Odds On by Michael Crichton

Odds On by Michael Crichton (writing as John Lange) (1966)

215 pages

Goodreads Summary: To rob the finest resort in fascist Spain, three Americans need to blend in among the Mediterranean elite. And to do so, they will each need a gorgeous girl as cover. They find a depraved millionaire, a drug-addled nymphomaniac, and an assistant hotel manager who enjoys mingling with her handsome guests after hours.

The would-be thieves have used an IBM supercomputer to plan the perfect heist. Their crime has been calculated to the last detail, with every possible contingency planned for, save one: the women. The Hotel Reina is crawling with femmes fatales, and these crooks will be lucky to escape with the shirts on their backs.

I’ve read several Michael Crichton books and really enjoyed them.  So I was thrilled to discover that three of his early books were being published recently.  While his most popular books are usually thrillers with science fiction elements, this one is more of a mystery/thriller.

Like Crichton’s other work, it is indeed fast paced and easy to read.  There are multiple characters and plots, a lot going on, but I didn’t feel confused at all.  It felt like I was watching a movie as all the characters’ lives began to come together.  Even though you knew the main characters were planning a heist, there was still a lot of other suspense and mystery involved.

The one thing I wasn’t really expecting was such a focus on sex.  I’ve never encountered it in any of Crichton’s other novels, yet the male main characters were seducing women left and right.  There were even minor characters whose sexual escapades were described.  I thought there would be more focus on other technical elements which Crichton does so well, like the computer that helped them plan the robbery.

Still, I did enjoy the book, it just wasn’t entirely what I was expecting.  It reminded me of an old James Bond movie or some other adventure film from the 1960s or 70s.  I plan to pick up the other two books like this and hope they are just as fun to read as this one was.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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