Finished January 31
Front Runner by Felix Francis
Our hero for this novel is Jeff Hinkley is a senior investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, the BHA. He has done a fair bit of undercover work, but one of his recent cases has him more in the limelight that he likes. Derrick Smith nearly had one of his horses stolen, an act thwarted by Jeff's work, and now he can't stop singing Jeff's praises. One of the leading jockeys, a man he has become friends with, has called him to talk face-to-face. The conversation is difficult as the jockey wants help, but doesn't necessarily want to admit what he is being blackmailed for. When he calls to continue the conversation the next day, indicating he has additional information, Jeff is put into a position that narrowly misses being fatal. The jockey turns up dead shortly thereafter, an apparent suicide. When this is followed a couple of days later by another attempt on Jeff's life, he begins to dig deeper into the people he has met and the things he has seen, looking for those things that don't look quite right.
Jeff is close to his older sister Faye, who is undergoing cancer treatment and while he doesn't always get on with her husband Quentin, he does respect him and he legal knowledge. Jeff is also still recovering by being dumped by his fiance. When he meets Henrietta Shawcross at a function Derrick invites him to, he can't believe that she would be interested in him. As he begins this new relationship, he also finds himself caught between his investigative instincts and his feelings.
Another great thriller built around the world of horse-racing. Francis never disappoints.