|Edition description:||New edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Medicine was his chosen discipline and he went on to have a distinguished career in his speciality, neurosurgery, which he determined on very early in his studies. Serving on the faculties of the University of Washington and the University of Tennessee, he earned an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. In 1992, he was recruited by the prestigious ‘Swedish Medical Centre’ to develop a Neuroscience Institute. Ten years later, he left active practice to become Medical Director for a start-up Med-Tech company, and now chairs the Institutional Review Board of a major medical centre in the Pacific Northwest.
In the early 1970’s Wyler developed a love of reading thrillers, and later decided to leverage his medical knowledge by writing himself. After the publication of his first two medical thrillers, ‘Deadly Errors’, and ‘Dead Head’, in 2005 and 2007 respectively, he retired from full time day to day medicine to devote more time to his writing. He has also served as Vice President of the ‘International Thriller Writers’ organization for several years.
He and his wife, Lily, divide their time between Seattle and the San Juan Islands, and he continues to develop new plots from real-life situations met during his career. His writing has been described as ‘right up there with the best’ and on another occasion, developing a high-speed plot with a ‘startling but all-too-plausible premise’.
Read an Excerpt
By Allen Wyler
Astor + Blue EditionsCopyright © 2014 Allen Wyler
All rights reserved.
What, no tip?" the cook asked while sliding the medium-size pizza across the chipped Formica counter to Arnold.
See, that's the problem. Do a person one favor and they expect another. Never ends. But Arnold didn't mind. In fact, he liked the guy. Besides, what's not to like? Always good natured, smiling, always put a few extra anchovies on the pizzas even though he didn't have to.
Arnold glanced over his shoulder to check out who might be nearby. The overheated humid room air was spiced with yeast, grease, and tomato sauce. The only other customers tonight were a couple, eyes glued to the high-def big-screen on the far wall, watching the Mariners, a large pepperoni and pitcher of beer in front of them, half-eaten slices en route to their mouths. Last thing they'd be looking at was Arnold doing business with the cook. Arnold slipped a folded paper from his billfold, passed it to the guy, pressing it firmly into his palm with the words, "Danny Boy to win in the third. Thunderbolt to place in the fifth. Saratoga."
The cook nodded acknowledgment, casually stuffing the note into his breast pocket. "Thanks. You the man!"
Arnold began to pull a twenty from his billfold but the guy waved it off.
"Naw, naw, no way. This one's on me, dude. After all," patting his breast pocket, "this more than takes care of it."
Arnold smiled, stuffed his wallet back in his jeans. "So, we're good?"
The cook laughed with a quick nod. "Yeah, we good, that is, of course, unless you want to tell me your system."
Arnold cringed. He'd messed up having ever mentioned it. In retrospect, he probably shouldn't have given the guy the first tip and just let it be. But he hadn't been able to keep his big mouth shut — hadn't been able to muzzle his jubilant pride at being able to match Nate Silver's uncanny predictive accuracy — so now here they were. "Then it wouldn't be my system anymore, would it," making it a statement instead of a question.
Wiping his fingers on the greasy apron, the cook nodded. "Point made," and shot a glance at the oven where a large meat-lovers pizza was beginning to bubble. "Anything else? Something to drink? Otherwise ..."
Arnold thought about that a moment, a vesper in the back of his mind warned of forgetting something. It came to him: "Tell you what. Throw in a couple packs of those hot peppers, will you?"
Arnold was hurrying to get home before the pizza cooled, the smell of melted cheese and greasy pepperoni whetting his appetite. He cut down an alley, crossed a sidestreet, then hung a left into another alley. Greenlake, a Seattle residential neighborhood, had been established before World War II in a bygone era of narrow roads, when alleys were unpaved afterthoughts for accessing impossibly small single-car garages. Years ago this alley had morphed into a contiguous series of opposing garage doors and privacy fences so high he could see nothing of the enclosed properties other than peaked roofs and brick chimneys. The light on the utility pole halfway down the alley had burned out weeks ago, leaving the chuck-holed asphalt in India ink shadows. But from having spent his life in the house he knew each crack and puddle well enough to navigate the narrow alley blindfolded.
