Nathaniel Rich’s “Odds Against Tomorrow” starts out as a somewhat quirky story about a math nerd and becomes an apocalyptic thrill ride. The writing is tight and pulls the reader into the novel. Rich combines humor, scenes of devastation and a touch of romance in a perfect blend.
Mitchell Zukor is a brilliant mathematician who creates calamity scenarios for FutureWorld, a company that came to life after an earthquake destroys Seattle. FutureWorld provides corporations from lawsuits following natural disasters. Mitchell’s obsession with worst case scenarios makes him very wealthy. When his prediction of a category 3 hurricane making a direct hit on New York City and the resultant devastation comes true he is catapulted onto the national stage. After 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the disaster portrayed in the novel seems all too conceivable.
The characters in the novel are very well-developed. Mitchell is the consummate obsessive nerd. His co-worker, Jane, is a quirky woman who tries to hide her nervousness and doesn’t really believe what she is selling. The various corporate suits all add to the zany cast. The story flowed and kept me turning pages to find out what would befall Mitchell next. Rich’s take on the direction society is headed is very current.
This is a great read if you are looking for an ecological thriller with a thought-provoking edge.