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Dead Heat

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  6,204 ratings  ·  410 reviews
It was the most painful episode of Max Moreton's young life. Just as he's beginning to gain full recognition as a chef, nearly all his guests at an elegant private party fall victim to severe food poisoning. The disaster leaves his culinary reputation in tatters, but worse is yet to come. The very next day, as he's catering an exclusive racetrack luncheon, a bomb goes off ...more
Audiobook, 0 pages
Published September 17th 2007 by Penguin Audio (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,204 ratings  ·  410 reviews

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Julien Kreuze
Aug 20, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 mi ...more
Charles  van Buren
I have said on several occasions that I have never read a bad Dick Francis novel. I am not sure that I have now. I suspect that there is more Felix than Dick Francis in this one. I gave it three stars because, compared to a mythical average mystery novel, this one is at least a little better.
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys good writing
I'm not a horse racing fan, but I am a fan of good writing, and Dick Francis is one of my top all-time favorite fiction writers. He's a master of the cliffhanger chapter endings that keep me turning the pages until I've finished, to the detriment of sleep and chores getting done. This book is no exception. I'd heard he's retired from writing, but apparently his son persuaded him to keep it up; Dead Heat is a collaboration of the two of them. Excuse me, but I've got to get back to the book ... ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francis
Easily the most boring book bearing the Francis name.It appears to be mostly the work of his son,Felix.The book hardly ever comes to life and the tedium stretches on for over 400 pages.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: action-adventure
Year before last I re-read all my Dick Francis books in order of publication because I was afraid he would stop writing after his wife's death. Last year he produced Under Orders, much to my gratification and pleasure, since Sid Haley is one of my favorite characters. But Dead Heat, written with his son Felix, is Dick Francis and better. I could hardly put the book down and was thrilled at the end to find an advertisement for the next book, Silks. Now I can stop worrying. Dick Francis will conti ...more
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
May 17, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This was co-written with his son Felix--meaning Dad did the outline while Felix did the writing with Dad looking over his shoulder. It's an okay mystery, but the pacing and feel is just slightly off. Sometimes there are too many information dumps that slow the pace and others, everything is there, but just doesn't quiet gel. When Dick Francis' name is over everything, you expect certain things from the book, and this one just doesn't quite deliver the goods.

While I don't expect Felix to be exac
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horse-crime
5 stars if only for no other reason that I couldn't put this down. I have this nagging feeling I've read this before, but it turns out I only remembered one of the protagonists and not their motives, which gave me a nice surprise. The plot twists started from the beginning, and built into a delicious climax. I would have preferred slightly more resolution, but what there was made me smile. ...more
Jo-Ann Murphy
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never read a Dick Francis mystery and I was not disappointed. I was puzzled from the beginning. I began to have a suspect but not a motive. It was near the end when I was right about the motive but not much else. That is my kind of story, one that keeps me guessing.

It might have been just a bit slow getting to the mystery but there were so many other interesting facts and characters, it was not a problem.

Well written with well developed characters and interesting settings.
Lynn Pribus
The big puzzle here is why I continued listening to this CD set. While it purports to be by Dick Francis, it was most likely mostly by his son Felix who, sad to say, is no Dick Francis. The usual torture, frustration, blood, and flimsy romance, but it was about a restrateur rather than racing, although horses did have something do with the incredibly unlikely plot.

And there was a bit of esoteric horse information toward the end that "enabled" the plot.

Aug 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yikes this book was sexist, racist, clumsy, plodding, and at points laughably bad (e.g., the line about how it's improbable that a chef would use cocaine because the heat of a kitchen and drugs don't mix. K.) ...more
David Highton
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good reliable Dick Francis book, this one written with the help of Felix Francis. Our hero is a chef, whose outside catering at Newmarket races ends in tragedy and mystery
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Heart-pounding, nail-bitingly exciting story will have you reading in a feverish frenzy to get to the end!

Highly acclaimed, bestselling author Dick Francis returned after a six-year absence with ‘Under Orders’ much to the delight of both avid readers and horse racing fans alike. His exceptional writing-style, detailed and intricately woven, cleverly crafted plots fueled by such dramatic, intense narrative is outstanding. As a horse racing enthusiast, Dick Francis is an author who stands-ou
Cindy Bellomy
Not one of his/their better ones. Just not as well written as the older Dick Francis books. Missing that special humor & cleverness.

