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Publisher's Summary

Six years ago, investigator Sid Halley retired for good. He’d been harassed, beaten, shot, even lost a hand to his investigating business, and enough was enough. For the sake of his wife and new daughter he gave up that life of danger and uncertainty, and he thought nothing would ever lure him back into the game. He thought wrong.

Sir Richard Stewart, chairman of the racing authority, begs Sid to investigate a series of dodgy races. Sid adamantly refuses, but the following day, Sir Richard is found dead under suspicious circumstances. And then a man with an Irish accent contacts Sid, telling him to deliver a whitewashed report about the suspected race-fixing...or else.

At first Sid ignores these warnings, knowing that once he submits to this criminal bully, he will forever be under his control. But as the intimidation tactics escalate - and Sid’s own family comes under threat - Sid realises he must meet his enemy head-on...or he might pay the ultimate price for his refusal.

©2013 Felix Francis (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This is fascinating reading on every level, from the neatly calibrated plot, moving from suspense to terror, to all the details of the racing world Francis provides. Halley is now, as before, an utterly complex, interest-holding character. And the final, moral turn that Francis makes of “refusal” is brilliant. A heroic return for Sid Halley." ( Booklist)
"Francis successfully resurrects one of his late father’s most popular creations and only series character—disabled jockey–turned–PI Sid Halley... Longtime fans will be hard put to tell this gripping thriller from the senior Francis’s work." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Refusal

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not Dick

This is the first of the "Felix" Francis books I have read, it was ok, but no where near the standard of his fathers earlier novels.

2 people found this helpful

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Terrific.

Just as good as a Dick Francis book. Well worth it. I couldn't stop listening.

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Profile Image for DJ Norton
  • DJ Norton
  • 16-08-2019

Great read.

Sufficiently fast paced to keep your attention!! Enjoyable and believable. Always learn something about racing.

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  • Tracey
  • 22-09-2014

refusal

What made the experience of listening to Refusal the most enjoyable?

felix and dick francis book are a good listen the narrator brings the book to life

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

it was interesting good story plot

What about Martin Jarvis’s performance did you like?

very similar to tony britton in the reading style

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

refuse and you die

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  • KBP
  • 26-06-2014

Not his father

Dick Francis combined good plots, growing characters, excellent research on engaging topics, and excellent writing to produce easy reads that left readers satisfied. His son tries to copy his formula, but falls short on every single aspect. Sid Halley, Charles and Marina were complex and multifaceted and grew through the books, but stagnated here. The plots meandered. And the transplantation component was a sideline, so the research didn't come through.
In general, this book was a negative to the Francis brand, and even though Martin Jarvis is a good reader, he couldn't make up for the fact that the book was just poor.
I will read Felix's next attempt, because his father's legacy is good to continue. But if that is only twice as good as this one, I won't read the one after that.

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  • Charles
  • 22-03-2015

Dreadful pastiche of the Dick Francis style

What disappointed you about Refusal?

No sense of action like the originals, the 'hero' agonises in tiresome internal self-questioning monologues for minutes at a time where a true Dick Francis hero would have just got on with it and allowed his internal confusion to be inferred.

What was most disappointing about Felix Francis’s story?

the result is that the whole book is interminably slow and has me practically shouting 'get on with it'.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Martin Jarvis's droll voice, perfectly suited to the Just William stories, which he made his own in an admittedly idiosyncratic way, is just not remotely suited to what ought to be a pacy thriller. It simply compounds the book's weakness.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Refusal?

All the internal monologues.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 07-01-2015

Story good, narrator disappointing

Another fast paced and enjoyable Sid Halley story from the Francis stable, if sometimes seeming more laboured than the original ones.

I did not like the narration though, not varied enough and the Michael Caine imitation voice of the police inspector drove me mad!

