cover image Odds On

Odds On

John Lange. Hard Case Crime (, $9.95 (274p) ISBN 978-1-78329-118-2

In the 1960s, Michael Crichton wrote hardboiled pulp fiction under the pseudonym John Lange. Hard Case Crime is simultaneously releasing three of those novels all of which were revised by Crichton before his death in 2008. In this crime thriller, skilled computer programmer Steven Jencks is leaving nothing to chance: using a special program he has determined the exact odds of success for carrying out a complex heist. He teams with fellow crooks Bryan Stack, who still lives for the thrill of criminal tension, and Miguel, a skillful smuggler. Together, the three men plan to rob a Spanish resort hotel. However, the Hotel Reina is populated with various, eccentric characters who could threaten even Jencks's best-laid plans. From a bickering couple of privileged college students to a seductive nymphomaniac to a hash-dealing British aunt, anyone could distract the men from the task at hand. The story unfolds in starkly exact action that makes everything appear straightforward. And, in tune with the genre, many of the women exist solely to be used by the men, leading to some steamy sex scenes. Crichton, though, provides plenty of misdirection to keep you on your toes. If you like the pulpy crime fiction of the %E2%80%9860s, then odds are you'll enjoy this one. (Nov.)