Allen Wyler,
Deadly Odds
(Astor + Blue, 2014)

This is the second thriller I've read by Allen Wyler, and he does keep up the excitement! I keep reading to discover what happens next.

The problem, though, is that after finishing the novels, I am not at all sure that the plots make sense. While this is not really a problem as one is reading them, it makes them less satisfactory once one has finished.

Deadly Odds was much more coherently written than the last one, and the characters were more fully fleshed out. I think it helped that there were far fewer point-of-view characters; we saw this mostly through Arnold's eyes and experience.

But while the characters were more fleshed out, the basis for the plot was iffy. Not psychologically -- it is entirely plausible that a sexually naive young man could get roped into something by thinking with his hormones! However, the technical basis on which the plot builds is convoluted at best, and mostly described with hand-waving. Is Arnold an unsung genius at statistical prediction? An uber-hacker? Or??? Which is not to mention his failure to pay taxes on his income, which is just really stupid and not dealt with.

The end had very much a feeling of being set up for the next volume in the series. Several of the villains are not decisively death with, plus Arnold leaves several threads hanging -- and I think we have seen that while he may be a computer genius, he is NOT clever at managing emotions and relationships.

Also -- the advance review copy I got had numerous flaws in it with text and spelling. Sometimes it has a series of prepositions all in a row, like Wyler was trying to decide amongst them but left them all in. It desperately needs a good copy editor -- one who might even be able to help clear up some of the plot lacunae.

I did find this a quick and enjoyable read, but due to the flaws I hesitate to recommend it.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

29 November 2014

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