First Sentence: Medic! Medic!
Captain Thomas Forsythe has returned from fighting and being injured in Afghanistan, to a place called home in name only. He and his mother have never been close. She is a well-known, well-respected, successful trainer of racehorses and at risk of losing everything to a blackmailer and/or the Inland Revenue. For the first time ever, Tom can help his mother; if she would only let him.
One thing on which you can always count with a Francis novel is a captivating opening and this book didn't disappoint. It begins with a bang, literally, and is both current to our time and effective. After that, I must admit, the old charm wasn't quite there.
Tom is an effective character and classically Francis; he's independent, a loner, self-reliant and determined. He was certainly the best of the characters in the story, and the most well developed.
It may sound silly, but enjoy that the author's voice, particularly with both the author and the characters being British, sounds British without an attempt to Americanize it. There was a strong sense of place, I feel I'm coming to know the Lambourn region. Details make a difference. The inclusion of information on Tom's life in the military, including what the infantry wears and carries with them, but also information on the tax system; these things add dimension to the story.
Taking into account that I was reading an uncorrected proof, there was a good deal of redundancy. I hope that won't be true with the finished edition.
The plot was good, but lacked the suspense to which I'm accustomed and a number of the situations were strikingly, and rather uncomfortably, familiar from previous books. Remembering specifically which books definitely took me out of being involved in reading this one.
One of the classic Francis elements was missing; the protagonist was never involved in a fight. Considering the occupation of the protagonist, this was one book in which he could really have held his own. Maybe that's why it wasn't included, but I certainly noticed the lack of it being there.
What did work, however, was the climax. It was unexpected, somewhat shocking and one of the best from Francis in awhile. The epilogue was well done and it is always important to me to know justice is served.
For all its faults, I don't regret having read 'Crossfire.' It will be interesting to see how the Francis name and style progresses from here.
CROSSFIRE (Ama Sleu-Tom Forsythe-England-Cont) ' Good
Francis, Dick and Felix ' 45th book
Putnam Adult, ©2010, ARC, US HC ISBN: 9780399156816