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The Odds (Richard Christie Mystery #4)

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  246 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
The Homicide Department is upside down—Richard Christie is in the hospital, Artie Dolan is headed away on vacation, John Potocki's life is falling apart, and Colleen Greer is so worried about her boss's health, she can hardly think. A young boy in Pittsburgh's North Side neighborhood dies of a suspicious overdose. The Narcotics police are working on tips and they draft Col ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Minotaur Books
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Apr 17, 2014 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four kids are at the center of Kathleen George's novel. Abandoned by their feckless stepmother, earlier abandoned by their dad (who died) and their mother (who walked out on them), they try to live on their own and to stay together. Ranging in age from six-ish to almost fourteen, they are smart kids who deserve better. Another essential innocent, Nick, comes to their aid. He manages a pizza joint that is a front and cash-laundering mechanism for a drug dealer/middleman. Nick knows it, but doesn' ...more
Nov 11, 2014 Marge rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Four kids are left alone when their stepmother walks out on them. They're determined to stay together as long as they can. Meanwhile, a drug ring is operating in their Pittsburgh neighborhood out of a pizza parlor. As police try to find who is behind the drug ring, the two stories collide.
The cover of this book calls this a mystery. However, it really isn't much of one, more of just fiction. Because it was a finalist for the Edgar Award I had expected more. It's also scattered in it's story so t
Amanda Meggs
Feb 08, 2014 Amanda Meggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Obviously I've missed out because I haven't read any of the earlier books in this series. The writing is beautiful, the characters come alive and have an amazing depth to them. Colleen, the police detective is a likable yet realistic young woman who works hard and is good at her job. Nick seems worthy of a better life but is unsure of how to go about it, or perhaps not motivated to look for it himself. The children, especially Meg and Joel are great characters, and it's nice to see an adult writ ...more
Aug 20, 2009 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fast moving mystery. Not riveting, but interesting
George, Kathleen. THE ODDS. (2009). **. Try as I might, I couldn’t get more than halfway through this mystery, one that has been nominated for this year’s Edgar Award. It’s the story of drug use and abuse in Pittsburgh’s North Side by kids and about the men who are the dealers/pushers. The investigation of a kid’s apparent overdose and death falls on two detectives, Coleen Greer and John Potocki. They begin the investigation, but are soon pulled away by the head of the Narcotics Division for the ...more
Four kids (the oldest 14, the youngest 7) left to survive on their own...once again. Their stepmom who abandoned them again (I also felt a little sorry for her for having to deal with 4 children when she had trouble taking care of herself) and asked the oldest (Meg) to call for her to get placed into foster care...but to give her a couple of days being calling anyone (what? geez stepmom). The children don't want to go to foster care so struggle to make it on their own.

A man (Nick) in the wrong
Apr 12, 2010 KarenC rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to KarenC by: Edgar Award nominee

Read this because of nomination for Edgar Best Novel. Didn't find out until later that it includes an ongoing group of police officers. The main plot reads fine as a stand alone. The preoccupation of Det. Greer with Commander Christie's cancer treatment is irrelevant to the plot, adds nothing to the story but angst, and there's already plenty of that to go around.

A somewhat unbelievable story of four very smart, well-behaved children abandoned by their totally irresponsible stepmother (What was

Sheriff Richard Christie is in the hospital and about to begin chemo. His department is worried about him and he has a changed view of life.

Four young children of the Phillips family are abandoned by their step-mother. Since their father had already died, the children are alone. The eldest is Meg, age fourteen. She and her brother and sisters are very hard workers, each providing what they can to have the basic necessities. They are afraid of asking for official help because they worry about bei
Oct 16, 2013 Nishant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good book. I gave it a4/5 stars for a great plot being described very well be George. I tend to like mysteries, but this book is a new level. This is the main overview of the book. The Homicide Department is upside down, Richard Christie is in the hospital injured from a previous case, Artie Dolan is headed away on vacation(probably because he needs some rest, or just hates his coworkers), John Potocki’s life is falling apart(Due to his love life struggles), and Colleen Greer is so worrie ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This first book in the Detective Colleen Greer series is a winning multi-perspective crime procedural. At the center of the story is a family of four children (ages 7-12), who've been abandoned by their flaky stepmother. As they try and survive without anyone discovering they are on their own, their paths cross with that of an ex-con who's being hunted by some nasty local drug dealers. Meanwhile, Det. Greer gets involved in investigating a related murder, while struggling with her conflicting fe ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Richard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-12
An Edgar nomination and my home town setting made me very interested in The Odds, but I didn't really enjoy it at all. Some of the character bits are effective (and the kids are lovable), but they don't add up to much. I wouldn't have finished it even, but for the hope that a dramatic ending would save the day - instead it peters out in away that is no doubt meant to be realistic, but just seemed lazy and unsatisfying.

I actively disliked Colleen Greer, the lead cop. I guess her romantic ambival
Susan Katz
Sep 23, 2009 Susan Katz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Four enterprising children, the eldest only 13, are abandoned by their stepmother and decide to fend for themselves rather than be separated. In the same neighborhood, Nick Banks, a troubled young man with a gambling debt, kills a thug in self-defense and is wounded himself. When one of the children finds him lying injured in an abandoned house, the two stories mesh. All the elements that keep pages turning are here as Nick is pursued by both police and vengeful criminals and the children are al ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Jazz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved this book, although haven't read any other books by Kathleen George, this one was great! Loved how it kept me engaged, and I could not put it down, was definitely a page turner. One thing I would change about the novel, would be the ending, it was a little disappointing; however overall it was a fantastic read
Aug 03, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up at the local book store largely because it was set in Pittsburgh's North Side, an area I am familar with. Plus, it was an award finalist. It was billed as a "mystery" and I am not a big mystery reader. After reading it, I am not sure I would classify it as a classic mystery. It was more of a crime novel, polic drama -- but different. The plot -- four young, precocious kids are abandonded by their step-mother and are determined to live on their own rather than be separated i ...more
Jun 01, 2011 beentsy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-done
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2010 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have read by Kathleen George and it is a terrific read. Four children under the age of 14 are left to fend for themselves after their stepmother decides she wants her own life. The oldest girl, Meg, (14 going on 35) and her resourceful siblings find ways to gather small amounts of money and food to keep them going while they try to figure out what the future will bring.

