For a generous commission, ex-prize-winning jockey Jonah Dereham agrees to bid on a special horse for a wealth American lady. Unfortunately, for him, the crunch on his skull after the auction is not the last. There's more in store, until he manages to figure out the real high-stakes game being played....
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Can't Knock It., December 5, 2002 Reviewer: Christopher B. Jonnes from Stillwater, MN United States Anyone who loves horses and can read should take on at least one Dick Francis mystery novel. Francis is perhaps the world's most prolific (and best?) writer on fictional horse-related topics. Each of his mysteries revolves around some aspect of horses: breeding, racing, veterinary, trading, etc. He uses his fictional plots to impart his vast equine knowledge to readers in an enjoyable way. And Knockdown is as good an example as any. In Knockdown, street-wise Jonah Dereham is an independent and honorable bloodstock agent (British terminology for horse trader), a profession not known for ethical practices. Dereham learned his horse knowledge in his prior career as a jockey, and is now hired by rich American woman, Kerry Sanders to buy a horse at auction. In the parking lot after their successful bid, two thugs oddly demand that the horse now be sold to them at a higher price--and then enforce their demand by clubbing Jonah on the head, the first in a series of knockdowns to come. The mystery is on. What is so special about this horse? Why not buy the horse in the auction instead of extorting it from the new owners just minutes later? Who is this Kerry Sanders and who was the horse really for? Before he unravels the mess, Dereham suffers thru harassment, arson, threats to his alcoholic brother, Crispin, and more violent knockdowns. He meets the love interest, air traffic controller Sophie Randolph, when his mysteriously loose horse dashes across the highway, causing her to crash her car. Jonah tries to make things right for Sophie, but she ends up doing as much for him: once even setting his chronically dislocating shoulder after yet another encounter with the bad guys. Knockdown is rigid formula fiction that works. --Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead.