Odds Against (Sid Halley Series #1)

Odds Against (Sid Halley Series #1)

by Dick Francis

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Odds Against (Sid Halley Series #1) by Dick Francis

"One of the greatest living suspense wirters."
After a fall from a racehorse that permanently crippled a hand, Sid Halley joined a detective agency. But it wasn't until some two-bit hoodlum drilled a slug into his side that he was sent out on a case of his own. That was where he met Zanna Martin, a woman who just might make life worth living again. But it was even-money that he'd be killed before she had the chance....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425198001
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/28/2005
Series: Sid Halley Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 252,547
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Don McCullin grew up in north London. He worked for the Sunday Times for eighteen years and has covered every major conflict in his adult lifetime. The finest British photojournalist of his generation, he has received many honors and awards including the CBE. He received a knighthood in the 2017 New Year honors list. He lives in Somerset.


Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies

Date of Birth:

October 31, 1920

Date of Death:

February 14, 2010

Place of Birth:

Tenby, Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales

Place of Death:

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, British West Indies


Dropped out of Maidenhead County School at age 15.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Part 1 Becoming Streetwise

1 The Battleground 3

2 Children of War 6

3 Dereliction in the Bunk 13

4 A Shocking Liberty 22

5 Hunting Dogs 26

6 Tank Warfare 30

7 The Murder 38

8 A Faster Sidewalk 44

9 The First Contest 53

10 Delinquent Photographer 65

Part 2 Going to the Wars

11 With the Mercenaries 71

12 Search and Destroy 82

13 First the Lion, Then Vultures 89

14 Jerusalem 98

15 Another Desert War 104

16 The Battle of Hue 109

17 Lessons of War 118

18 Children of Biafra 122

19 People Who Eat People 138

20 Wounded in Action 149

21 Besieged 160

22 Rain Forest Genocide 166

23 Hiding Behind the Camera 172

Part 3 Matters of Life and Death

24 Prisoner of Idi Amin 183

25 Handshake Before Highway 13 195

26 Death on the Golan Heights 204

27 The Tribe Who Killed Christ 208

28 Waiting for Pol Pot 216

29 A Christian Massacre 220

30 Picnic with Abu Ammar 234

31 Shadow of Doubt 241

32 Earthquake in Iran 246

33 A Short Walk with the Mujaheddin 253

34 The Unease of Change 260

35 White Towel from the Camino Real 264

Part 4 The End of the Affair

36 The Task Force Gets Away 275

37 Breaking Point 280

38 The Nastiest Place on Earth 287

39 Heart of Darkness 292

40 Of Love and Death 299

Part 5 Wars and Peace

41 Alone with the Ghosts 307

42 Flying High and Low 316

43 Aids in Africa 322

44 My Phoney War 331

45 New Frontiers 337

46 The Road to Aleppo 349

47 A Walk Around the Volcano 357

Index 371

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Odds Against (Sid Halley Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
tripleblessings on LibraryThing 9 days ago
Sid Halley #1: a former jockey has become a private investigator into racing crimes, after an accident ended his racing career. Excellent mystery, great suspense, fun to re-read every couple of years.
EPClark More than 1 year ago
In "Odds Against," Francis's fourth fictional outing, he takes a decidedly darker turn. Although not lacking in evil villains, both "Dead Cert" and "For Kicks" had a strong aspect of glamorous wish fulfillment, and so, in its own way, did "Nerve." Alan, Rob, and Daniel all had tough times, sure, but overall they were living lives other people think they would want to lead. In "Odds Against," though, Francis creates for the first--but not the last--time a hero whose life is decidedly unaspirational, and in doing so, introduces his most long-running hero and a theme that would haunt much of his works: what do you do when the thing you most want is taken away from you, and you still have a lot of life left to live? Sid Halley was a champion steeplechase jockey until a riding accident left him with a crippled hand and a bitter mind. He drags himself into his new job, acquired for him by his father-in-law, as a dogsbody at a private investigative firm, until one day he gets shot. While convalescing, he is once again dragged by his father-in-law into a mystery that will turn out to be much bigger than either of them expected. Sid will have to come to terms with who he really is. Francis had a long fascination with the physically and mentally damaged, and Sid is his first, and most prominent, overtly disabled character. Still identifying as a jockey three years after the accident took place, he doesn't know what to do with himself or what to get up for in the morning, until the villains make the mistake of not taking him seriously. He discovers that he is tough, fearless, and likes to win--no surprises there, but it turns out he is tough, fearless, and likes to win off the racecourse as well as on it--but that most people fail to see this in him, something he learns to use to his advantage. Although there's plenty of action here, and of course a tightly constructed plot that keeps you guessing till the end, the real suspense is in what Sid will do. Will he give up and go away, as he wants to? Or is he going to come back fighting? As Sid himself doesn't know and is quite astonished at times at his own behavior, it's impossible for the reader to guess (although of course we know how these books end, but still...), and the double tension drives the book forward to its nail-biting conclusion. "Odds Against" is not for the super-squeamish or fainthearted, as Sid's injuries are pretty extensive, but it heralds a new step forward in Francis's writing and now, more than 40 years after it was first published, is still fresh and shocking.
Delphimo More than 1 year ago