Shattered

Francis, Dick

Published by Michael Joseph, 2000
ISBN 10: 0718144538 / ISBN 13: 9780718144531
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Synopsis: Gerard Logan finds that when his jockey friend dies following a fall at the Cheltenham races, he is involved in a desperate search for a stolen video tape which embroils him in more life-threatening hazards than does his work as a widely-acclaimed glass-blower.

Review: After 41 novels, most writers run out of energy before the final gallop. But Dick Francis's latest thriller is as good as his earliest. Perhaps it's because this one is dedicated to the Queen Mother, who celebrated her centennial in 2000, and who, like her famously horsey daughter, shares Francis's passion for the races. Or maybe he's just found his stride again, after a few less-than-outstanding starts. Here he does one of his best tricks: lures you into a somewhat arcane area you might know little about and explicates it so brilliantly that you don't even realize how much you've learned (in this case, about glass blowing) while a mystery is unraveled, a crime is solved, and the hero gets the girl.

This time the mise en scène is the glass blowing studio owned by Gerard Logan, friend of the late Martin Stukely, a jockey who takes a fatal fall at the Cheltenham steeplechase during the last race of the century. Still mourning Martin, Gerard is savagely beaten, his workshop ransacked, and his life threatened by a gang of thugs. Investigating, Gerard discovers that the gang includes a domineering woman who's the daughter of Martin's valet and a scientist who's stolen valuable data from the laboratory that formerly employed him. They believe Gerard has possession of a videotape entrusted to him by Martin before his death and that the secrets on the tape are worth Gerard's life.

It's a good set up, with just enough of the usual horse lore and a pleasant love story involving Gerard and a pretty policewoman, neither of which overshadow the taut pacing and the well-worked-out plot. Francis's protagonists may be accidental heroes, but they're not antiheroes; they're usually eminently decent, likable men, and their sense of self is always interesting. Here's Gerard at home, in a break from the action, thinking about the new woman in his heart in a typical Francis love scene:

I walked deliberately through all the rooms, thinking about Catherine, wondering both if she would like the place, and whether the house would accept her in return. Once in the past the house had delivered a definite thumbs-down, and once I'd been given an ultimatum to smother the pale plain walls with brightly patterned paper as a condition of marriage, but to the horror of her family I'd backed out of the whole deal, and, as a result, I now used the house as arbiter and had disentangled myself from a later young woman who'd begun to refer to her and me as "an item" and to reply to questions as "we." We think. No, we don't think.
And, a few pages later,
The speed of development of strong feeling for one another didn't seem to me to be shocking but natural, and if I thought about the future it unequivocally included Catherine Dodd. "If you want to cover the pale plain walls with brightly patterned paper, go ahead," I said.

She laughed. "I like the peace of pale walls. Why should I want to change them?"

It may be Francis's English reticence that keeps him, mercifully, from spoiling a good mystery with what other writers consider the obligatory sex scene, or it just may be the mastery of his form that few of his peers approach. In every page of this terrific new book, he's at the top of it. --Jane Adams

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Shattered
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First British edition, the true first.

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Dick Francis
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ISBN 10: 0718144538 ISBN 13: 9780718144531
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Francis, Dick
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Book Description Michael Joseph. Hardcover. Condition: Good. 0718144538 Book is in good condition, with typical reading wear to cover and spine. Pages are yelllowing. Unclipped dust jacket. Scuff marks present to cover. Shelf wear to edges of dust jacket. Seller Inventory # E0056611

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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2000. Condition: Good. This is an ex-library book and may have the usual library/used-book markings inside.This book has hardback covers. With usual stamps and markings, In good all round condition. Dust Jacket in good condition. Seller Inventory # 5899493

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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2000. Condition: Fair. This book has soft covers. Ex-library, With usual stamps and markings, In fair condition, suitable as a study copy. Seller Inventory # 3775001

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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Shipped from the UK. EXPRESS DELIVERY AVAILABLE AT CHECKOUT. Seller Inventory # mon0000164922

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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Included. First edition. Fast Dispatch. Expedited UK Delivery Available. Excellent Customer Service. Edition: 1st. Seller Inventory # BBI2121950

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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Condition: Used; Acceptable. We are committed to providing each customer with the highest standard of customer service. All books are picked, packed and dispatched from the United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # PH2133580

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Francis, Dick
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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd, 2000. Paperback. Condition: Used; Good. We are committed to providing each customer with the highest standard of customer service. All books are picked, packed and dispatched from the United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # PH3191629

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Book Description Michael Joseph Ltd 6/30/2005, 2005. Hardcover. Condition: VeryGood. Corners and spine ends bumped. Seller Inventory # B2-3333

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Book Description -. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Shattered This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. Seller Inventory # 7719-9780718144531

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