Behrg Reviews "The Odds" by Jeff Strand
Strand is the master at combining humor and horror into an odd concoction that hits just about every feel-good moment you could hope for in a reading experience. With his latest, The Odds, he continues along that same vein, delivering a fast-paced novel where the stakes only continue to increase.
I loved the premise of this one, and true to form, Strand brings us right in with the inciting incident as our “hero” Ethan hits a rock bottom moment having fallen victim to his gambling vice. Little does he know, rock bottom has several more levels he’s about to explore. The stakes continue to increase with elaborate games only Strand could concoct, and it’s impossible not to have fun with this quick read.
Now, I will say, this novel wasn’t perfect and there were moments that really pulled me out of the narrative. Far too many times the “narrator” explained that Ethan had no choice but to just continue playing the game, rather than taking the time to actually explore the options he really did have. It cheapened the experience and felt far too much like author intrusion, in my experience at least.
The other piece that I feel could have been improved upon is one inherent with Strand’s style. The man has a wicked sense of humor, and it’s something I’ve come to love about his writing. That said, when every character (including minor characters) shares that same style of humor, we lose the individuality of the characters. It felt like the author was speaking through each character rather than allowing the characters to speak for themselves. It’s not necessarily a terrible thing, as Strand has a lot to say, but I think this novel could have really been elevated to something more than the final product that was put out.
All in all, a quick and fun read, but one I would have loved for the author to spend more time with in really developing the potential this story had. Odds are, you’ll enjoy it. (And yes, I went there).