Tag Archives: Kathleen George

Finally! The Odds by Kathleen George

Take four plucky, smart, abandoned children (the oldest just 13); add a flawed but beautiful, warm-hearted man, big-hearted cops with a romantic edge, and introduce serious bad guys and tween gangster wannabes, and you’ll get The Odds by Kathleen George.  The sixth book nominated for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar prize for best novel, The Odds’ cover features the helpful words “A Mystery.”

I don’t mean to be snarky.  I enjoyed The Odds.  The kids are a smart, loving, talented bunch with a strong work ethic, determined to stay together after their grown-up-in-name-only stepmother takes off to hook up with a guy she used to know.  The cops are engaging and interesting characters.  But I’m not sure how to classify the book – is it a mystery if the reader pretty much knows all along what’s going on?  It’s more a police procedural – but even then, police detective Colleen Greer thinks she’s got it figured out early, and she’s right.  Some reviewers have called it a thriller, and from the point of view that several characters are trying to outrun the doom that’s coming ever closer, that seems right, too.

But classifying the book isn’t the main point…it’s ranking it in the Edgar race!  It’s an excellent read with interesting characters, the plot keeps moving.  In an interview in The Big Thrill, Kathleen George talks about her characters, the balance she strikes, and her desire for dark or flawed characters.   George’s book includes a lot of what I like in a mystery… if there had been just a little more actual mystery, I would have liked it even more!  Therefore, it lands midlist on the Literary Lunchbox ranking of Edgar Best Novel nominees, after The Last Child, Nemesis, and The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, but ahead of The Missing and A Beautiful Place to die.

  1. The Last Child (John Hart)
  2. Nemesis (Jo Nesbo)
  3. The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death (Charlie Huston)
  4. The Odds (Kathleen George)
  5. The Missing (Tim Gautreaux)
  6. A Beautiful Place to Die (Malla Nunn)

Of course, I am not part of the Edgar judging process!  So, authors, no need to send gifts.  I am a Mystery Writers of America member as a soon-to-be-published author (No, Mom, no news… just being optimistic).  It is a very lengthy process – works may only be submitted in one category and by the publisher or producer.   A look at the web site for 2010 submissions reveals the names of hundreds of titles in each category.

Edgars will be presented on April 29 in New York, NY, at the Edgar banquet.

On to Best First Novel by an American Author!  A Bad Day for Sorry beckons.

Time out from the Edgars, thanks to Amazon & the publishers

I’ve been on a roll lately, reading and blogging my picks for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar nominees for Best Novel.  At five of the six nominees read, I ran into a roadblock when the ever-so-accommodating Oak Park Public Library was not quite ready to lend me The Odds, by Kathleen George.  According to their online info, the book was in the “sorting system” and so even though I was #1 on the hold list, it was not going to be on the shelf when I went to the library to pick up my next trunkload of books.

Woe is me.  How can I start another book?  The Odds was it.  The next one.   Should I read magazines until it was ready?  Watch reality shows?  (Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares is addictive, I don’t really want to start.)

My anxiety abated when it occurred to me that I could order The Odds on Amazon.com and have it delivered in moments, via Whispernet.  Plus the reviews for the book were stellar, so I wouldn’t mind owning it.  Heck, I’d probably read it over and over.

But the new price system on Amazon – augh!  $14.82 for the e-book.  That’s just 18 cents away from $15.00.  I could print out a Borders coupon, hie myself down to Harlem & Lake, and get a brand-new, pristine, hardback version for that much.

So – the publishing wars (where Macmillan and Amazon battled over pricing, and other publishing houses entered the fray) are pretty much over.  Amazon lost this battle.  And the publishers accomplished their goal… they made me think twice about the cost of an e-book compared to a hardback.  But what about the war?  Did they push me into printing out their coupon and buying the book?  Am I now sitting here, caressing the smooth book jacket, inhaling the tangy scent of freshly pressed pages?

Nope.   Amazon lost  and the publishers lost… because in a day or two, I’ll get my email that says “The following book is being held for you at the Main Branch of the Oak Park Public Library:  The Odds by Kathleen George.”  And I’ll go pick it up, read it, and get back on that lonely blogging road.

To those who are eagerly awaiting each blogging pearl on the Edgar necklace (how’s that for a convoluted metaphor), my apologies.