My book review of 'No Reserve' by Felix Francis

by Felix Francis
No Reserve
by Felix Francis

I don't know why I haven't picked up any of Felix or Dick Francis's books before. I like horses, I like thrillers and I like Cheltenham, and Newmarket - which is where this novel is set.

We're introduced to Theo, a young, ambitious and capable auctioneer who has been given the plum job of presiding over the October yearling sales at the Thoroughbred sales ring.

This is where millions of Guineas can be paid for horses that are unnamed, untested. They haven't yet stepped on the track so their potential is theoretical, academic. 'It's the greatest gamble in all of horseracing, and one that can end in ruin.'

Theo has just concluded the biggest sale of his life but afterwards overhears a conversation between the last two competing bidders. It sounds as if they were colluding to raise the price. Why they would do so is a mystery but when the horse they purchased dies the next day, Theo thinks there's something here that needs investigating.

But these are influential, valuable clients so Theo's boss doesn't want to pursue it and Theo is left to probe the events and the players himself, realising along the way that there are few people he can really trust.

This is a great page-turner. I found it intriguing and enthralling. Loved the peek into the world of horse racing and it was nice spotting the Suffolk links too - Bedford Lodge hotel, Bury St Edmunds police station, the tragic past in the village of Soham. I will be reading more books by Felix Francis!


Read my interview with Felix Francis here.

Date of this review: June 2023
Book publication date: 28th September 2023