His garage — set back from the alley by two feet — anchored the northeast corner of his property. A 7-foot-high cedar fence enclosed a back yard long gone to seed since his parents' death. A blue recycle and a green garbage bin abutted the fence, providing barely enough room for the garbage truck to navigate its weekly route. He carefully set the box of pizza on the green dumpster to type the six-digit code into the security pad, and the lock emitted a metallic slap. Propping the gate open with one foot, he picked up the pizza and entered the back yard, stopping to make sure the gate had locked securely behind him. Satisfied, he hurried along the short cement path to the back steps, on up to the porch, through the kitchen door, yelling, "Yo, dude, I'm back."
Heard Howie yell, "Run! Get out!"
"What?" Arnold stopped in the middle of the kitchen. This some sort of joke?
BAM. The unmistakable sound of a handgun made him jump.
Then Karim was filling the doorway from kitchen to dining room, gun in hand.
Dropping the pizza, Arnold spun 180 degrees and bolted through the back door, arms out, palms hitting the porch rail, his momentum carrying him into a Western roll out into space, into an arching fall ending with both feet hitting the ground. Hard. Jolting, searing pain shot from ankle to knee, almost buckling his right leg. Then Karim was up on the back porch, yelling, "Stop!" But now Arnold was limping as fast as possible straight for the gate, hand out to open the latch. Half-way through the gate he recognized Karim's heavy shoes clamoring down the stairs, coming after him unexpectedly quickly for such a big man.
Damn ankle! Sprained. Badly, too.
Arnold only had time to round the recycle bin and wedge into a crouch between it and the garbage bin, back against the fence, knees tucked against his chest before he heard the gate click open and the hinges squeak. He went dead-still one second before sensing Karim slip silently into the blackened alley, breathing hard, like a guy out of shape. Arnold hugged his knees, scrunching into an impossibly tight ball, shoulders wedged between bins, his back flat against the chilly cedar fencing. He strained to listen, heard one heavy step hit alley asphalt, then nothing as the big man waited, listening for footsteps or movement, for any sign of him.
A car engine grew more distant, blocks away. A dog barked somewhere on the next block. Graveyard stillness settled over the alley.
Silently Arnold began massaging his ankle, at first pressing gingerly over the spot hurting worse, the pressure producing excruciating pain, tolerable only because he needed to know if it were fractured or not — not that it made much difference if he had to bolt. He covered his mouth with his free hand to muffle his breathing. Could Karim hear him? Sense him? He caught a whiff of Karim's nauseating body odor and decided he had to be off to the left, probably just inside the alley at the gate. He gingerly probed the ankle further, deciding the bone wasn't broken, but shit, the damn thing hurt. He continued the massage, hoping it might alleviate some pain, because first chance he got, he'd make a break for it and run. But unless that opportunity was damn obvious, he'd stay still.
He recognized Firouz's voice, quiet and urgent, and figured Karim's brother must be on the porch leaning over the rail.
"Find him." A direct order.
Arnold tensed, ready to spring. If Karim discovered him he'd bolt before the bastard could react, hoping for the element of surprise ...
Yeah, then what? Guy has a gun. Sheer stupidity to try to overpower him. Certainly couldn't deck him. Didn't have the moves. Or the fist, for that matter. Running would be his only option. He certainly had the advantage of knowing every path and shortcut around here. Yeah, maybe ...
A shadow denser than others slipped silently past from left to right, the tangy stench of BO stronger, overpowering the rank, rotting garbage. Karim silently radiating a presence of mass. Arnold sensed him stop, probably no more than five feet away, almost close enough to feel his body heat. He held his breath, praying Karim wouldn't look between the bins, or if he did, couldn't see him in the inky shadow. Did the bastard carry a flashlight?
A light suddenly flashed on, casting high-contrast trapezoids across the alley. A door clicked, followed by the rapid scraping of claws on wood. Arnold pictured the neighbor's big male German shepherd shooting out across their back porch and down the steps into the enclosed grass yard. Then, a deep guttural growl from behind the fence.
The dog began rapidly sniffing as his nose scraped the fence corner where the properties met, about where he sensed Karim standing. The shepherd barked again, deep, threatening barks.
The alley remained deathly still. No movement, no sounds.
Arnold breathed and probed his ankle once more, this time applying more pressure, palpating the bone. No, not broken. Good enough to run on. Get ready. Any second now ...
"Fritz, no bark."
He recognized the neighbor's voice. The shepherd obediently ceased barking but continued to pant and sniff, his nose glued to the fence corner where Karim's scent had to be strongest.
"Anybody there?" his neighbor called.
