WILD GAME by Blayne Davis


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An international sports-betting ring scrambles to escape justice in this debut crime thriller, the first volume of a projected trilogy.

Mitchell Graham, who has served time for securities fraud, now runs Advanced Quantitative Sports Research Group, a successful consultancy that supposedly uses sophisticated computer algorithms to advise clients on which sports teams to bet on, particularly in the English Premier League and the NFL. Mitchell’s clients seem never to lose, however, and the FBI is sniffing around AQSR’s connections to organized crime. Led by Toby Creed, the same New York prosecutor who sent Mitchell to prison, the feds close in. But surprises start to happen: When the wife of a football coach suspects his infidelity, she uncovers something quite unexpected; two female investigators switch sides to join Mitchell’s team of tech wizards; and a loyal client of Mitchell’s turns state’s witness. Secrets from his father’s past rise to haunt Creed. The action moves from New York to Macau to Miami and London, each side manipulating the other with lies, betrayals, sexual entrapment and violence. Author Davis has ably mined his own personal history as a hedge fund trader. His descriptions of prison and courtrooms and the strained emotions of desperate people exude authenticity. The characters are diverse, and the personalities are compelling. There are missteps, however. Hackneyed phrases pop up here and there. Some narrative foreshadowing is jarring and unnecessary, as are explanatory asides directed at the reader. The author’s overreliance on dialogue creates some confusion, as scenes change and several words are misused (“protégé” appears for “prodigy,” for instance). Additionally, some minor plot twists seem contrived, including a too conveniently placed informant.

A riveting look inside the world of modern white-collar criminals.

Pub Date: June 30th, 2014
Page count: 514pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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