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Publisher's Summary

Danger escalates as Michael Knight and Lex Devlin enter into the defense of a Puerto Rican jockey charged with felony murder as a result of a fixed race at Boston's Suffolk Downs.

As their investigation exposes the jockey's role, they become embroiled in a conflict between two Puerto Rican crime gangs. One of these gangs is aligned for the first time with Boston's Italian mafia in tapping into almost limitless profits from the illicit trade of exotic and endangered species of wild animals captured in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil and smuggled through the shoreline of the Florida Keys.

Working to free their client and to prevent the brutal abuse of these vulnerable animals, Michael and Lex find themselves squarely in the crossfire of rival organized crime gangs, from the barrio of Jamaica Plain, Boston, to the gang-dominated streets of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

©2016 John F. Dobbyn (P)2017 John F. Dobbyn

What listeners say about Fatal Odds: A Novel

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A good Mystery

This Audio Book runs on all Cylinders it is well researched with a believable plot a great assortment of characters
and a terrific performance by the Narrator.

With these elements in full force you have a first rate effort by the Writer.


Download and enjoy the ride.



This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review

4 people found this helpful

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a good story full of intrigue

This was a good story full of intrigue. I liked how the author went from race fixing to smuggling endangered species and manages to tie it all together flawlessly.
The narrator also does a brilliant job in telling this story and making all the characters come to life.
Although it is the 5th book in a series, it can be read as a stand alone.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DB
  • 01-03-21

Contains an Interesting message on animal smuggling

This is a pretty decent story although our hero”s luck and lack of a gun are quite a stretch in my opinion. I really didn’t want to hear about the eye lock of integrity another time either.

Some of the accents are a bit overdone but the performance is good and easy to listen to.

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Exciting Fast Paced Story

I found this story very exciting and diving into the world of crime was kind of refreshing after so many love stories. Now don't get me wrong there is a bit of that but not as forefront of the story. The characters are well defined along with Bill Nevitt's reading of the story. I only listen to audio at night to help me go to sleep. I found my self going without till around 3 am because of the I need to hear what happens next. Good story all around.

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E ticket ride

This book hits on so many levels, full of suspense, action and adventure. Boston’s organized crime, Amazon Rainforest, and so much more! Phenomenal narration by Bill Nevitt

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Thrill ride!

organized-crime, thriller, suspense, conspiracy, lawyers, smuggling

From horse racing and Italian organized crime in Boston, to the origins of certain gangs in Puerto Rico, to smuggling endangered animals from the Amazon Rainforest this fast paced thriller grabbed me by the imagination and just wouldn't let go. And it's all driven by a risk taking defense attorney who drives expensive cars. Loved the thrill ride!
Narrator Bill Nevitt is brilliant in both the narrative as well as differentiating the multitude of very diverse characters.

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Great Story Read by a Great Narrator

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This review is for the audio copy of Fatal Odds: A Novel, A Knight and Devlin Thriller by John F. Dobbyn and narrated by Bill Nevitt. This was an unexpected opportunity to listen to a gem of a story! Action and adventure with a well thought out story line. A great mystery/pseudo-detective/good guys/bad guys/etc., book. I took the offer of being able to listen to the book since it was narrated by Bill Nevitt. It was not in my normal genre of books. He can read anything and make it easy to listen to. But this story was very well written and interesting. So much so that I listened to it every free moment that I had. I highly recommend this entertaining novel.

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Horse Racing and Animal Smuggling

Michael Knight is a half Puerto Rican lawyer who seems to have a propensity for getting involved in dangerous situations. His two cousins, Victor and Roberto, are like brothers to Michael. When Roberto is killed during a race, the authorities charge Victor with his murder.

This book started out being a mystery involving horse racing, then quickly switched to the jungles of Brazil. At first, I was confused as to what was going on. As the book progressed, these seemingly unrelated things began to come together in an intricate scheme involving both Italian and Puerto Rican gangs.

The author obviously did a lot of research into the relatively unknown trade in exotic and endangered animals. I liked the way that he told much of this part of the book from the perspective of natives in Brazil. The book had plenty of twists and turns and Michael gets himself into some precarious situations. In fact, I would categorize Michael as more of a Private Investigator than a lawyer since there is very little in the book that involved being a lawyer. The story was very involved and there were a lot of different characters to keep track of along the way. The author did a pretty decent job of weaving all of these threads together in an entertaining way.

