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Rat Race

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,139 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Hired to fly four racing buffs to the track, pilot Matt Shore expects it will be the kind of job he likes: quick and easy. Until, that is, he’s forced to make an emergency landing just minutes before the plane explodes. Luckily, no one is hurt, but it isn’t long before Matt realizes that he’s caught up in the rat race of violent criminals who are dead-set on putting anyone ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 5th 2006 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,957)
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James Thane
Jun 05, 2012 James Thane rated it liked it
This is a fairly typical Dick Francis novel. In this case, the loner, withdrawn protagonist is a pilot, Matt Shore, who once flew for BOAC but who is now reduced to flying puddle-jumper charters. It's not initially clear why this is the case. Like a lot of Francis's heros, Shore has also recently been divorced and is very gun-shy regarding women, although inevitably a beautiful and desirable woman will soon be practically dropped into his lap.

Matt flies a party of four to a race meet and only a
Sep 10, 2011 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Typical Dick Francis thriller. He makes it very easy to root for the main character (the quiet underdog hero who gets caught in some illegal / ruthless heist) and to sincerely hope he will get the girl in the end.

Fast paced and interesting in the flying taxi details, for me it suffers a little due to the rather obvious and insufficiently convincing bad guy. But as far as I'm concerned, Francis could pick any boring subject and still make it an etntertaining ride - I seem to remember one book wit
First Sentence: I picked four of them up at Whit Waltham in the new Cherokee Six 300 that never got a chance to grow old.

Matt Shore’s life and career as a pilot have been on a downward spiral. His latest job is with a flying taxi service for racecourses and his first flight ends with the plane exploding after he lands from sensing a problem with the aircraft. Although all the passengers are safe, it’s another black mark on Matt’s career and he wants to know why.

Although I’ve not read this parti
Aug 29, 2015 Megargee rated it it was amazing
What fun to find a classic Dick Francis novel from the early 1970s that I had not read already! As we all know, Francis was a jockey before he was an author, but before that he was an RAF pilot in WW II flying Spitfires and Wellingtons. Later his wife Mary also took up flying and together they operated a small three plane air charter service.
That background informs this novel featuring a depressed former BOAC pilot whose messy divorce and other circumstances have reduced him to flying racing
Jun 13, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
Finalist 1970 Gold Dagger Award.

Racing related thrillers - Matt Shore was an experienced pilot. He'd done it all. From big jets to flying in supplies to war zones. So when he gets a job ferrying high class punters around England's race courses he might be forgiven for expecting the quiet life. But then his plane explodes in a massive fireball. He could have been in it. Some quiet life. Instead he's landed in the middle of a nightmare world where there is big money at stake. Very big money. From
Dec 13, 2014 JoAnne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matt Shore has replaced the usual pilot on this run. The people he meets are a bit strange. I guess that is the way with racing folk. It seems they are all angry with each other. He meets a woman named Nancy, becomes friends with her. Her brother Colin is a jockey that flew on his plane. They are friendly. Then on the flight back something did not feel right in the controls so Matt lands the plane. The passengers don't want to land but he insists. As soon as everyone is off, the plane explodes. ...more
Wanda A.
Apr 19, 2016 Wanda A. rated it it was amazing
Dick Francis chilled and thrilled me to the bones throughout the book. I must advise that you heed The Times review and set aside time to read the book without interruption else you may become "truly angry"if you had to put it down. " I laughed for joy because I took time during my week-end to avoid this pitfall. By taking this time I enjoyed the clean writing style and the keen human interpersonal observations noted by Matt Shore the narrator as he met, related to, loved, challenged, fought and ...more
Jan 03, 2015 Bruce rated it liked it
Matt Shore is a pilot with a new job working for an air taxi service specializing in taking jockeys and owners to horse races. He has a troubled employment past, with several jobs in the rear-view mirror. On one of his first flights, there is some mechanical problems so he lands to have it looked at. As they walk away from the plane, it explodes. There is a meandering plot as Matt tries to figure out who planted the bomb and why. It was just ok - 3 stars was probably generous. Just seemed a litt ...more
Aug 28, 2015 Kiri rated it really liked it
This isn't my usual type of book. But I enjoyed it a lot!

This is a sort of layman-detective-thriller story, in which our untrained protagonist tries to figuring who's been sabotaging airplanes. What made it especially enjoyable to me was that the protagonist is a pilot -- and author Dick Francis clearly knows a lot about general aviation! There's even a (less experienced) female pilot character. I don't know whether Francis himself is a pilot or if he just picked a friend's brain, but as someone
Aug 04, 2012 Harry rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 20, 2010 T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time to read a book by Dick Francis. I wasn't really expecting anything, but am pleasantly surprised to like it. I mean, really like it. I was a bit busy when I picked this up; I couldn't dedicate all my attention to it as a good reader should. Yesterday though, I had some free time. I was meeting up with a friend, she ran a bit late, so I had more than an hour to myself, drinking coffee, smoking, reading. I couldn't put it down.

