Despair, suicide, and obsessive hatred, mixed well with humor, love, and horses, brew up into the story of a battle between one man's nerve and another man's cunning. Robert Finn, steeplechase jockey, finds himself the focus of a malicious campaign which is also afflicting his friends. He sets out to discover its source, and remove it.
©1964 Dick Francis; (P)Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
As an English teacher, I always used to recommend students to look at Dick Francis' style: never a word wasted, the story always driven on, the description clear, the characters engaging, the tension always maintained.
Some people think you have to be interested in horses and racing to enjoy his books: this is simply a misconception for, while they often have racing and racing people as part of the background, they are not always part of the main plot. As it happens, however, "Nerve" IS about jockeys and horse racing - but (as always with Francis) it is a riveting story which anybody will enjoy. It is full of characters with whom it is easy to empathise, a dash of real nastiness in the chief 'baddie' - and it also contains one of the best descriptions of a horse race that one could ever wish to hear.
It is also superbly read by Tony Britton. If you haven't experienced a Dick Francis novel before there is no better place to start - and (having read and listened to most of them now) I envy you the pleasure you will have in the future in the company of a truly masterful story teller.
One of his earlier books and in my opinion one of the best. An eye for detail and a likeable hero draw you in very quickly. Can't think why other listeners didn't enjoy it.
Good story... well read
I would definitely recommend this book very enjoyable one of the best but maybe the ending could have been a little less sudden
It didn't make sense that the character would not go and report the villain to the police.
I would change the ending. The main characters actions did not exactly make him a very nice person, nor did it really make sense why he didn't let the law resolve the matter.
The main character's love interest was his first cousin, personally I found it a bit cringe worthy.
The narrator takes his time but is a joy to listen to. The recording is a bit poor (volume and acoustic changes constantly). The story makes up for it.
"An old read now on audio"
I am just so tired of the same old gratuitous sex and violence, 4 letter vocabulary and formulaic plot of the stuff being written today that I'm going back and listening to old favorites now on audio. Not to say that there is no sex, violence or cussing in Dick Francis novels, they are crime stories after all and Francis can be gruesome along with the best of them.
I've been a Francis fan for a long time. I find him a wonderful storyteller who balances description and action such that his stories don't lag. Once I start one, I don't want to put it down. Yes, he has a formula: all of his stories are somehow connected to the world of British steeplechase racing. But every book is different -- different heroes, different crimes. Nerve was written in 1964 and was his second novel. Yes, it reflects Britain in the early 60s--tut tut and cheerio--but the story of jealousy and murder is timeless and you will enjoy riding along with Rob Finn as he tries to figure it out.
As for the reader, Tony Britton is delightful, pleasant to listen to, clear crisp and well paced.
"One of the Master's Best"
I read this when it first came out -- 40 years ago? It's incredible still. Francis creates the very best villains, and any novel that can claim arguably the best opening line in mystery can hardly fail. Tony Britton is stellar in the role of Finn, if a bit too mature for the twenty-something hero. The breathing referred to in the negative review is required by the script -- our hero engages in exhausting and stressful efforts to escape a gruesome capture, and another character has asthma. The only drawback is with the uneven recording. The engineers failed to preserve the tone and timbre of prior entries, so the volume is uneven, and one portion sounds as though Britton is reading in a bathroom. Still, well worth the money to get lost in a to a classic, memorable suspense novel.
"Another great one, but the ending is weak."
Even tho it seems that his formula (horses, jockey, British racing world) would get tired, Dick Francis churns out at least one a year and they don't dissapoint. Altho I think the ending is somewhat weaker than other of his, the story itself is well-written and well-narated.
Bottom line -- get it!
"one of my favs"
I think this is one of Dick Francis' best books. His descriptions of horse races are masterful and this books has one of the best descriptions of the revenge the protagonist takes against his for.
"A favourite rediscovered"
This was the first Dick Francis I ever read, back in the time still in German and abridged. Nevertheless, the story hooked me and I got a fan. I read nearly all his books but I always came back to this. The storyline keeps close to the characters and uses racing as a colourful background. It starts with a bang and keeps your nerves taut till the gripping finish.
Tony Britton does a wonderful job reading it, giving each character its own voice.
If you are wondering, what the hype about Dick Francis is all about - try this one for starters.
"Another great story from Dick Francis"
Great story and narration! I wish Audible USA had all the books by Dick Francis and also narrated by this narrator. Great fun!
"A little farfetched, but very entertaining"
I really enjoyed the book. I have read a couple of Francis' books previously, but this was my first via audible. The audio was a little scratchy at times, but overall a very entertaining listen.
"Another great novel...well read"
I was enjoying this audio book so much that I was sorry it ended. Brilliantly performed with Tony Britton creating numerous voices for so many characters. A good story with just the right mix of psychological and physical drama. I did notice a few themes in this book that I had encountered in other Francis novels. This was probably the prototype.
"Another great Dick Francis"
I always enjoy Dick Francis. I also like having a different "hero" and characters each time.
the book is great, the guy reading is horrible and doesnt know how to read without breathing in really loudly, it was almost a deal breaker to be honest i did in the end get over it but that was becouse i like the auther
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