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JP O'Donnell

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Fatal Gamble
by JP O'Donnell   

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Books by JP O'Donnell
· Deadly Codes: A Gallagher Novel
                >> View all



Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  059551409X Type: 


Copyright:  Dec 15, 2008 ISBN-13:  9780595514090

Barnes &

Boston private eye is hired to investigate the mysterious death of a group of doctors from a small town in Massachusetts. One of the widows has a clue, but she's afraid to tell the police. As the violent mystery unfolds, Gallagher finds himself entangled in a web of danger and political intrigue.

Fatal Gamble is a mystery thriller that has been awarded Editor's Choice and Reader's Choice (2009) by iUniverse. 

Chapter One: Opening line
At six-thirty in the morning, Dr. Jonathan Becker reached over and turned off the alarm clock for the last time in his life.

Professional Reviews

Feathered Quill Book Reviews: Quick reading thriller
This review is from: Fatal Gamble: A Novel (Hardcover)
It's just another mundane day in the life of Dr. Jonathan Becker. He gets up, readies himself for work, kisses his lovely wife and then heads out the door for work. Getting in his car and tuning the radio to his favorite talk show, it's a quick drive to the medical building where he runs a thriving pediatric practice. Arriving at his office, he sits in his car for a few minutes to listen to the end of the radio show and boom! Dr. Becker is shot dead. In just two short pages, Fatal Gamble grabs the reader and begs the question, who shot Dr. Becker?

The police are quickly on the scene of the deadly crime but have few leads in the murder. When another doctor from the same building is murdered, the wife of Dr. Becker seeks out a private investigator, Daniel Gallagher, to find the person, or persons, responsible for her husband's death. The police, particularly the lead investigator, Jack Hoskins, are not fond of Gallagher, an ex-cop, and are not willing to share crucial information on the case with the private investigator. Through his own cunning and expertise, Gallagher must sift through a series of clues and false leads to find the killer.

After a third doctor from the same office complex is found dead, it becomes clear to Gallagher that the connection the three murder victims share is their partnership in the ownership of the medical building. When the police arrest a suspect and declare the case solved, Gallagher is the only one to question the arrest. With detective work that would make Perry Mason proud, Gallagher continues to search for the assailant. His investigation leads him to Washington, DC, Las Vegas, NV and his own backyard. Will he be able to find the killer before another doctor is murdered?

Fatal Gamble is a quick reading thriller with crisp, easy writing that takes the reader directly into Gallagher's world. There are several unexpected twists and turns in the story that keep both Gallagher and the reader guessing. O'Donnell expertly guides the reader into the underworld dealings in both Washington and Las Vegas while avoiding all the dry, dull irrelevant background text that many authors incorporate into their stories. With short, concise chapters, it is tempting to "read just one more chapter" before putting the book down for the night. Alas, for this reviewer, that "one more chapter" became two, then three, and then ten or twenty more chapters. It was a hard book to put down.

Quill says: If you're looking for a great "who dun it?" book, pick up Fatal Gamble.

A Good Addiction: Five Stars
With a central focus on one character but told in third person to provide insight at perfectly selected times to other characters, Fatal Gamble is an intricate, engaging mystery. The writing reads smoothly and the book opens with a stunning start to pull in the reader.

Gallagher is charismatic, insightful and deferential. Now a private investigator, he has a past within the police force that adds to not only the plot but his character as well. Curious and determined, he is used to the mostly run of the mill lost person cases but eagerly accepts the case at hand. Despite having a steady girlfriend whom he cares immensely for, Gallagher also puts much of himself into his work and has a strong desire for it in his blood. The interactions with Kate show a different man than whom the reader sees on investigation but hints of his passion and loyalty are prevalent in both.

Though Gallagher is the primary character, this book is driven by the mystery and the plot. Opening with the shooting of one of the doctors, the intrigue is sparked from the start. There are innumerable players throughout and the entire plotline is weaved together brilliantly. Several seemingly separate things tie together in surprising ways and O'Donnell throws in several twists the reader will not see coming. The final way everything interacts is revealed in a shocking manner and each new addition increases the danger, particularly to Gallagher.

O'Donnell's writing is detailed without being distracting and several of the passages add an intense air of mystery that fuels the reader more. As Gallagher uncovers more secrets and gets closer to the truth, the reader will try to piece things together, only to be thrown another loop. The pace is quick and the constant twists keep the reader engaged and curious throughout.

High action and a strikingly complex plot line combine to make Fatal Gamble a great read. A sympathetic and intelligent central character also help add to the enticement of this book. With multiple murders and an interesting narrative, it is certainly a hit and easy to visualize much of the scenes.

My Reading Room: Tight plot and wonderful suspense
This review is from: Fatal Gamble: A Novel (Paperback)
I received this book, Fatal Gamble along with the second Gallagher book, Deadly Codes from the author J.P. O'Donnell. The author himself is very pleasant to deal with so I was looking forward to reading his book. This is my second suspense novel in the week and while I use to read suspense/mystery all the time, my time is now divided because of various review books.

Fatal Gamble will not disappoint those who like PI novels or just general suspense. The suspense is tightly woven and peeling away the layers while reading is very enjoyable. Daniel Gallagher is a very likable PI. He strives to do the best at his job and in his life. He's divorced and does not like that but realizes it was for the best. He left a prominent police force job to be a PI because of his personality and not doing well taking orders (hey I can understand that). But despite all of that he is not a seriously flawed PI. As I stated last week in my review of The Cutting - I really enjoy the slightly flawed police/PI characters instead of the seriously flawed ones and Daniel Gallagher fits this bill.

In Fatal Gamble, the first book in the Daniel Gallagher series, someone is murdering doctors who were involved in a real estate deal 20 years earlier. Gallagher is hired by one of the deceased doctor's wives to get to the bottom of the financial side of the partnership so she won't be blindsided if there were shady dealings. Gallagher takes the case and is quickly sucked into it, following leads across the country. There is also a nice romance subplot involving Gallagher and his current serious girlfriend Kate, who I also really liked.

Lots of suspense, intrigue, detective work and some romance make up this well-rounded book. I was hanging on until the end wanting to know the who, what and why of this sinister plot. I am also looking forward to picking up the second book in the series, Deadly Codes and hope more follow that one.

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