The Numbers Game
Author: Miles Watson
Genre: Historical fiction
Print length: 45 pages
Age range: This is an adult book
Trigger warnings: Realistic war theme
The Battle of Britain rages. London is in flames, and civilization itself totters on the brink. Does Pilot Officer Maurice Mickelwhite care? Not one damn. He may be one of the better fighter pilots in the Royal Air Force, but it’s not by choice. Maurice is a mathematical genius, who, if not for Hitler, would be happily teaching algebra and calculus at university. To hell with the war! Maurice just wants his numbers. Trouble is…the numbers also want him.
Praise for The Numbers Game
Miles Watson’s work, “The Numbers Game” is an outstanding novella. .. The main character, Maurice is serving his country and thrown into combat during the Blitz of the Battle of Britain. Maurice is a quiet guy, a competent pilot, but a numbers guy to the bone. Each time he goes up, he cannot help but calculate the odds of his survival…. Watson does a magnificent job of putting the reader in the cockpit. You feel the cold temperature, you smell the oil, gasoline, and gun powder, and you feel the fear these pilots felt tackling insurmountable odds. It’s a story of duty, courage, honor, and of course…the numbers. A must read. – Amazon Review
Watson hits one out of the park here. A short story that you don’t want to end. His explicit detail takes you right on the wings of some of the Royal Air Force’s toughest fighter jets. It’s a helpless feeling witnessing the grind that these men went through day in and day out and Maurice, the main character is there to coach you through some harrowing sorties… The numbers aspect only adds tension to the otherwise white knuckle ride you’ll be on. Glad I purchased. – Amazon Review
About the Author
Miles Watson has won more awards and accolades than almost any independent writer of his generation. His various works have won the following:
- CAGE LIFE – Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Runner Up (2016): Zealot Script Magazine “Book of the Year” (2017); Best Indie Book Award – Mystery & Suspense (2018)
- KNUCKLE DOWN – Writer’s Digest S.P.B.A. Honorable Mention (2019); Best Indie Book Award – Suspense (2019)
- DEVILS YOU KNOW – Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing Finalist (2019)
- THE NUMBERS GAME – Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Novella – (2019)
- NOSFERATU – Pinnacle Book Achievement Award – Novella – (2020)
- SINNER’S CROSS – Best Indie Book Award – Historical Fiction – (2019); Book Excellence Award – Action (2020); Literary Titan Book Award – Gold Medal (2020); Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards – Finalist (2020)
He holds undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice and History and a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction, and served in law enforcement for nearly ten years before moving to Los Angeles, where he has worked on over 200 episodes of television and half a dozen feature films. But his first and last passion is writing.
Maurice Mickelwhite never expected to be a pilot when he joined up to the Air Force; he thought his mathematical genius would see him placed in some other role, but that was not the norm, especially during wartime.
You can take the man out the numbers game, but you can’t take numbers away from the man. It was Maurice’s nature to assess and analyse the probability of death in the skies. He wasn’t wrong, as the odds naturally decreased over time. The more outings a pilot took, the more chances there were of him being shot down. When would his own number be up? Surely he would know?
His analysis set him apart from his fellow pilots, and there were elements of mockery and derision aimed at his “predictions”, but nothing deterred him from number-crunching. Even so, the camaraderie of the flying units and their determined efforts to beat adversity shone through, and Maurice was visibly moved by the deaths of some of his longer term colleagues.
The story is concise yet complete in its endeavours to reflect a different slant on war and its inevitable impact on mortality. My only bugbear was the use of American English to tell Maurice’s story. Nonetheless, an interesting and thought-provoking short read. 4 stars from me.