Start with a family’s long history of prominence in politics and the added prestige of owning one of Kentucky’s leading thoroughbred breeding and racing operations. Acquire coal via marriage and develop a bourbon distillery business, then top it off with a toxic combination of financial greed and moral bankruptcy. What do you get? Rob Hilliard’s smart and intriguing What Are The Odds? The Calculus of Coincidence (Outskirts).
The years immediately following World War II were a time of great change across America. In Kentucky, however, much remained the same. Three industries dominated the Bluegrass State – bourbon, coal and thoroughbred racing. The Wellingtons – “the Commonwealth’s first family” – had occupied center stage since Reconstruction, due in large part to generations of involvement in politics.
For Bentley Wellington, wrapping up his second term as governor, a fateful evening in San Francisco sets in motion events that, decades later, would embroil his family in an expanding web of scandal involving illicit sex, shady financial dealings, brushes with the underworld and murder.
Ultimately, multiple law enforcement agencies launch investigations that ripple through several states, spill into neighboring Canada and cross the Atlantic to Germany’s Rhineland.
Author Rob Hilliard borrows from his New Jersey upbringing, student life at the University of Virginia, and years of involvement in the thoroughbred racing industry, on Wall Street and in international business circles, to bring readers a suspenseful tale that stretches at the edges of coincidence. ◊