The narrator, Bill Nevitt, did his usual wonderful job in his performance. My only complaint would be that some of his accents didn't really seem to fit the nationality they were meant to portray. I couldn't really tell the difference between the Puerto Rican and Italian at times.

All in all, this was an entertaining thriller with enough twists to keep the listener engaged. I was given the chance to listen to the audiobook version of this book by the narrator and chose to review it.

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Great read and educational too!

This was not your typical thriller/mystery! The plot was very different and involved horse racing (maybe typical), the mafia (very typical), and international wild animal smuggling (WHAT??) - an industry of which I was basically ignorant. Michael Knight is a wholesome detective that you just can't help but like and the book unfolds with so many quirks and niggles that you're left holding your breath waiting to see what happens next. This book had me listening far into the night, hoping Michael would be okay and things would work out all right but not sure how they could! The story was quite engrossing. Even though this book was fiction, I did learn a lot about illegal animal trafficking and how that trade is affecting the planet. It certainly opened my eyes to a heinous practice that I was unaware of before reading this book! Bravo to Mr. Dobbyn for entertaining and educating at the same time!

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A solid, enjoyable mystery

Michael Knight is a successful, young, Boston lawyer, the younger partner in Devlin & Knight. Michael doesn't always play it safe, and that adds to the stress of senior partner Lex Devlin, secretary Julie, and fiancée Terri.

Michael Knight looks like a nice Boston Irish boy, but his mother is Puerto Rican, and he speaks Spanish, enjoys Puerto Rican cuisine, and, most importantly for this story, has two cousins, brothers Victor and Roberto Mendoza, who are now jockeys at Boston's thoroughbred racing track, Suffolk Downs.

Michael is at the track, watching a race in which Victor and Roberto are both racing, when something goes horribly wrong. Victor's horse moves sideways into Roberto's, a collision in which Roberto's horse goes down, and Roberto is critically injured. By the next morning, Roberto is dead, and the DA wants to charge Victor with being involved in fixing the race, and with felony murder, for the death of his brother.

Knight starts out looking for his cousin, who has seemingly gone into hiding, and trying to figure out how he could have become involved in a race-fixing scheme, something that would have outraged both brothers. Along the way, he discovers the real scheme is much bigger, much nastier, and much more dangerous. It takes Knight back to his own blessedly brief involvement in a local Puerto Rican gang as a teenager, to his Puerto Rican roots, and into some of the darker corners of Boston's organized crime scene. A form of smuggling he hadn't even known existed play a key role, and the question of who can be trusted and who can't becomes complicated and alarming.

One compelling aspect of this book for me is that the city of Boston really is a character here, and it's the Boston I know. Dobbyn knows the streets, the places, the neighborhoods and cultures. Not every detail is true to Boston today, but the bits that aren't true now were true in the very recent past. Dobbyn is from here, and you can tell.

The bonus extra is that the narrator, Bill Nevitt has his Boston accents (yes, multiple accents, from different neighborhoods, local cultures, and education levels) as close to perfect as I've heard in audiobooks. I suppose it's no surprise for anyone from an area with a distinctive general accent that isn't American standard that performers rarely get it truly right, or to anyone anywhere that local variations obvious to anyone from the area are always glossed over. I have no idea where Nevitt is from, so I'm just going with, this is a serious professional who cares about getting things right. It added to the pleasure of listening to this audiobook.

Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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  • Julie
  • 08-21-19

An eye opener

I enjoyed this book mainly because it was such a different idea for a plot. It was broken up into parts and I did wonder what the Amazon rain forest had to do with horse racing as it seemed like we had stepped back in time but it all came together nicely to make a great story. I know the story is only a work of fiction but it certainly opened my eyes as to what goes on in the world, it's a scary place.
When Michael sees his cousin crash into his brother while racing he had no idea that it would send him on a roller coasters ride where the watches fired guns at you. When his cousin is accused of fixing the race and killing his brother Michael turns to a gang boss in order to find out who would want or need to fix a race, but caught between two rival gangs it soon becomes apparent that race fixing is just the tip of the ice burge. Nobody is safe as drug dealers and animal traffickers come together in an explosive story of greed,betrayal and revenge.
The narrator does an excellent job with all the different accents and bringing the characters to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joni J Mielke
  • 03-15-20

Interesting subject matter, excellent narration

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this book is only about horse racing/race-fixing if you judged it by the first couple of chapters alone. In fact, it's about a lot more. Aside from the human/relational aspect, which is fairly portrayed yet not overdone, Fatal Odds stands out from other books of its genre by focussing a great deal of attention on illegal animal trafficking. I liked this aspect of the book, as it served as a counterbalance to the quality of the writing, which, in my opinion, was not good. The narration, on the other hand, was excellent, showcasing Bill Nevitt's talents at their best. This is a challenging novel, as it demands a variation of accents (sometimes more than one accent for a single character) and Bill, pleasingly, meets these challenges head on with success that belies all the hard work he has put into this. This was a pleasant listening experience, over all, and I look forward to hearing more from Bill as this series continues.

