Rat Race by Dick Francis

Although controversy surrounds the authorship of his mysteries, Dick Francis is a staple for horse fans.

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Rat Race by Dick Francis


  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.72 x 6.84 x 4.19
  • Publisher: Fawcett Books; Reprint edition (April 1993)
  • ISBN: 0449221121

    Book Description
    Matt Shore is a substitute pilot assigned to fly four racing buffs to the track. They're nervous, but Matt's not. That is, until he manages an emergency landing minutes before the plane explodes. Matt doesn't think anything else can possibly go wrong. Then he finds himself caught up in a rat race of danger that puts him on the wrong side of the odds....

    Reader Reviews
    Ken Reffner's expose of Rat Race, April 21, 2003 Reviewer: wadegloria from Bedford, PA United States To begin with, I would first like to say that Rat Race was a much better mystery story than what I had first expected it to be. While it could have been much better, it was not a complete waste of time. This is a book that frequently centers on horse racing, which I despise, so you may want to keep my prejudices in mind while reading my opinions. Rat Race slowly begins with pilot Matt Shore flying passengers to a horserace for a little airline company named Derrydowns. Matt was taking over for another pilot who had left the job just a week before. On his fist flight to the races Matt found out that other pilots despised him just because he worked for Derrydowns. He also found out that one of his passengers was the famous jockey, Colin Ross. Colin became one of Matt's permanent costumers. Everything was going well with Matt's job until he had trouble with one of the plane's steering cables on a trip home from the races. He then made an emergency landing to have the airplane checked out. The disgusted crew was suddenly jolted by an explosion at of nowhere as they walked from the plane. Luckily, though, no one was close enough to be injured. Right timing and chance seemed to have been the only thing that saved them. After much questioning from the Nazi-like Board of Trade, Matt was reprimanded and then decided to search for answers to the explosion. As a result he made an astonishing find: one of his passengers was an explosives expert! The 'chance' that saved his life was now thought to be a deliberate ploy by one of his own passengers riding in the plane with him. Was this loose maniac planning to take Colin Ross' life? Maybe someone had made a bet on Colin Ross to win or lose a race and needed that bet secured. But why would he blow up a plane with no one in it. As time passed Matt forgot about the explosion because of the fact that he met Colin Ross' sister, Nancy, and became infatuated with her. The story then turns into a boring romance between Matt, Nancy, and her doped-up ex-lover. Fortunately, the story picks up again when Colin is in another near-death plane incident. This time Nancy, who is not very experienced, is flying. The same man who hid the explosives on Matt's plane has now sabotaged her plane. With all electrical devices not working, she is done for in the cloud-filled sky. Luckily her lover, Matt, finds out about the plot and manages to find her in the sky in his own plane and guides her to safety. Matt now knows who has sabotaged the planes both times but is unable to have him arrested. He also finds out that others are involved. Other peoples' lives are in danger but he cannot tell them without looking like a fool because he has no solid proof. Even more disturbing is that the crooks know that Matt knows about their scheme. Which side will come out victorious in the end? Was this book worth reading? No. There was not enough excitement or enough suspense. Nor was the plot original. It was the same story of two lovers falling in love, some kind of event splitting them up, and they finally live happily ever after in the end. While I suppose this sort of 'fairytale' type of story is possible, it is highly unlikely. For example, Matt is invited to move in with Colin and Nancy in the end. Colin is very rich, so the rest of Matt's life is a breeze. I am sure this sort of thing could and does happen, but for the most part, only in dreams. One good thing about the story, though, is that it develops the characters very well. I was able to learn the personalities of most the characters fairly well. This, of course, is essential in a mystery story. If I had to give it a grade on the overall quality of reading I would give it an average, solid 'C'.

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