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Odds Against Tomorrow [Mass Market Paperback]

William McGivern


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Book Description

30 May 1996
McGivern's electrifying and complex crime novel brings together two misfits--one black, one white--with nothing left to lose and nothing but each other. When the two team up for a bank robbery, the losers are about to play a sucker bet with their lives. The classic movie adaptation of Odds Against America starred Harry Belafonte and Robert Ryan.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers Inc; New edition edition (30 May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786703393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786703395
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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FOR WHAT seemed a long time he couldn't make himself cross the street and enter the hotel. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Odds Against Tomorrow 21 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a solid crime story about the problems that ensue when an embittered ex-policeman recruits a hot-tempered White racist WW II hero, who's fallen on hard times, and an urbane black gambler who's heavily in debt to gangsters to help him pull off an 'easy' bank robbery in a small town watched over by an observant local lawman. McGivern, who also wrote the classic "The Big Heat", writes in an economical and atmospheric way, creating an exciting story of a 'perfect' caper that goes wrong. His inclusion of race as a crucial factor in the story is especially intriguing in light of the fact that the novel was published in 1957. The novel is the basis for an excellent but neglected 1959 Robert Wise film starring Robert Ryan, Harry Belafonte, and Ed Begley, and featuring a way-above-average score by jazz great John Lewis. This is a compelling, suspenseful novel that works well as a crime story,and is given extra depth by the inclusion of important social issues.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book 21 May 2013
By YC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The framework of Odds Against Tomorrow is a bank heist in a sleepy town that goes awry. Written from multiple points of view, it is, at its heart, a multi-layered and thoughtful analysis of racism, PTSD, parent/child relationships, corruption, power, greed, fear, redemption, honor, and love. Every chapter kept getting better, and by the last couple chapters, I had to really slow down to make sure I understood the significance of what was happening. McGivern does a wonderful job packing a lot of description into one sentence - you can't speed read through this. It's not a very long novel, yet he uses the pages he has to dig deep into the characters' psyches and is skilful in showing their layers - their intentions, flaws, hopes, motivations, and more. It was interesting to jump from one person's brain into another. Good read.
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid crime novel that tends to bog down in the home stretch 13 April 2014
By Ron4Sure - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Four men attempt to rob a bank of $200,000 in payroll money on a Friday night in a small town outside of Philadelphia, and the robbery goes bad. Frank Novak is the organizer behind the heist. He's an ex-cop. He enlists the help of Earl Slater, an ex-GI who has had a few scrapes with the law, a fellow named Burke, and John Ingram, a black man who is a poker dealer by profession and who owes the mob $6,000 in gambling debts. In exchange for Novak paying off those debts, he agrees to participate in the bank job. We get a great deal of ink devoted to the Earl Slater character and his relationship with his girlfriend Lorraine ("Lory"), some of it not altogether believable, and to the racial antagonism between Slater and John Ingram (for some reason, he is always referred to by his last name throughout the novel, and Slater is always referred to by his first name). Slater derisively refers to Ingram as Sambo throughout. (This is overdone to the point of seeming truly offensive.) While killing time prior to the heist, Slater and Ingram arouse the suspicion of the local police, and things quickly go bad. As fate would have it, Slater and Ingram are forced to throw in with each other as they flee the crime scene and take refuge in a house outside town, and the last quarter of the novel bogs down with their bickering. It is overheavy with interior monologue, very repetitive and over-the-top melodramatic. The film based on this novel places more emphasis on backstory involving John Ingram, and on the planning of the heist, than does the novel. And it basically ends with the robbery gone bad, whereas the novel continues the narrative for quite some time, devoting attention to Ingram and Slater evading the police.
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