Amazing what bodily injury could do for a man.
A fall from a racehorse had left brilliant jockey Sid Halley dangerously depressed, with a wrecked hand and the need for a new career. And now a bullet wound was helping him find one. He'd been with a detective agency since his racing accident, but it wasn't until some two-bit hoodlum drilled a slug into his side that he was sent out on a case of his own.
That was where he met Zanna Martin, a woman who just might make life worth living again. But it was an even-money bet that he'd be killed before he had the chance.
©1965 Dick Francis; (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
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I am a Dick Francis fan because his plots have the balance of mystery, suspense and comfortable characters and at a nice pace. This is a typically good story. My one complaint would be that the reader sounded so much older than the characters.
"Read this one First"
If you like one Dick Francis mystery, you will probably like them all (if you get a good reader - which is usually the case fortunately). He wrote four mysteries featuring ex-jockey Sid Halley: Odds Against (1965); Whip Hand (1979); Come to Grief (1995); and Under Orders (2006). Even though the books span 40 years, the elapsed time within/between all the stories is about 3 or 4 years. Technology advances with the times from book to book and we aren't supposed to notice that as readers. After all, it's really the mysteries and Francis' quality writing that we're here for, isn't it?
My husband and I thoughly enjoyed this audio book. The narrator always plays an important role and this book like all of Dick Francis's books was truly engrossing. Carmen Miller
"A great read (listen.)"
I hadn't yet met the central character in this story, a former jocky with a maimed hand, and I found him very sympathetic. His courage, lack of self-pity and sensitivity to the feelings of others similarly afflicted gives him an engaging depth. I took further satisfaction Francis's choice of villians: men who destroy beauty to make money on building ugly houses. He shows them as the villians I feel them to be. The narrator does a wonderful job.
"Deceptively effortless grace"
The genius of Dick Francis lay in his ability to deal with chilling, even grotesque violence and the most visceral of emotions with the kind of sure handed restraint that a great jockey uses to bring a hurtling thoroughbred safely and even stylishly through a madly jostling pack to the finished line and the winner's circle. He created heart stopping action sequences, psychological horror scenes and suspense which is sustained far past what should be the breaking point and did it all in an understated tone which would not be out of place at high tea. The result is an exquisite tension. He also had a habit of constructing action sequences which feature intelligent improvisation from his hero rather than brute force or unerring marksmanship.
Sid Halley is one of the few leading characters who recur in Francis's books, and it is easy to see why he returned to him several times. This outing introduces the injured steeple chase jockey turned investigator, and half way through listening I had already resolved to read all the other books in which he appears. His working class roots, athlete's resilient tenacity and chess player's mind are a fascinating combination. If you have not read anything by Dick Francis, this is as good a place as any to begin.
I always enjoy Dick Francis novels. His characters and plots are interesting. I have always loved the character of Sid Halley with his tragic past. He's very well-rounded. The peripheral characters play important roles, not just window dressing. The plot of Odds Against is compelling, and if you don't know a lot about the British racing world, well, you'll learn a bit. The end had an interesting twist, because even though you know what's going on, you don't know the whole of it.
I also enjoy listening to Tony Britton. He keeps the story moving without being overly emotive.
Overall, if you enjoy a nice suspense story, you'll like this one.
I love all the Dick Francis books and this one is no exception. Tony Britton did a great job with the narration.
This is just a great classic British mystery!
"One of the best, AND narrated by Tony Britton"
I have listened to most of the Dick Francis books on Audible and this is my favorite. Tony Britton should have narrated the whole lot of them. Recommend Hot Money too. Someone needs to clean up the recordings a bit -- this one sounds better than Hot Money.
"sid halley classic"
yes dick francis writes a good story plenty going on to keep you interrested
crossfire and whiphand
yes having listened to several dick francis books read by him
halleys crippled hand being smashed up again by the crooks need the series in sequence
"Hard to Go Wrong with Dick Francis!"
Nothing is better than the print version; however, I find I am turning more and more to audio versions due to convenience. I spend so much time in my car that having audio books is wonderful! I also love to listen to books as I do my walking each day.
I have the books downloaded to my Android phone and that is one thing that ALWAYS goes with me!
Although there are some of Dick Francis' books that are a little better than the others, you can't go wrong reading (or listening) to Dick Francis.
Odds Against is one of the best! I love all the books that feature the character Sid Halley!
His reading of the book was expressive and vintage Francis! His tone keeps you interested.
"Another good one"
Dick Francis is brilliant. This (I think) is the first Sid Halley novel; it starts well and then improves; its the first time I've given 5 stars to a book for a while! If you like Dick Francis you will love this.
"Great story and performance by TB, appalling sound"
Yes, great tales read by an excellent actor
The performance, TB always delivers Dick Francis with style
Please get it remastered, since it appears like laziness and incompetence on the part of the producers. However since these comments have been made already and apparently ignored....
Tony Britten once again brought a truly exciting book to life. Over the years I have read most of Dick Francis books. This audible version is excellent
"On the nose"
Another winner from Dick Francis..... who can always be depended upon to provide an attention grabbing and holding drama in the life of my favourite of his creations, jockey Sid Halley. Read in his usual
urbane and ploshed style by Tony Britton.
"Great novel, atrocious recording."
I LOVE Dick francis novels. Especially Sid Halley ones it seems, having enjoyed my first around the age of twelve.
This is a great introduction to the Halley character and the story is very engaging, albeit short. (As was the fashion, when it was written several decades ago.)
The recording however is AWFUL beyong words, bearing hallmarks which make it seem likely to have been a digital copy of a tape from the 1970's. The volume leaps up and down, along with varying levels of background hiss and sometimes the change is so abrupt and the subsequent audio so horribly unclear, it almost sounds lime the reader has changed. And speaking of the reader, he is pretty appaulling as well. His accents and female voice impersonations are shockingly bad. cringeworthy even.
Dick Francis: A+
Narrator bloke whose name escapes me now: D
Sound quality: F
"Recording quality is awful"
Audible need to look at the recording of many of their Dick Francis titles, the sound level goes up and down and the voice becomes tinny or slow.
"Very Poor Recording"
The storyline of this book is up to the usual Dick Francis standard - lots of interesting racing facts and figures woven into a work of fiction. It tackles disfigurement in a sensitive and positive way. But oh, the recording was awful - at one point I had to speed it up just to listen to it comfortably! Was it recorded from a recording, from a recording of stretched tapes found down the back of the sofa? Not up to Audible's usual presentational standards.
All were believable - especially the secretary with the disfigured face.
I'm sure he read this in the original very well - I find his voice easy to listen to and characterful.
Needs to be remastered!
"Dismal recording quality"
Since the book was originally published in 1966, this is presumably an elderly recording retrieved from tape (though the company apparently has a website). Recording levels are all over the place,some passages are badly muffled, others inaudible, again others badly modulated. No attempt seems to have been made to match voice quality and timbre across sessions / edits. Needs thoroughly remastering from the original recording. (Of course, if this is the original recording, they really need to try again in a proper studio with proper recording technicians.)
The book shows its age, both in terms of plot and attitudes (to women, social classes, disability). However, Tony Britton shines despite the technical issues. It's just a shame about the non-existent quality control!
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