Yell to him?
Yeah, and say what? Call 911? Fat chance. Not with Karim five feet away with a gun. His heart was beating so hard he was certain Fritz could hear it. Surely the pooch recognized his scent. But Karim's strong, foreign smell would be threatening, causing more threatening barks.
A moment later the neighbor said, "Come!"
Fritz's tags jangled, followed by the scrape of paws on the wood steps. Seconds later the door latch clicked and the floodlight went dark, once again filling the alley in heavy black shadows. Arnold stopped breathing.
The mass moved again, stopped, moved a bit further. Probing, searching, intent.
Water splashed, followed by a muttered curse in a foreign tongue.
Arnold smiled. Bastard stepped in a puddle.
Wet footsteps squished in his direction as the mass slowly and silently passed, now moving in the opposite direction, to Arnold's left.
Suddenly, the alley lit up, shadows streaking from left to right with the crunch of tires on loose dirt. A car was turned in from the far end, headlight straight into Karim's eyes.
Instinctively, Arnold realized his chance. He bolted, took two steps, cut sharp right, away from Karim, thinking, distance is good, every inch of is one less degree of accuracy. The odds of survival increasing in his brain with each step he ran, legs pumping harder and faster than ever before in his young life, an adrenaline surge igniting afterburners he never knew were there, fear overriding the searing pain from his ankle. He was flying through Mahoney's yard, onto the side street, cut another right, shot down a short block as one final surge sent him bursting through the pizza shop front door, breathlessly yelling, "Call 911!"CHAPTER 2
What exactly was your relationship with the deceased?" Detective Wendy Elliott asked. She was sitting on an aluminum chair opposite him, a small metal desk separating them. She seemed to be studying him with a freaky detached curiosity he found unnerving.
The deceased. The words reverberated through his mind and decayed like the ring of a bell as they vanished into heavy silence.
Howard's dead. Howard is the deceased. Then the words finally began to sink in, his muscles going lax. He slumped against the hard cinderblock wall. Blowing through pursed lips, he scrambled to grasp the full reality of those words. Until this very moment he'd desperately held onto a thread of irrational hope that the detonation he assumed to be a gunshot had been something entirely different — although he had no idea what that might be. Or if it was a gunshot, it had served as only a warning, a threat, anything but a senseless murder.
His best friend shot dead.
Guilt engulfed him.
Had he not gone for pizza, this awful senseless act of violence would never have happened. Meaning, in a perverse way, he was directly responsible for his friend's death.
He blew another deep breath and rocked forward, elbows on his knees, fingers knitted together as an anxious storm of butterflies fought to escape his stomach. The metal chair suddenly became too hard to bear, but fear of moving was paralyzing and he was too afraid to say a damn word. The acoustical-tile walls began squeezing his shoulders together, and this room's air — smelling of sweat and fear permanently embedded in the cinderblock walls — had become too warm and stuffy to catch one satisfying breath.
Glancing away from her, he massaged the back of his neck, suddenly aware this was an interrogation room. He stopped to look again. Oh Jesus, am I a suspect? They couldn't possibly think ...
The gut butterflies morphed into a gnawing ache.
"Huh?" His attention snapped back to the detective's penetrating green eyes boring into him, but his mind couldn't track her words. Those contacts she's wearing? Eyes like emeralds.
Jesus, did I actually think that? How ridiculous.
Dude, get your shit together, focus. What does she want?
She asked again, "What was your relationship with Mr. Weinstein?"
And he knew then she must be reading his thoughts.
"Mr. Weinstein? Funny, but he's always been Howie ..."
"Please just answer the question."
Sucking another breath, he palm-wiped his face, blinked. "We're best friends. Have been since grade school." More than friends ... brothers. Having grown up together. Bar mitzvahs only a month apart. Shared their fantasies, dreams, fears ... He flashed on the countless hours spent together linked by a love of all things digital, sharing copies of WIRED when other kids passed around comics, building outrageous computers from junked equipment, reading operating manuals and books on languages like C++ just for fun.
She seemed to weigh his answer, deciding something, which, in itself, was off-putting and uncomfortable, as if she was accusing him of something diffuse and intangible. Which did nothing but amp up his restlessness even more — if that were possible.
"That all?" she asked.
He mentally replayed the question yet still didn't see the point.
"Sorry. What is it you want to know?"
"You and Mr. Weinstein. You just friends?"
