Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Picasso Flop -- Vince Vn Patten & Robert J. Randisi

The Picasso Flop is billed as "A Texas Hold 'Em Mystery," and while you don't have to know anything about the game to enjoy the book, knowing a little would probably add to the fun, since a number of real players appear in cameo (and even larger) roles. And since the book's setting is a big-time poker tournament, the game does figure into the story a little bit. That's where the title comes from, for example.

The story's about Jimmy Spain, out of prison and getting back into the game, along with Kat, the young woman he's tutoring in the fine art of poker. Jimmy's motives for taking her on as a pupil aren't pure, and as they become friends, he's worried about that. It's a situation that isn't resolved in the book, so we'll have to wait for the sequel to see what happens about that.

Unfortunately for Spain, the poker tournament is marred by murder. And then another one. Spain gets involved in the investigation, naturally, and this isn't good for his poker playing.

I've been a sucker for poker books ever since reading Richard Jessup's The Cincinnati Kid long, long ago. The Picasso Flop moves fast, and the setting is glitzy (the Bellagio in Las Vegas). The authors set out to entertain, and they do a fine job. Check it out.

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