2) Title: False start
3) Pages: 375 pages
4) Year: The novel was first published in 1996, I could not find when it was written.
5) Setting: The story takes place in Great-Britain. There are no dates in the book, but my guess is that the story takes place around 1990/1995. The book is about two men who are setting up their own yard, when the stepfather of one of the men is murdered. They have to solve the murder in order to keep their yard, because one of them is also the suspect of the murder.
6) Plot: The story is about Charlie Patterson and Nick Ryder, they are both former jockeys and are now setting up their own yard for race horses. Kate Scanlan is works at the local animal rescue centre and finds a good looking yearling. Charlies stepfather buys the yearling for them, and she does well in her first races, After a few good results major Patterson (Charlies stepfather) decides to sell the filly. Nick goes over to persuade the major to keep the filly, after he talks to him the major goes to another room. When Nick hears screaming he tries to find the major and discovers that the major has been murdered. Nick is the prime suspect of he police because he was the last one that saw him alive. He tries to run from the police but is soon captured.
After some detective work, Charlie finds out that his mother has fled to Scotland and goes to see her. After speaking to her he pretends to leave, but does not. And when is mother goes elsewhere he follows her. She goes to see a man, which turns out to be Charlies (apparently not murdered) stepfather. His Stepfather admits that he owes a lot of money to many people, and because of that he and Charlies mother decided to fake his death and flee.
It does not take long for the police, and the sheikh to find that out to. Charlie pleads with his stepfather to give himself up, and go to the police, also his mother is very scared. But his stepfather does not want to give up.
When Charlie is at a race with some of his horses he gets a phone call that his stepfather had a car accident. The major could not live with his secret anymore, and he committed suicide in order for his wife to be able to live normally again. Charlie and his mother tell the police what happened, and Charlie settles the dept with the sheikh.
It even turns out that the sheikh did not send the men after Charlie and his mother, the men just pretended to be the sent sheikh in order to get the money for themselves.
In the end everybody’s life turns back to normal, Charlie and Nick are back to training horses. Kate turns out to be the new owner of the filly and so Charlie and Nick can keep their best horse after all.
7) Theme: There is no specific reason for the writer to write this story, It is logical that he writes about horses and racing, because he used to be a jockey himself. I think he wrote about the murder to make the book more interesting for people who are not interesting in horses.
8) Main persons: Charlie Patterson Charlie is a handsome man, and in his late twenties. He is quite tall and has blue eyes. He used to ride and train horses for Robert Aylestone, but is setting up his own yard. Charlie is a round character, because his personality is quite complex and his opinion about some things (such as if Nick was guilty or not, and how to handle his stepfather) changes in the course of the story.
Kate Scanlan Kate is 26 years old, has short hair and looks older than she really is. She works at an animal rescue centre but after a while she moves in with Charlie and helps to run the yard. Kate is a round character, because she develops from being being and animal rescuer to helping out full time at the yard, and she gets really interested in horses and racing, which she is not at the beginning of the story.
(major) David Patterson Charlies stepfather used to be a soldiet but has retired, he became security adviser and now sells antique furniture. He is about 60 years old. Major Patterson is a round character because in the beginning of the story he does not want to give himself up, and flees from the police and the sheikh. In the end he does want to find a way out and stop fleeing.
Pru Patterson Pru is Charlies mother, there are no specifics in the book about her age etc. She is a round character, she wants to make sure her husband is okay, even if that means she has lie to the police and flee herself. But after a while she realises that fleeing is not going to work forever, and tries to persuade her husband to give himself up.
9) Point of view: The story is told by a narrator
10) Personal opinion: I liked this book a lot. The story is thrilling from the beginning to the end, which makes it fun to read. I also like that the book is about horses and racing, because I love horseback riding and also do it myself. Usually I don’t like violent books, but the violence in this book was quite discreet and really added something to the story, so that was good too.
11) Extra assignments: Assignment E
I was interested in how the story would develop from page one. The book is thrilling right away. On the first page Kate is called to go and check at a farm where animals are possibly in danger. She goes up there alone, in the dark and animals are screaming of hunger and thirst. Because of this I was interested immediately.
I think it is a good thing when a story does not start by introducing all the main figures, but starts right away. I like to be ‘dropped’ in the middle of the story, because it makes thing interesting from the beginning until the end of the story. And this story does that, that’s why I was interested right away.
Some parts of this story could really have happened. Two former jockeys setting up their own yard, and having some little successes. Even that the stepfather of one of them is murdered, could be true. From that part of the story, it starts to get less realistic. I think the police do a better job than described, and also that a sheikh would not have you beaten up. That Charlies stepfather faked his own death and gets away with it for some time does not seem realistic at all. Some other things that are not realistic in the middle and end of the story is all the success Charlie and Nick have with their new yard. They immediately have some good horses who win races, usually it takes a few years before a trainer has a good winner.
On www.poemsforfree.com I found the poem ‘Pets are for life’.
Pets are for life
Pets are for life, not just for Christmas.
Each of us waits for the joy of a home.
Take one of us in and you'll never go kissless,
So long as you treat us as one of your own.
This poem reminds me of Kate Scanlan. I reminds me of her because she know very well what people can do to animals, and that animals are to keep for life. By working at the rescue centre she has a lot of experience who people who have a pet for Christmas, and than dump it again. The poem also reminds me of her because she loves Willow star (the rescued filly) so much and she understands how much an animal can love you back.