Saturday, December 10, 2022

ICED by Felix Francis – Book Review

ICED is the latest horseracing mystery by Felix Francis, son of the British crime writer Dick Francis.



Synopsis


Miles Pussett grew up wanting more than anything to be a championship steeplechase jockey like his father. He loved riding horses and dreamed of following in his father's footsteps.


When his dad is killed in an automobile accident when Miles is 12, he devotes himself to learning to ride like his famous father. He is given his first opportunity while still in his teens to compete in a point-to-point event, his first horse race, albeit as an amateur. When his mother dies, he becomes a jockey for a training stable.


Although Miles tries his best, he endures many setbacks as he pursues his dream. He is treated badly by fellow jockeys as they all think he is only given rides in horse races because of who is father was. Therefore he has no friends. He wins a few races, but 'being the best' eludes him as there are more losses than wins and his confidence level gets lower and lower.


Miles ends up drinking as a way to 'forget' his failures and eventually he hits rock-bottom. With the help of the trainer's wife, who sees the problem and wants to help Miles, he ends up seeing a psychiatrist. Turns out that Miles has been suffering from PTSD going back to his childhood. He always thought that PTSD was only a veteran's condition. Not so. Anyone can suffer from it given enough trauma that has gone unrecognized. 


Until the psychiatrist explains it to him, Miles had no idea that his dad's death had affected him so strongly (because 12-year-old Miles was in the car with his dad the day of the accident). And his mother's death when he was only 17 was due to suicide and Miles blamed himself. All this trauma before he ever grew up with no one helping him understand it led to his PTSD. 


Now it is 7 years later and Miles has left the horse racing world and is doing fine. Instead, he enjoys riding headfirst down the Cresta Run, a three-quarter-mile Swiss ice chute, reaching speeds of up to eighty miles per hour. 


While at St. Moritz for the Cresta Run, Miles discovers it is the same weekend as the White Turf – an event featuring high-class horseracing taking place on a frozen lake.  Against his better judgment, he gets talked into helping out with the horses. But then he discovers something suspicious going on at the races.


Miles begins to search for answers, because the 'something suspicious' many have a profound impact on his future. But someone is adamant about stopping him – and they will go to any lengths to do it.


Summary


The horseracing mystery involved in ICED is, as always, an interesting read for fans of the Dick Frances and Felix Francis stories. But it is also a look into how Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) can affect not only those who have fought in wars, but anyone who has had to endure a series of traumas in their life.  


Available on Amazon


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*Iced, a horseracing mystery by Felix Francis reviewed by Wednesday Elf






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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11 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book Elf and one my dad would probably really enjoy reading. Thanks for the excellent review and recommendation of another great book!

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    1. Thanks, Mouse. As you can tell, I am a big fan of the Dick Francis/Felix Francis mystery novels.

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  2. This does, indeed, sound like a terrific book that my husband would enjoy and I might, too. If you haven’t seen the excellent Acorn TV series Professor T about a criminology professor who suffers from both OCD and PTSD, I think you would really enjoy it, Elf. It’s in Dutch with English subtitles and is absolutely fascinating.

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    1. The Acorn TV series you describe sounds very interesting, Margaret. Thank you for your visit to my book review.

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  3. This book sounds very appealing; you had me reading the entire review word for word. Yes, indeed PTSD can be suffered due to any traumatic event - you have me curious about the "something suspicious" as well!

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    1. Glad to hear I piqued your interest, Barbara. Thanks for your visit.

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  4. Perfect timing like always Pat Austin. My granddaughter loves riding and reading about horses and riders and their particular stories! So guess what? On my shopping list this book goes! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Olivia. Hope your granddaughter enjoys this book. Dick Francis, a once-jockey himself - wrote a bunch of books that focus on horse racing and the horse racing world, if she likes those type of stories. They are among my favorites.

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  5. This book sounds like it has a very interesting storyline with good developed characters. It is interesting that Dick Francis himself had a life in the world of horses and racing. I like what sounds like the sensitive handling of the issue of PTSD which can affect anyone who has been through trauma. Thank you for your review and recommendation.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and thoughtful comments, Raintree Annie

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  6. Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like a book I would enjoy!

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