It was interesting to read about horse racing, tr
I think I am fascinated by Dick Francis's protagonists because they couldn't be more different from me. They tend to be low key, quietly accepting abuse/misuse from those around them. Of course, ultimately, they get the upper hand, solve the mystery, and everyone lives happily ever after (except for the dead guys). Me, I'd be all up in someone's face, because I know I'm right. Maybe I should learn a lesson from DF but I'm afraid it's too late for me.

For instance, in this story, our hero, a pilot
Feb 07, 2016 Yi added it
Like all of Dick Francis' novels, this one was a quick read, and engaging. But I think it's one of his earlier novels, which accounts for his choosing someone who's totally unrelated to racing as the protagonist. And while I didn't find the distance as engaging (mostly because I cracked the thing on an incredibly lazy day and apparently couldn't be bothered to feel anything), I did, by the end of the book, find it refreshing, if not downright moving.
Why 3 stars, then? Lack of backstory. Most of
Daniel Bratell
Oct 24, 2012 Daniel Bratell rated it really liked it
In another review of a Dick Francis book I described how they all follow the same general pattern, and I've had no reason to change my mind about that. Until this came along which really made me feel there was something different. Some things are the same: Lone guy, excelling at his occupation, nice girl and all that, but there is also a slightly depressed (the mood, not the physical phenomena) blanket over the book. If I were to guess, I would guess that Dick Francis was going through some kind ...more
Rachel Brown
Jul 15, 2014 Rachel Brown rated it liked it
Shelves: england, mystery, horses
In some ways Rat Race feels like a run-up to Flying Finish. It also features a withdrawn pilot hero and some extremely suspenseful flying sequences. But the romance, while nice, isn't as memorable, and the hero's blossoming from a going-through-the-motions existence to actually living isn't as vividly drawn. It's also hampered by a hilariously dated portrayal of a creeper hippie. (Creeper hippies still exist. It's the language that hasn't aged well.)
Jul 27, 2011 Mrsgaskell rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, 8-star
A friend has been lending me books from her Dick Francis collection. They're her "comfort reads" and I can see why. I've read about six of them now and have enjoyed every one of them. I've learned a lot about horse racing - never been to a racecourse in my life. But it seems to me that in each book I learn about other areas, too, such as film-making, gemology, survival, and in this particular instance small aircraft aviation. The plots are always interesting and suspenseful with a fair amount of ...more
Brenda Margriet
I'm slowly making my way through re-reads of DF's books, and still find them thoroughly enjoyable. Of course, the technology has changed (cell phones would make a big difference in a number of his story lines) but the characters and plot are still first rate. His angsty heroes are fabulous, including Matt Shore from Rat Race. I love the flying drama - planes exploding, losing their radios, etc. It's all so well written!
Jan 10, 2016 Alarra rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, francis
Very in the mould of a Francis but still very enjoyable - here's the super competent, old beyond his years male lead in lots of dangerous situations that hurt but not incapacitate him and he finds his family with a coterie of people who can't help but come to rely and love him. Yay!
Sep 19, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May have been my first Dick Francis and remains one of my favorites. Which is to say his earlier stuff is much superior to newer books issued under his name. Of course, I was/am a natural to like Dick Francis's racing mysteries, being a fan of mysteries, horse racing, and England.
Mar 11, 2014 Tiina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very easy to read, with an interesting plot set in the air taxi environment. The writer clearly knew a lot about flying and the most thrilling scene in the book uses this knowledge.

This was a real mystery!
Mark Isaak
Nov 17, 2014 Mark Isaak rated it really liked it
Dick Francis uses his usual formula, this time with an air taxi pilot as the protagonist. Though this book is a bit slow to get into the real action, the formula continues to work.
Dad Bowers
Apr 27, 2016 Dad Bowers added it
Shelves: novel
good story of flying for horse races, an innocent man caught up in troubles, a bit of romance, and a murder mystery that didn't have the murder until almost the end!
Maureen Wilkinson
Great Read

Just enjoy reading any book by Dick Francis you know it will keep you guessing till the end. Which makes for fantastic read
Lenny Husen
Aug 14, 2015 Lenny Husen rated it liked it
It was OK. Quick read. Main character is a depressed Airplane Pilot who doesn't know anything about horseracing. Always like Dick Francis.
Jan 04, 2015 Jan rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite Dick Francis novels. The details about piloting/flying were very interesting to me.
Nancy Schober
May 14, 2014 Nancy Schober rated it it was amazing
Thus was so thrilling! i held my breath pretty much all the way through. His stories are so satisfying!
May 05, 2014 K rated it liked it
First Dick Francis. Good popcorn, and some familiar settings, such as Cambridge. Got for chas.
Tim Flanagan
Oct 17, 2015 Tim Flanagan rated it really liked it
Not the best Dick Francis book. It ends with a few unanswered questions and it's unclear if the protagonist is alive or not.
Carly Kirk
May 03, 2016 Carly Kirk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread
An old favorite that I always enjoy reading...
Therese Wiese
Oct 26, 2014 Therese Wiese rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Horseracing and flying - what's not to like?
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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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