Kathleen George Afterimage Fallen
Kathleen George The Man in the Buick Taken

  • Chosen in 2017 for Carnegie Library's Battle of the Books
  • Nominated for an Edgar® award for 2009 best novel of the year by the Mystery Writers of America

Library Journal names The Odds to their top five mystery list, stating:
"George's superb procedural featuring Pittsburgh detectives Colleen Greer and John Potocki is also a poignant tale of four abandoned children struggling to live with dignity against all odds."

The Odds PB The Pittsburgh Homicide Division 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 the North Side neighborhood dies of a suspicious overdose. The Narcotics police are working on tips and they draft Colleen and Potocki to help them. In this same neighborhood, 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. Connecting these people and their stories is Nick Banks, 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 are about to become.

Read a Q&A
Read Kathleen's interviews, articles and blogs

St. Martin's Minotaur Books, hardcover, June 2009, ISBN: 978-0312549992
St. Martin's Press, paperback, July 2011, ISBN-13: 9780312573232

(Support an independent bookstore!)

Mystery Lovers Bookshop
The Mysterious Bookshop
Barnes & Noble


"Pittsburgh homicide detectives Colleen Greer and John Potocki (Afterimage) are on loan to the Narcotics Department to help finalize a roundup of drug dealers. At the same time, a stepmother abandons her four children, telling them to seek help from Family Services. Instead, they struggle to cope on their own until they find a corpse and a gravely injured man in an abandoned building and decide to protect him from the law and a pursuing drug pusher. VERDICT George's fourth crime novel is a truly original tale featuring four amazing youngsters: they are resilient, resourceful, and responsible. This very modern police procedural will not be easily forgotten."
   —Library Journal

"Four extraordinary and resilient youngsters lift George's enjoyable fourth police procedural to feature Pittsburgh homicide chief Richard Christie and his team (after 2007's Afterimage). On loan to another department, detectives Colleen Greer and John Potocki pursue a narcotics investigation that meshes with a drug-related shooting. Meanwhile, the four Philips children—Meg, 13; Joel, 11; Laurie, 10; and Susannah, seven—are trying to cope with the desertion of their stepmother, who had told Meg to wait a couple of days before seeking foster care. Instead, they set about making do with limited resources but unlimited resolve. When Joel runs across a dead man and a wounded man in an abandoned house, the four decide to help the wounded man avoid the law and the drug dealer on his trail. George doesn't neglect the police work as Greer and Potocki effectively chase down clues, but it's the kids who are heroic in a world where few adults can be trusted."
   —Publishers Weekly

"In this sequel of sorts to Afterimage—a gritty police procedural set on Pittsburgh's North Side—homicide chief Richard Christie is ill, leaving detectives Greer and Potocki to work a murder case that grows more complicated by the day. TV Pitch: Homicide, Pittsburgh-style. Lowdown: If anyone's writing better police thrillers than George, I don't know who it is. A-"
   —Entertainment Weekly

"Kathleen George has once again written a masterfully plotted crime novel featuring Pittsburgh homicide detective Richard Christie.
But in this fourth book, she outdoes herself in another of her strong suits—vivid characters. The four young people who carry this novel are the most compelling kids I've encountered in 40 years of reading mysteries. They continued to haunt and entertain me for days after the final page was read."
   —Pohla Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Kathleen George's fourth novel, The Odds, is arguably her best work. The North Side resident brings together a cast that includes Pittsburgh detectives, a small-time drug gang and four remarkable children living on their own. When they inevitably cross paths, George finesses an improbable story into a seamless, natural narrative that is remarkable in its attention to detail and insights."
   —Rege Behe, Tribune-Review (read the full review here)

"In this, her fourth novel, George revisits three of her well-worn characters, homicide detectives Colleen Greer and John Potocki and their chief, Richard Christie. In this installment, a seemingly routine murder investigation unravels to reveal a much more complicated and far-reaching case, one that links some of the North Side's most unsuspecting (and least suspect) residents.
In George's North Side, everything and everyone is connected, and it's all controlled by Aristotle's theory of chance, which states that chance is when coincidence takes the place of intention. And much like George's past novels, the focus here is on the characters entangled in the story's plot and not on the plot itself. That's not to say that The Odds is plotless—there's plenty of suspense and intrigue and action to keep the reader's attention—but the whole "whodunnit" aspects of the book take a back seat to character devopment, elevating The Odds above the genre in which it lives.
George is, above all else, a master storyteller, shifting the point of view often, providing page space for each of the book's many characters to develop and rarely relying on cliches and stereotypes to do the heavy lifting. Sure, the book is populated with hardnosed detectives and fast-talking street junkies, but each is more than the sum of its parts. The hardnosed detectives flash vulnerability—they're lonely and heart-broken and sick—and the fast-talking junkies have soul. There's even a storyline that involves four precocious orphans who take in a wounded criminal, and that adds levity and heart to the story.
All in all, this is another excellent example of the many "Mysteries of Pittsburgh." (Trust me, the term will catch on.)"
   —Pittsburgh Magazine


  about kathy
culinary tour
theatre books