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Squeaky Joe
  • Squeaky Joe
  • 15-09-2018

A stonking good yarn

Six years after investigator Sid Halley’s retirement, a request from racing authority chairman Sir Richard Stewart looks like pushing Sid back into the sleuthing game. But the former jockey-turned-detective has no desire to revive a line of work that got him shot, beaten up and thrown in the path of danger on a regular basis. With his wife and daughter to think about, Sid makes it clear he’s not interested in checking out a series of dodgy races. But when Sir Richard turns up dead, Sid may have to reconsider, and that’s before a mysterious Irishman starts making threatening phone calls. After co-authoring a few books with Francis senior, Dick’s son Felix took up his father’s mantle in 2011 with his first novel ‘Gamble’. This is the fourth (of eight) and is also the fifth book featuring Sid Halley. Years ago, I had a Dick Francis novel that sat on my bookshelf untouched for months, purely because I thought a book centred around horseracing wouldn’t interest me. So it was pure chance that I happened across ‘Refusal’ on Amazon while perusing something completely different. Though the first few pages intrigued me, I still wasn’t certain it was my cup of jockey’s tea, so opting for the audiobook version, I allowed the marvellous Martin Jarvis to garner my interest. ‘Refusal’ is a stonking good yarn that gives its hero plenty to keep him busy. With murder, kidnapping and arson on the agenda, the poor man is thrown from one impossible situation into another, with a villainous Irishman hovering over his shoulder at every turn. The plot spirals into a thrilling denouement where Halley’s future, and that of his family, could easily go up in flames. Some knowledge of horseracing and betting might clarify the plot, but for a novice like me, these details are clearly explained by the author without over-egging the steeplechase custard. A great story with that’ll appeal to anyone who loves a mystery.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Ultan
  • Ultan
  • 21-01-2021

Not the same

Dick Francis is one of my favorite authors and I have read all of his books, including those he cowrote with his son (although these are often my least favorite). I will admit that I was not able to listen to this all the way through. Firstly Martin Jarvis is not a patch on Tony Briton. Jarvis has a drolling monotone which lacks the drama and vigor this type of book deserves and unlike Tony Briton whos characterizations brought the story to life, Jarvis makes them uninteresting and dull. On to the story, there is something missing from this book, with his father's books there was a sense of charm, fun as well as the drama and danger. Felix however does not seem to be able to bring these elements together opting for a more "gritty realism" and that is fine, he is entitled to develop his own style. However I wish he had not done it to characters his father crested. This is something I do find irritating where the son is clearly capitalising on his father's popularity but also trying to be "different enough", I kind of feel you have to do one or the other . I have tried to listen or read a number of Felix Francis books and for the most part I do give up as they are mostly dreadful. If you are looking for your next read after finishing all of Dick Francis's books of skip anything written by Felix you will feel disappointed. If you have not read his father's books then give this and other Felix Francis books a.go first.

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  • andy furkins
  • 12-11-2020

awful narration

not a bad story but... would have been much better with a better narrator. His cockney accent hilarious as was the so say "welsh" Belfast one. Sorry to say old school theatre lovies cant do common accents. Also its Chicco not Chicko Mr j. find a new narrator please.

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  • Kathy
  • 10-10-2020

Not the same

Over the past few months I have read quite a lot of Dick Francis books, and loved them. Especially the narration by Tony Britton. This is the first Felix Francis book I have read, not sure if it will be the last. I didn’t find it held me like D.F’s books do plus the brilliant Tony Britton wasn’t reading it. Sorry Martin Jarvis but you just seem to be trying too hard. I couldn’t get into the story and found it laboured in some parts. Overall three stars is all I think it merits

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  • J. Simms
  • 15-01-2020

A long exhausting switchback ride

Exciting, and rather long and convoluted but exciting typical dick Francis novel.not the best but definitely a good read.

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  • Ms M J Esler
  • 29-08-2019

Felix is as good as his dad

Excellent story building up to nail biting finish Looking forward to the follow up. Dick Francis lives on.

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  • Ian S
  • 01-05-2019

very enjoyable

well read and enjoyable storyline, would definitely recommend this book to relax and listen too.

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  • Judith
  • 11-04-2019

Martin Jarvis and Dick Van Dyke....

Martin Jarvis and Dick Van Dyke separated at birth? Their cockney accents are both terrible! For an actor he has a surprising lack of ability to change his accent! However, in his ‘own’ voice he naarates well. Another good canter down the racecourse with this novel.

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