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Slay Ride

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,136 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
British investigator David Cleveland has come to Oslo to investigate a champion jockey's disappearance right before the National, a race he was certain to win. But he's almost drowned in a fjord for his troubles. David knows accident and coincidence couldn't begin to explain this little mishap or the oncoming gruesome string of deaths that David Cleveland would find was me ...more
Published (first published 1973)
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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
Nikhilesh Sinha
Perhaps I have outgrown Francis. It is also possible that Slay Ride does not rank amongst his best. I was somewhat underwhelmed. All the usual ingredients were sprinkled in with practiced competence, the devious plot uncovered by a stubborn and shrewd protagonist, efficiently brutal violence -unglorified, but subtly gratuitous, a suitably unconventional erotic/romantic filament threaded through the narrative and a worthy adversary. But while there are sparks, the book never quite takes off. Ther ...more
Feb 03, 2012 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Early Francis and his style hadn't settled down yet: the women are even more marginal than usual, the reason to keep reading is thin, and the reveal was barely suspenseful at all.
Jun 28, 2010 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england, norway
David Cleveland, investigator with the British Jockey Club is summoned to Oslo Norway to look into the disappearance of jockey Bob Sherman. It seems several bags of money are missing as well, with all fingers pointing at Bob as the thief. Bob's dead body is located and then the search is on to figure out who killed Bob and why. To complicate matters, someone clearly doesn't want David investigating and seeks to have him dead as well.
Re-read in 2012. Had a hard time following this one and keepi
Classic Dick Francis. This time we travel to Norway. I'm cold just reading this book.

We get a great Francis "everyman" in David Cleveland. Jockey Club investigator and all-around smart, nice guy. He gets in danger (as you would expect), barely escapes with his life (naturally) and saves the day.

Plus, this book is as old as I am, and it is still a fun read. One of my favorite authors of all time.
Aug 13, 2012 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Dick Francis is one of the few prolific mystery writers whose books are primarily stand-alones. Although all his settings involve horses and/or racing in some way, there is an incredible variety to his work so it doesn't get stale. In Slay Ride, the main character is investigating the disappearance of an English jockey in Oslo.
Alexis Neal
May 31, 2011 Alexis Neal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A decent Francis book. The villain was medium-sized--not a raving psychopath, but not a run-of-the-mill John Q. Citizen either. A fair number of harrowing experiences for the hero, and a few alluring and possibly off-limits women . . . all in all, a pretty solid entry. Oh, and it takes place largely in Norway, which is a fun change from Francis' usual setting.
Christa (haines) Sheridan
Similar to Flying Finish, I find the ending is unsatisfying. It ends too abruptly and you don't feel that outstanding subplots were wrapped up.
The bulk of the story is fantastic, the characters are well developed and I love Norway, so the setting is perfect.
Rhondda Powling
Aug 13, 2016 Rhondda Powling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is intrigue and suspense in this novel set in the world of horse racing. British Jockey Club investigator David Cleveland is sent Norway to discover the truth about the disappearance of champion British jockey, Robert Sherman. Sherman disappeared from Oslo just before the National, a race he seemed certain to win. The Norwegian Jockey Club has asked its British counterpart for assistance and, while most believe that the missing jockey has stolen money and fled, Cleveland is not so sure. He ...more
Aug 16, 2009 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-adult
I buy all Dick Francis books I find in thrift stores (because my book habit is healthier than a drug habit, but can be just as expensive if I spend time in Borders), but I didn't quite expect what I got with Slay Ride. First, it's one of his oldest works (1973), and there are a couple of dating elements in the plot that make the story feel a little old. Second, the story just STARTS, and the reader is left to keep up, which is annoying as there are quite a few unfamiliar elements to deal with (t ...more
Simon Evans
Dec 20, 2016 Simon Evans rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: digital
Re-reading Dick Francis, as I am, I am always thrilled to come across one I have not read before. This one begins well with some pretty high-octane action right from the off.

David Cleveland is an investigator for the jockey club and is looking into the death of a British jockey in Norway.

It's a pleasant change for the story to take place in an unfamiliar location (no sign of Newbury, Lambourn or other well-trodden locales here) and Norway is painted rather well.

The characters are typical Francis
Jun 13, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finalist 1973 Gold Dagger Award. An investigator for England's Jockey Club brings the venue of this suspense novel to Norway.

Racing related thrillers - David Cleveland - an investigator for the Jockey Club - is sitting in a dinghy in a pleasant little fjord in Norway. He's here to help the Norwegians find out why Bob Sherman, a visiting English rider, has done a runner with the racehorse takings. He thinks it'll be a straightforward job, and he'll get to spend some time with old friends. But whe
Aug 17, 2012 Ariane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading Dick Francis after a chance encounter with an abridged version of Bolt which I found in an old Reader's Digest tome. I loved the male protagonist, Kit, in that story and figured that I should give more of Francis' books a try.

Slay Ride takes place in Norway and is about a missing English jockey who stole a large amount of money from a Norwegian racing club. Though it took a while for me to get into the story, it turned out to be a fairly quick read. I liked the protagonist, not
Jul 03, 2011 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Another solid thriller in the Dick Francis collection. There's not much actual riding in this one, but the mystery part is a step above the usual fare from Francis. THis time the setting is the racing world of Norway and an investigation into the disapearance of a visiting English jockey. The cast of characters is well contouerd and includes some staples of the author: the introverted, smart young man with a stubborn streak and a strong sense of justice, the bullying industrial magnates, the aff ...more
Mar 03, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficiton
David Cleveland, Jockey Club investigator, has come over to find an English jockey who has disappeared with a day's racing entry fees. But he finds more than a jockey - he finds serious trouble, with several attempts being made on his life. People are not what they seem to be, and the motives are very confusing...

