyway, as I see them at library and/or acquire them, I'm reading them. This is one of the first ones he wrote and I really enjoyed it. The clarity of sight of his lead character, the development of the personalities of everyone, they all add a richness to a well-crafted mystery. (The butler did it.)(jk)
Janet Carkner
This has aged pretty well for a book written 50 years ago! (1965) I like older mysteries (like Sue Grafton's books) because it's more fun when the narrator doesn't have the internet or cell-phones to quickly solve problems.
Ant Harrison
An early novel from Dick Francis, this was a quick and easy read. Told in Fancis’s fairly flat, no-nonsense style, the first person narrative engages early and, despite a few plot holes, is fairly believable. The mid-1960s setting does date it quite a bit, but the central theme of horses being ‘doped’ to win and the main character having to go under cover as a stable lad, was well thought through. There was a point when I thought that the action flagged a bit, but don’t let that put you off. For ...more
Narrated by Tony Britton -- doing a great Australian accent to match the Australian main character.

This can be seen as a story about identity, if you want to read anything deep into it, or just an entertaining book about a spy in the world of racing if you don't. I'm a big fan of character stories, so I like the way that Francis always focuses on the character and his life; unfortunately, in this case I didn't believe the choices that his character makes at the end of the book. Fortunately, that
Jan 04, 2015 Mary marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by Erin Wise Nauta
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, and 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 I don't find in many other places.
For Kicks was the first Dick Francis I read, and was overall a light & enjoyable read. I had never read a novel set in the world of horse racing, and Francis did a excellent job at introducing the reader to horse racing while also moving the plot along fast enough to keep it from getting unbearably slow. I liked how Francis used a first-person point of view, because it helped make the protagonist more interesting to me. A nice summer read.
Francis, Dick - 3rd book

Proprietor of a stud farm in Australia's Snowy Mountains or muck-raking stable boy in Yorkshire? Danny Roke decides on the latter. It is the change of scene and the challenge that pushes Danny undercover, on the scent of a suspected racehorse dope scandal.

I loved this book. The conflict of the protagonists pride added an interesting element to the story.
Daniel Roke an Australian who has an established stud farm takes on an undercover job as a stable boy in England. His job is to figure out how horse are being doped, but beating all lab tests. Dan must transform himself into a shady character and work at brutal stable whose owner isn't above beating the workers. My favorite Dick Francis book so far
I've read most of the Francis books and recommend them for a reliably good read. They're all set against a background of horse racing, and while that wasn't particularly interesting to me at first I've come to enjoy it; it doesn't overpower the plot. I especially like his tight unsentimental style that moves the narrative at a steady pace.
This was my third Dick Francis read and I didn't care for it as much as the first two I read. Something about the main character failed to draw me in; still, it will probably appeal to fans of his work. I seem to be the only one who didn't get it, many other reviews are favorable, so maybe it was just my mood.
Colleen Kleven
This is definitely my favourite Dick Francis novel so far. I sat up last night until 2AM to finish it. The plot advances at a leisurely pace but is kept interesting with the main character's thoughts and observations. This is an easy and enjoyable read. Thanks Dick Francis!
I've read a couple of Dick Francis' later novels and enjoyed them so, I thought I'd go back and read some of his earlier works. I forced myself to read half of this novel (breaking my own 10% rule) and I couldn't endure it any longer. I'll keep trying, though.
Emily Edwards
This is my favourite Dick Francis book, if a favourite has to be chosen. I love the main character (however similar they may be in all his novels) and the story moves so smoothly and elegantly. It's one of those books I wish would never end.
Ruth Kevghas
I read this book over 25 years ago and it is by far my favorite Dick Francis book! The plot grabs you at the beginning and keeps you plunging into the book even when you are horrified at the cruelty to the horses in the story.
A must read!
Anna Ilona
This is my favorite Francis novel.

I discuss Francis' writing and this novel in particular in my blog post about five mystery authors that I reread.
How far would you go to add some adventure to your hum-drum life? In For Kicks, mild mannered Daniel Roke makes the rash decision to put his responsible life on hold in order to investigate a suspected doping scandal.
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mysteries 1 9 Feb 27, 2010 10:04PM  
  • Dick Francis's Bloodline
  • The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw the 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth's Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal?
  • In the Best Families (Nero Wolfe, #17)
  • Hades
  • The Game On! Diet: Kick Your Friend's Butt While Shrinking Your Own
  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle (Mrs. Pollifax, Book 8)
  • Small Vices (Spenser, #24)
  • The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #7)
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
  • Gaudenzia, Pride of the Palio
  • Brat Farrar
  • Bitter Water (Douglas Brodie, #2)
  • The Quick Red Fox (Travis McGee #4)
  • The First Eagle (Navajo Mysteries, #13)
  • Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown
  • The Wall
  • Help the Poor Struggler (Richard Jury #6)
Dick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.

* Sid Halley Mystery
* Kit Fielding Mystery
More about Dick Francis...
To the Hilt Dead Heat Proof Whip Hand (Sid Halley, #2) Bolt (Kit Fielding, #2)

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