Monday, May 2, 2016

James Swain Concludes the Story He Began in "Deadman's Poker"

This concludes the story that Swain started in Deadman's Poker. As I mentioned in my review of the first book , Swain abruptly ended the book without concluding the story and simply leaving the reader hanging.

In Deadman's Poker consultant Tony Valentine was hired to figure out how a virtually blind poker player named Skip DeMarco was cheating his way to victory in the World Poker Showdown in Vegas. Complications abound and when the book ended, Tony was no closer to figuring out the scam than he had been at the beginning. The story continues here and (finally) concludes.

I really have nothing to add to my review of the earlier book. Again, as much as I have enjoyed this series, I thought that the author cheated his readers by spreading the story out over two books, and having now read the second, I don't think he needed to do so. It's a good story, but the truth is that it would have been much better had the material been condensed into one book. Stretching it out into two volumes means that it drags a bit and loses at least some of the tension that the story would have had were it shorter.

In particular, one of the subplots in the book involves an old-time con man who runs several cons on gamblers who, inexplicably, keep coming back to bet against him time after time. This was amusing in the first volume, but it frankly got tiresome early in the second. I don't know whose idea it was to stretch this story out like this, but Swain's publisher did not do either him or his readers any favors by allowing him to do so.

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