Ah. Now it was clear. Why was he so dense? "You asking if we're gay?"
He considered a biting answer, finding it unbelievable that she'd ask the question so obliquely. Should I be offended? Give her the benefit of the doubt. She needs facts, is all. Don't take it personally.
She raised her eyebrows. "Well?"
He gave a sarcastic laugh. "No, we're not gay." And immediately regretted his irritable, sarcastic tone because it sounded so ... adolescent. She was, after all, just doing her job. It was just that she was so far off base it actually struck him as humorous. Howie, Mr. Cool Dude, dated about three girls at any one time, his favorite du jour being Nicole, a French exchange student at the UW.
Again, he glanced at the round-face wall-clock and realized it was approaching midnight. They'd been at this for an hour now, revisiting the same ground over and over, just asking the question slightly differently. Seemed like they've been here all day. With a weird detachment he noticed his right hand was splayed across his abdomen, in a weak attempt to staunch the gnawing pain that hovered just below unbearable. The pain came in continuous rolling waves, diminishing temporarily when distracted by a question, intensifying as he considered their answers, back and forth in an endless loop.
Howie is dead. He'd never forgive himself. Never. Howie didn't deserve to die. Especially not like that. Murdered.
She tapped her ballpoint against the pad of paper on the small table in an attempt to capture his attention. "See, that's what I don't understand," she said. "Why would someone kill your best friend for a computer? Can you explain that?"
Damned ankle, aching like a sonofabitch. The terror of the alley zapping through him again, sending fresh searing bolts of pain deep into his gut, freezing his mind in mid-thought.
Oh Christ, she's waiting for another answer. He scrambled to remember the question, replayed it in his mind. "I don't know." But he did know. It's just too complicated to go into at the moment. Maybe never.
Frowning, she shook her head. "See, this is where your story begins to fall apart."
"Explain something to me. How do you know they were after your computer if you haven't been inside the house?"
Uh oh. Good point. Messed up on that. He saw her eyes — laser emeralds — boring straight through his pupils into his brain. Tell her?
"You got a Tums, something like that?" The weightlessness ratcheting several notches again.
Excerpted from Deadly Odds by Allen Wyler. Copyright © 2014 Allen Wyler. Excerpted by permission of Astor + Blue Editions.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Deadly Odds by Allen Wyler Arnold Gold, a computer geek and hacker decides to fly to Las Vegas for some fun. Soon he finds himself in a whirlwind of trouble. A man ends up dead and Arnold finds himself dodging a lawyer, has terrorists, the police and FBI looking for him. It becomes apparent that Arnold has no choice but to try to help stop this bomb from going off, getting himself killed and the City blown up. A fast aced thriller. Arnold is very likable,even though he basically has no life besides his computer. He makes the story more intense since he is an ordinary young man. There is plenty of action, and suspense. The story is well written. Allen Wyler really knows how to pull his readers into the story. I highly recommend Deadly Odds to those who love a great thriller, I was hooked from the first page.
Arnold Gold is a 23 year old computer genius. He has developed a way to use statistics to make money through online gambling. But he is obsessed with his virginity. After several failed attempts at dating, and the death of his roommate, he goes to Las Vegas and gets and escort. But after too much alcohol he starts bragging about this program. Conveniently he is contacted by some guys that say they work for the FBI and they ask him to run some numbers. When his prediction comes true the real FBI catch up with Gold and decide to make him spy on the terrorists that want to use Gold’s data. Gold is stuck in the middle and trying to find a way to hack the terrorists without being caught or killed along the way. Allen Wyler’s previous books are thrillers in the medical profession. This is another field but with the same style. There is a lot of technical information but not in an overwhelming way. There was a lot of action from the start. With everything going on in the world today with technology and terrorists, this books makes you feel like it could happen to you. This is another great story by Allen Wyler. Make sure to add this one to your collection and check out his other books. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
This was a fast paced and engaging thriller. The story grabs you from the beginning and keeps you reading from beginning to end. This story delves into the dark side of technology and the hacking world and lifestyle. These are very relevant topics in the world today. While the story may come across as slightly far fetched at times, it also is very believable and relatable to recent events that have been in the news. The main character, Arnold, is very shy and awkward. One spur of the moment decision changes his life in a blink. The characters, for the most part, are relatable and likable, and readers will find themselves really feeling like a part of the story. The story has many twists and turns and is a really fun read all around!