Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dead Man's Hand

To me, watching someone else play poker is like watching paint dry. But judging from the number of poker tournaments being broadcast on TV - even before the writers' strike - I am in the minority on this. Poker is a wildly popular, and noir is a wildly popular literary genre, so why not marry the two into one great book? Dead Man's Hand: crime fiction at the poker table is a short story collection edited by Otto Penzler (who also edited The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps). Such famous mystery writers as Walter Mosley, John Lescroart, Jeffrey Deaver, and Michael Connelly join forces with such literary talents as Joyce Carol Oates, Alexander McCall Smith and Eric Van Lustbader. Each author has been given the same task: pen a gripping short crime story in which the cat and mouse game of poker plays a central role. Sounds easy? Well, these writers managed to come up with a huge array of plots, angles and hooks that will captivate the reader. Even if you don't know the difference between a deuce and a trey, you'll enjoy this book.

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