Actually, a second read, which I didn't realize for quite awhile. Tells you something about the book, I suppose.
Ann Webb
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in the 80s and 90s I read every one of Dick Francis' novels. I loved them then and I still love them. This is how to write mysteries folks. You have believable and likeable characters set in an arena that the author is obviously familiar with and comes to a nice conclusion without a lot of bombast. In this instance Francis is writing with his son and it is still recognizable Francis fiction. (sometimes collaborations of authors don't go so well)

Max Moreton is a Michelin star chef in Newmark
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, boy. Obviously Felix is being groomed to take over the Francis dynasty from his dad, but I think we should just let it end.

This had all the elements you expect in a DF book, but it was just missing...something. The thing I like about the other books is that they are perfectly comfortable--the writing never jolts you out of the story, and the characters behave in a way that makes sense while still being interesting. I never minded them being formulaic, because he always executed it so well.

Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This had a double appeal, with a restaurant owner as the main character with a musician angle thrown in. (I used to own a restaurant and I play French Horn.) I have been reading Dick Francis for many years and have an extensive collection of firsts of his. Although he is now old and fragile, this piece co-written with his son encourages all us fans that he has passed on his talents. There's some interesting info about this collaboration on his website - worth a visit. ...more
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Horses & English Cooking
Recommended to Art by: I like Dick Francis's writing style!
Cooking won't kill you but those who don't want you around will.

Great guide to the culinary skills of folks who cook in England.
Also great way for a jockey to stay close to the horses and the life of the track.

Dick Francis knows how to stay w/the changes of the Horse Industry and yet still proves that you have to know your subject to be good.
Wendell Hennan
the sense of humour evident in Bloodline has not returned. The plot twists and turns, but dragged slowly for many chapters and seemed unbelievable. The final few chapters brought it all together with an intensity as Max Moreton and Caroline fend off Komarov and a good customer/friend and an employee.
Apr 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dick Francis books never fail. Same formula perhaps, same type of protagonist, but the settings and individual characters are so well researched that each one is a fresh adventure from which I always learn something new. They're not all about horses! ...more
sonja figueiredo
really enjoyed the book. Very interesting.
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Enjoyable enough, but certainly not great. The "crime" part of the plot was incredibly far-fetched, but the main character (Max Morton) was charming and likable (so I'm rounding 2.5 stars up to 3). ...more
Dale Rosenberg
This is maybe a 3.5 in my opinion. It's one of his last books, I think. It's after he was already co-writing with his son. My theory is that Dick Francis wasn't really writing those last few, but the son who continued to write after his death was already taking over and mimicking his style. Whether I'm right or not, the style is absolutely his, but the plotting isn't as good in this one as many of the earlier ones. Still it is diverting. Max, the protagonist, is a chef and owner of a high end re ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick Francis is one of those authors you can rely on to write an interesting story when you are cruising about the library trying to find something to read. Horse racing is always involved in the stories somehow, and though I care nothing for horse racing, the stories are great anyway. In this one, the racing is more tangential than in others. The main focus is a chef (who serves the horse racing crowd) who is accused of poisoning guests at a dinner he catered (with an ingredient he knows he did ...more
Pretty good mystery thriller which starts with a bang - a mass food poisoning at a Newmarket event, followed by something even more deadly! Chef Max Moreton looks to investigate the evident mystery/conspiracy. What appears to be the start of handing over the reigns (pun intended) to his son, this Dick and Felix conspiracy thriller cum mystery set in the horse racing world, feels just like any other Dick Francis work, knowledgeable about the subject matter, but with limited characterisation. 5 ou ...more
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty fun Dick Francis book. The romance is better than bone dry (different than Dick's standard 💕) and the anticipated random research, in this case into poisons/bombs and the food industry, is just detailed enough to keep you reading but not too detailed (meaning you skip right over it).

I enjoyed the lead and his leading lady, I enjoyed the suspense and the way the plot interacted with the racing community.

To this day I've never watched a steeple-chase race and I'm never likely to, and yet
Alison O'Mara
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Next to Hot Money, this is one of my all-time favorite Dick Francis novels. I have read it several times. As with most of his books, you learn a little something about various industries in addition to the horse aspect. In this case, the chef angle was interesting. The love story was charming. I felt a genuine affection for the main character, Max, as he politely battled his way through the perplexing mystery.
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Another Francis book I enjoyed - this one focusing on a top restaurant owner who finds himself ill and others who ate with him, in his place, have also fallen ill - but how? and then he gets caught in a bomb blast - who was it intended for, Max, decides to try and find out ... and finds his life in more and more danger
John Worthington
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as part of a Readers Digest Select Edition and it was my favorite in the edition. The plot: A chef finds out his food has poisoned his guests and his staff; on top of that another catering function is bombed and someone is out to kill him. A well written book that given another side to the world of raising and selling horses.
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100 pages still no plot!! 5 23 Oct 04, 2013 05:11PM  

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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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