The Perfect Host

stars] The Perfect Host (2010) on IMDb [Amazon Link]

This starts out as a neat psycho-thriller, but managed to stretch my credibility beyond the breaking point. No spoilers, but…

A criminal, John Taylor, is on the lam from a bank job; his task is complicated by the fact that the cops are everywhere, and he's been shot in the foot. Looking for refuge, he glibly talks his way into a nice home inhabited by—hey, it's Niles Crane! No, actually, it's Warwick Wilson, played by David Hyde-Pierce.

Warwick is a gracious host, and seemingly duped by John's impersonation of a friend of a friend. He invites John to stay for a dinner party later that night. But it gradually becomes apparent that Warwick was not fooled, and he has other, more sinister, plans for John.

Helen Reddy is in this, by the way. Yes, that Helen Reddy: "Delta Dawn", "I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar". According to IMDB, this is her first movie since 1987. I didn't recognize her.

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:31 AM EDT

Driving Force

[Amazon Link]

Another reader of this book: Elizabeth Hurley. (Last picture on the page.)

The Dick Francis hero this time around is Freddie Croft. Some of Francis's protagonists have interesting, even glamorous professions. Freddie is not one of them; he used to be a jockey, but now he runs a horse transport firm. His vehicles move racehorses from trainers' stables to racetracks, then back again. Boooring!

Meticulous and professional, Freddie might prefer his life that way. But things get a little more interesting: first, against strict orders, his drivers pick up a mysterious hitchhiker, who up and dies on them. The circumstances are just strange enough to prompt Freddie to investigate further, and his mechanic discovers hidden compartments underneath some of the trucks; someone's using them to transport something! But what? And why?

This being a Dick Francis book, things rapidly get more sinister. Another body turns up, perhaps the victim of foul play. Freddie finds himself the target of (a) a police investigation, (b) a nasty bit of vandalism, and (c) attempted murder.

A decent Francis outing, if not among his best. ("Decent" Francis is still pretty darn good, though.)

Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:32 AM EDT