Book Report: Dead Heat
14 January 2008, 3:01 PM
Dead Heat was a disappointment. I had quite enjoyed Under Orders after initial skepticism, and despite the presence of Felix Francis alongside Dick Francis on the cover of the book, I thought that the book might well be good enough, even if unlikely to be as good as the best of the set. And in the first thirty-five pages there was a mass poisoning and a bombing, quite enough to pass the time lightly despite a bit of awkward writing. Sadly, it was all downhill from there.
The main character was a bit of a jerk, honestly, and his unthinking access to vast wealth turned me off. It's one thing for a protagonist to whine about poor customer service from a mobile phone company when his house has burnt with all his possessions. It's another when the protagonist has a bank account that turns out to be in the half-million territory (at least; he gives his fiancée a betrothal present that is at least $150K after the expenditure following the fire).
The other thing is that the plot makes very little sense. And here, Gentle Readers, is the SPOILER WARNING that I normally put in the excerpt on the main page, but I'm doubling it here, because, you know, mystery, plot, villain.
So, why wasn't Peter-the-Villain at the poisoning party? The plot hinges on the idea that he withdrew from the bomb party the next day at lunchtime, thus indicating that he knew about the bomb. And he was a close associate (and drug conduit) of the guest of honor. So his absence from the evening part would be conspicuous, wouldn't it? But he wasn't there, or if he was there he wasn't poisoned, and it wasn't mentioned. Which is dumb.
And how did they get the bomb into the racetrack anyway? Either they managed to put the thing into the box when the box was reserved for the Saudi prince or whoever it was, or they managed to do it in the day before it blew up. There would have been ways to do it, but I think it needed to be explained. Didn't it?
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,