Sunday, October 19, 2014

Deadly Odds Author, Allen Wyler, Here on Blog Tour - Paperback Available Tomorrow!

Arnold is under 40, but when you start reading Deadly Odds, you may indeed think of Steve Carrell in the movie...  Except this isn't a comedy. When his best friend, Howard, convinced him to seek out a prospective companion and meet her, he did exactly that...

And now Howard was dead...

"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 threat of irrational hope that the detonation he assumed to be a gunshop 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 defenseless senseless murder.
His best friend shot dead.
Guilt engulfed him.
Had he not gone for pizza, this awful senseless act of violence would never had happened. Meaning, in a perverse way, he was directly responsible for this 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 cat one satisfying breath...
"Mr. Gold?"

Deadly Odds
By Allen Wyler

"We're best friends. Have
been since grade school."
More than friends...brothers.
Having grown up together,
Bar mitzah's 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...
I certainly enjoyed the two earlier books by Allen Wyler that I've had the chance to read; however, I really loved the main character in this book... You can actually see him evolving in personality and character as the book proceeds. A wonderful accomplishment by the author in my opinion... And it wasn't because he was no longer a virgin... 

Arnold was a nerd, geek, hacker...whatever you want to call an individual who is brilliant in the use of computers. Arnold was rarely far away from this computer lab that he'd set up in his basement. It was only Howard who was close enough to worry about and urge Arnold to "get a life" beyond the computers...  For Howard, he thought that Arnold needed to find someone and enjoy what he'd never He urged him to hit Vegas and
do nothing but enjoy some time away...with a girl...

A sad little story was that Arnold had always had feelings for Howard's sister, but had never done anything to forward that relationship until... now it was too late, for so many reasons...

Arnold was drilled by the police but had refused to talk. But when he got a lawyer, who was another main character who had been developed so wonderfully, a kind and caring man which is not the usual image for a lawyer, do we begin to hear all that had happened, there in Vegas...

It could only happen in fiction, I hope... But, let's just say that picking out a beautiful girl from so many choices, who happens to be a terrorist??? Wow!
Firouz let Karim drive, giving him more time to
think, regroup, strategize, always his responsibility
because that was the way things  needed to be with
Karim. If it weren't for being brothers he would
never bother using him. On the other hand, he was
a devoted believer, a good Sunni, which, in the end
stood for something. But the needless killing now
drew attention to them they could ill afford. Not
with what was at stake. But there was no sense
saying anything more. They now had to deal with
what they had, and, God willing, would still
"The Jew say you?"
Karim said, "Yes."
Firouz silently shook his head and bit his tongue
because the mission was not a total failure. They
did, after all, have the computer...Gjayoor was a
true believer as well as a brilliant computer expert.
He would be the one to examine the extract
information from the Jew's computer,
determine how he was able to see into the future
and predict events as Naseem had explained.
He had, though, in a personal way, chosen a lovely girl who did much to help Arnold... His request to her had been to explain and teach him what women wanted...

And she did, including helping him select non-geek clothes, about fine wines, where to well as all about sex.  If she had not discovered what Arnold was capable of, perhaps he could have benefited from their time together and just gone home...

But Arnold had developed a system...

He was good at analyzing issues and pulling in what type of information should be considered in evaluating how to proceed. He used it mostly for gambling--but, of course, that was part of the problem since he'd never paid taxes on any of his other words, once he started talking to his lawyer, he had to realize that he was no longer the little boy that loved computers... He was now a man who was known as a "hacker..."

In fact it was his ego that first got him in trouble. For, of course, if you are going to be spending time with a woman day and night, she's going to start asking personal questions... Arnold had grown to like her so much that he wanted to appear special to her...

They first went to horse racing...where he made an impression on what he'd picked... But as she asked more questions and he wanted to impress her, he shared that the system could work on anything... When she expressed surprise, he told her more--too much more.

Soon, she had scheduled a meeting with her two friends, Karim and Firouz...

When later a bomb went off, Arnold knew he was in deep trouble, because that bomb was exactly where his system had said it should go... This was not really a game anymore... 

It wasn't long before the FBI was involved and Arnold was right in the middle... Afraid of getting killed by Firouz and afraid to be jailed by the FBI...

The strange but intriguing decisions made by Arnold is what makes this book far more exciting that the action of a good thriller. Arnold blamed himself for Howard's death and that was the most important thing--he wanted revenge even if he was killed in getting it. In deciding that, though, he put into action all of that hacker brilliance he had access to and that results in an unbelievably enticing look into a hacker's genius doing what he does best! Ok, my personal disclaimer that I hate all things illegal through use of computer, but I've got to say that Wyler's creation of Arnold results in one very cool novel! Highly recommended!


A Seattle native, Wyler’s parents died early,leaving him on his own by the time he entered college. He supported himself with various jobs including being a fry cook at a drive-in and a professional musician playing drums for various local blues and jazz groups. In his first year of medical school, he knew he wanted to specialize in neurosurgery. Upon graduating from residency he started on the faculty of the University of Washington and then the University of Tennessee where he developed an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. In 1992 the prestigious Swedish Medical Center recruited him back to Seattle to develop a neuroscience institute.
Wyler’s love of thrillers began in 1974 on his way to Cincinnati to take the oral boards in neurosurgery. At SeaTac airport he picked up a copy of William Goldman’s Marathon Man to read on the flight. He became so engrossed he stayed up all night to finish it before stoking up on coffee and meeting with the examiners. He aced the exam.
Wyler develops plots from actual events in his practice. While serving on a committee charged with selecting the medical center’s new computerized medical record system he wondered what might happen if the software had a random bug. From this came the story line for Deadly Errors, his 2005 thriller that has been subsequently translated into several foreign languages, including Russian. Crime Spree Magazine wrote:
“There is a grand tradition of medical thrillers in the suspense field – hardly surprising since medicine is one place where life’s rubber really meets the road. A new entry, Deadly Errors, by a new author, Allen Wyler, is right up there with the best.”
Much of the background for Dead Head, a story about keeping a detached head alive for the information in the brain, was derived from Wyler’s own research on recording the brain’s electrical activity. As Adam Woog (Seattle Times) wrote:
“Wyler’s premise is deliriously over-the-top… (You’ll notice I’m avoiding any cracks about how fiction writing ain’t brain surgery.) But the story barrels right along, and, as Wyler points out in an afterword, the science of maintaining a disembodied head is already chillingly close to reality.”
Wyler’s third thriller, DEAD END DEAL, originated a few years ago, he was a guest lecturer at a medical center in Seoul, South Korea. He wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a foreign country hunted by police because of being framed for a murder.
In 2002 he left active practice to become Medical Director for a start-up medical technology company, Northstar Neuroscience, which went public (NSTR) in 2006. At the end of 2007 he retired to devote full time to writing.
~~~ in Dead Ringer

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