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  • Placid
  • 12-04-19

Surprising

This book was well done. It did not give away too many clues as to who was responsible for the murder and the attempt to determine the actual guilty party was done with enough emotion and danger to make it exciting.

The narration was well done.

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  • jhanami
  • 09-21-19

Great discovery!

Bill Nevitt is one of the US narrators I tend to like so I picked this up with only a cursory glance at the subject matter and I have to say it was a proper little discovery.
It was very easy to join the series with this fifth instalment although I will now have to check out the first four - the plot is a highly interesting and hard hitting mix of animal smuggling, race fixing and gang wars with a good dash of classic action thriller/ courtroom drama. The characters are well drawn and credible.
Some of the protagonists sounded more Russian than Hispanic but it was still a very enjoyable audiobook.

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  • J Smith
  • 09-05-19

‘The lawyer always goes home’

Really enjoyed this. I was on the fence after listening to the sample, but I’m so pleased I got introduced to this series.
Lots of mystery, intrigue and a fair dollop of action! The story keeps you interested throughout and wraps up nicely at the end!
I’m guessing it would be great to listen to the first few books in order, but I don’t think I lost anything by listening to this first!
Really well narrated, with great character voices, tempo and flow!
I really can’t wait to hear more of these!
This is my honest opinion of a free review copy.

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  • Helen
  • 08-24-19

who would of thought

As their investigation exposes the jockey's role, they become embroiled in a conflict between two Puerto Rican crime gangs.
eye opener about the amazon forest

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  • Lindsay
  • 08-22-19

Opens your eyes

Wow! This audiobook is a really powerful story looking at the illegal importing of animals along with drug smuggling and race fixing. This book does not shy away from the horror of what happens to these beautiful animals just because of selfish individuals who put money above everything. The book was fascinating and Bill’s narration as always was perfect for the subject matter and the story. I loved it.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 08-24-18

Nobody buys a dead monkey.

A jockey dies when his brother's horse swerves in front of his own during a race. The brother goes on to win but is then disqualified for causing the accident. But was it really an accident or had the race been fixed? The police want to arrest the jockey for causing the fatality during a felony. The brothers, originally from Puerto Rico, had been very close and were Knight's cousins, The defense lawyer believes that something is very wrong and sets out to find Victor before the police can bring him in He seeks help from an old gang leader he'd known when he had been young and vulnerable. But when this man is also killed, Knight has to find out why.

Fatal odds is an involving and complex thriller, mostly set in the gang lands of Boston but also in Puerto Rico. Lots of bravado, deaths and confrontation as well as plentiful praise for the food which is eaten. This reader had mistakenly expected more legal, in court action but the story, although calling on the powers of the deputy public prosecutor a couple of times, manages to evade almost any mention of the courts. Some very interesting, and concerning, smuggling statistics related and repeated in a brief afterwards comment by the author: it is almost reading the book for these interesting facts alone.

The story was mostly well written although there were occasional contradictions in the text, such as rushing to prevent a guard from escaping from a prison cage despite the door having already been closed. These are all very minor but the book would be better without them. And despite the 'audience's feel that they impart to the characters, the preponderance of Spanish names and sentences - conversation and foodstuffs - for this reader interrupted any story flow that had been generated. The feel good ending could also have been omitted: it served only as a distraction to the impact of the story overall.I

Bill Nevitt, who narrates, was impressive in his unhesitating reading of the Spanish names and dialogue. His voice is pleasant, well articulated and with good intonation. The delivery is rather noir in quality, slightly staccato and, for this reader, fractionally too slow. Increasing the playback seed to 1.25 easily resolved that, however. His voicing of various protagonists was good, each being due to actively individual.

My thanks to the rights holder of Fatal Odds who, at my request, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. The story certainly highlighted a most unpleasant yet very profitable aspect of international smuggling which is, if not unknown, at least underestimated in most people's awareness. The fact that it is one of the top monetary returns but goes almost unchallenged is scandalous and this book does a good job in helping to increase public pressure to put an end to this cruel and disastrous trafficking.