Strange that this book is 36 years old - it still reads fresh. Most of it is a corker, too, with crisp clear writing, tension, thrills, humour, good dialogue and small tidy packages of
Nov 13, 2007 Esther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vintage Dick Francis. I thought I'd read them all, but I found this one at a recent University of Chicago Library book-sale. Okay, $1 may have been a lot to pay for this 1973 un-classic, but do you know how rare it is for me to find a Dick Francis book I haven't read!? It was really good too. I read his latest recently and was deeply disappointed. I fear he may have lost his edge. So it was nice to go back to his better years. This one is lean and spare with everything that makes the formula wor ...more
Oct 14, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like reading these brief book reviews. I'd like to know if anyone is actually reading them. I have few friends, so I'm counting on you, friends. This Dick Francis book was just like the rest of them: easily read and centered around horse racing. This one was set in Norway. Dad gave me a bunch of Dick Francis books, and the pile is dwindling. I have finished all of them so far, so I can recommend these fiction books. I won't buy any more though, after I finish the pile. I'd like to read some ot ...more
Jul 11, 2015 B.E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good old Dick Francis novel. Exactly what I expected - fun, mysterious, thrilling. I didn't expect the Norwegian setting or the difficulty I'd have at first with the foreign names, etc. After a while, I got used to it, but it did take a little of the fun out of it. I'd would've also preferred a little bit longer wrap-up at the end. All in all, an enjoyable and quick read - just like I wanted right now.
Good read, some violence, but quite decent over all. Requires more from the reader than a mindless, summer read, but an excellent, by-the-fire on-a-long-winter-evening mystery read. I actually read two of his books this weekend and will probably read more as time goes by. Not really enriching in any way, but sometimes you've just got to take a break-Dick Francis provides a good break and another world with its own issues (not yours!!) to move into for a while.
Jeff Steward
My first Dick Francis read. Slay-Ride was a fun quick read that was not overly formula. Couple of things over the top and a couple of things that were totally predictable. The rest moved at a good pace and told a good story. Overall a good bathtub or bedside book. To give you an idea I read half in a coffe shop and the other half during a high school graduation. It was relaxing in the first and better than the speeches in the second.
Aug 26, 2010 Stefan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, quick read that combined horse racing, corporate espionage and the disappearance of a horse jockey into a fast-paced read. For some reason, Slay Ride was different from the other Dick Francis novels I've read, it felt a bit more cynical and bleak. I found all the characters interesting (especially obsessive, paranoid Arne), the plot entertaining and the conclusion to be satisfying.
Brian Leslie
Nov 12, 2013 Brian Leslie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge Dick Francis fan, but this book just didn't have his normal flair. I found it hard to connect with the characters at any level. I came to this realization not long after starting the book, but hoped something would change as it went along. It didn't.

With so many other good books in his catalog, I would recommend skipping this one.
Nov 21, 2014 Sally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful read like all Dick Francis novels. In this one, a British jockey disappears from a Norwegian racetrack and an investigator from the British Jockey Club comes over to investigate. The cold seeps into every chapter, from the frigid water early in the novel to the mountain peaks at the end. Inevitably horse racing is caught in larger issues of business corruption.
Jul 11, 2014 Lboggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to have primary setting in Norway. Twist in the motive/plot. Creative detective deduction; looking at situation backwards as well as what is not known.
As with all Dick Francis books I have read thus far, well written and engaging. The biggest problem with my reading his books is that I stay up too late on work nights reading.
Jan 10, 2016 Alarra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, francis
The one with money stolen from a horse race in Norway. This one was surprisingly grim and sad - not on the surface at the start, but there's a weariness and darkness to the whole affair. Also I didn't like the protagonist much, a hint of hope and happiness from the messed up situation doesn't result in anything, and the ending is just...gah.
Feb 23, 2009 RunRachelRun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I blasted through every Dick Francis book I could find after reading a story about some jockey in "Cricket" magazine as child. Completely fascinated by the jockey life so Dick Francis' series was right on target. I'm giving them all 4 stars since even though I can't remember anything about the actual plot lines, I obviously enjoyed them enough to keep plowing through them all.
Nov 19, 2009 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Dick Francis ... Investigator David Cleveland is called in after a British jockey has vanished with bags of cash. Some Francis novels start out slow - this isn't one of them. The assignment proves to be dangerous from page one. Although not my favorite, it's certainly worth reading.
Apr 30, 2010 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid Dick Francis novel. Not one of my absolute favorites. I don't think that the hero is quite as well developed as some others of DF's heros. Still it had all the elements we're familiar with and look for in one of his novels.
Aug 04, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. I hadn't read D. Francis before, and wasn't expecting much. I grabbed this on the way out the door to a dr. appointment when I couldn't find anything else. I was suprised how much I liked it. A not-too-taxing mystey, set in Norway.
Oct 14, 2016 Usfromdk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is one of the best books I've read by Francis so far. There isn't much horse-riding going on in this one, and there are a lot more Norwegian people in the book than there usually are in Francis' novels, but if you like Francis' stuff in general you should not miss this one.
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Dick Francis CBE (born Richard Stanley Francis) was a popular British horse racing crime writer and retired jockey.

Dick Francis worked on his books with his wife, Mary, before her death. Dick considered his wife to be his co-writer - as he is quoted in the book, "The Dick Francis Companion", released in 2003:
"Mary and I worked as a team. ... I have often said that I would have been happy to have b
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