Saturday, July 23, 2011
The Prop: Review
Peeky Kane plays poker for a living. She's pretty good at it. She has learned to read what a player will do based on the twitch of an eyebrow, a swift movement of a lip, or an intake of breath. She's a pro...a prop player at an Arizona casino owned by the Santa Cruz tribe. So far she's been able to make a nice little living off the people who come to the Casino Santa Cruz card room. But then things begin to go wrong. First Peeky finds herself in a fixed game, bringing home about $7,000 in one night's work. Then a gang of clown-masked robbers manage to run off with a million of the casino's dollars--killing four people in the process. Peeky recognizes one of the gang as a casino employee and then finds that another robber is much closer to her than that. Added to the mix is the revelation from her son-in-law that her daughter Jaymie has a drug habit--one that she's been supporting by raiding her mom's stashed money. Can things get any worse? Peeky is called upon by one of the most powerful members of the Santa Cruz tribe to help him get to the bottom of the troubles at his casino. She will have to use her gambling instincts and powers of observation to help her save the casino, her daughter, and herself.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I love the character of Peeky. She's strong, sassy, engaging, and flawed. She's human enough that you're immediately on her side. The writing is just as addictive as if the reader had been bitten by the gambling bug. There's plenty of action and double-dealing. That's the pluses. On the negative side, there's an awful lot of killing--more than I usually like in my mysteries. And the murders are so senseless. It's also a bit more noir than I'm used to. And all the things that happen to Peeky....well, I felt like it was enough already. Three and a half stars for great writing and terrific characters.