Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Odds On by Michael Crichton writing as John Lange

First Line: Le Perthus, France: The dynamite, neatly bundled in "Happy Birthday" wrapping paper, lay casually on the backseat.

Three Americans have used an IBM supercomputer to plan the perfect heist. Now all they have to do is blend in at the finest resort in Fascist Spain in order to carry it out. It doesn't take them long to discover that the computer planned for every contingency except one: the Hotel Reina is crawling with femmes fatales.

This is Michael Crichton's very first novel, and although it's not bad, it's certainly not good. The very best part of Odds On is the heist. I've always enjoyed a good heist story. Perhaps I was a cat burglar in a former life. But then the incidentals start clouding the issue. The author included an overlong scene in which the explanation is given for how the computer planned out the robbery. I have to be honest: my eyes crossed midway through and I skimmed the rest. Of course, this was written in 1966, so all that computer stuff was new and fascinating and not really trusted.

The other "incidental" that spoiled Odds On was the inclusion of all the gorgeous women with long long legs and huge firm breasts who strutted from scene to scene-- not to mention bed to bed. Ah well, I think we can say that Michael Crichton as a young writer loved James Bond films and all those Bond Girls.

Fortunately, this was a quick read, and although I didn't really enjoy it, I do value it as a window into the world of an author who wrote some of my favorite thrillers. These early books are his learning curve.

Odds On by Michael Crichton writing as John Lange 
eISBN: 9781453299234
Open Road Integrated Media © 2013
Originally published in 1966.
eBook, 288 pages

Thriller, Standalone
Rating: C-
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

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