The plot centers around the amazing kids, a guy on the run, mobsters, druggies, and the police. The au
One of LJ's Best Genre books of the year. Reminded me of a Ross Macdonald or The Wire. More an examination of characters and situations than a whodunit, the suspense in The Odds comes from its characters- will the Philips kids make it on their own, can Nick Banks stay straight, how will Det. Greer navigate personal and professional challenges- not the usual mystery question and answer plot or suspense novel set-ups. The prose is straight forward, not showy, but effective, and the ending more ope ...more
Oct 31, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The odds are against Nick Banks, just out of prison and managing a pizza parlor to pay off a debt to a dangerous acquaintance involved in the drug trade. The odds are also stacked against detectives Colleen Greer and John Potocki who are on loan to the narcotics department instead of concentrating on their investigation into a homicide. However, the true “odds” in this story are four unbelievably brainy children who have been abandoned by their stepmother and are attempting to live on their own. ...more
Nov 18, 2014 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
wasn't a mystery. may go back and read earlier ones that feature christie.
Jan 17, 2013 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Boxcar Children are alive and well, and living in the 21st century! That was my first reaction as I read this book. And I enjoyed the four siblings just as much now as I did when I was eight. Scrappy, resourceful, smarter than the average bear. If your childhood included them, you'll enjoy this book.

What is interesting about the book is that it's part of a series - but I found the supporting cast of characters more compelling than the stars who reappear in each book. However, I really like
Joni Holland
Jan 18, 2016 Joni Holland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oct 14, 2012 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O.K. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I have read 3 books from Mrs. George so far, (plan on reading more, if there is more, which I am sure there is), and I think that this book is the best yet. I think I would love to see this made into a movie :) In all honesty, I would love to see this story unfold a little more. I fell in love with Nick and with the children and would love to read more on there story and see if their lives can continue on farther, which I think it really could! :)
Mar 13, 2012 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four young kids have been abandoned and are living on their own. The Philips kids, brainy in school, are reluctant to compromise themselves. But they need cash. Nick Banks is just out of prison and working off a debt to an old acquaintance involved in the drug trade. Nick is a charmer, a gentle fellow who's had a lot of trouble in his life. One day he gives free food to the Philips kids, little guessing how connected their lives will become.
Linda Day
A pretty good mystery, but had the typical mystery necessity of language and sex. Not too much, but still some page skipping.

The storyline was interesting showing what lengths children will go to to obtain what they view as a "normal" life. A family of siblings abandoned by their step-mother protect a guy who has gotten involved in gambling and debt. Good characters ... could be a movie of the week on TNT.
Mar 07, 2011 Eileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a smart mystery set it Pittsburgh by a Pittsburgh writer. I must admit that some places were a bit far fetched but you will understand if you are a lover of the Boxcar Children Series. I swear they were reincarnated into the 21st century. We have 4 industrious, ingenious children who are living alone and defying the odds. You will love them - hence the 4 stars.
A quick read, "The Odds" began well, some characters that would be good in a series as they could be more fully developed. Then the story ended too simply with no closure for the connection of the characters to one another.

Also since the author lives in Pittsburgh, she should have involved the city more. It's a wonderful town with stores and character.
Sep 02, 2009 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four exceptional children, abandoned by their stepmother, become involved in a murder case when they take in and care for an injured fugitive. The police detectives are recurring characters in a series,I discovered, so am now reading the entries in order beginning with the first. George writes well and you care what happens to her characters.
Cbricephd brice
Aug 21, 2009 Cbricephd brice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fourth in George's police procedurals about Pittsburgh dective Christie. This one is even better than the other three. The main story involves a remarkable bunch of kids who have been abandoned by their stepmother and have to fend for themselves in the big city. They take in a man who is wanted for murder. You can't put it down.
Jane Gruber
I really liked the characters in this book. At first I thought it far-fetched that there could be 4 kids living on their own, but I think there are a lot of things that happen in today's world that seem far-fetched but are not. I am wondering if there will be a sequel to this book--the story seems unfinished to me.
Oct 20, 2009 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good book. There was a murder, but primarily it was about four children left alone to fend for themselves. Children that were extraordinarily intelligent and mature. Sadly, it pointed out how many children have to learn to fend for themselves. I highly recommend this book.
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Kathleen Elizabeth George (born July 7, 1943) is an American professor and writer best known for her series of crime novels set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

She was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and educated at the University of Pittsburgh: B.A. (summa cum laude), 1964, M.A. (theatre), 1966, Ph.D. (theatre), 1975, M.F.A. (creative writing), 1988. She teaches theatre arts at the University of Pitt
More about Kathleen George...

Other Books in the Series

Richard Christie Mystery (7 books)
  • Taken
  • Fallen (Richard Christie, #2)
  • Afterimage (Richard Chrisite, #3)
  • Hideout (Richard Chrisite, #5)
  • Simple (Richard Christie, #6)
  • A Measure of Blood (Richard Christie, #7)

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