Archive for 'Van Patten, Vince & Randisi, Robert J.'
Iâ€™m going to tell you a little secret â€“ I love poker. I donâ€™t get many opportunities to play Texas Holdâ€™em any more, but I like to watch it on TV and play when I can. So I was prepared to like a mystery that featured poker.
The Picasso Flop is about ex-con and former professional poker player Jimmy Spain who gets back into the game. And he takes along a young female protÃ©gÃ© named Kat. Jimmy is secretly being paid to teach and groom Kat by her father (also an ex-con) who is on the outs with Kat but wants her to be good at what she has chosen to do. Jimmy and Kat both enter a World Poker Tour tournament in Las Vegas and, during the course of the tournament, several of the other poker players are murdered. When it seems that the murderer must be one of the players, the WPT asks Jimmy to investigate.
Although I wanted to like this book, I found it to be an odd and unsuccessful blend of a poker story and a mystery. First, I had a hard time understanding who this book would appeal to â€“ a novice or an experienced poker player. There really isnâ€™t any point in the book where the authors tell the reader how to play Texas Holdâ€™em or explain the betting. So if you donâ€™t know how to play poker already, this book isnâ€™t going to enlighten you. On the other hand, if you play Texas Holdâ€™em, you already know all the poker slang included in the book, it seems gratuitous, and there isnâ€™t enough card action to satisfy.
But if you read this book for the mystery, you will also be disappointed. There arenâ€™t enough suspects and the solution comes via a hunch and torturing a suspect into confessing rather than any evidence. You will also be displeased at the large number of coincidences used to create this tortured plot, requiring serious suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader. What this book does do well, however, is give us poker groupies a peek behind the scenes at a WPT tournament. If you have ever wondered how things work at a tournament, this will give you an idea.
Favorite character? James Woods, real-life actor and poker player. Did I guess it? No. Will I read another? I might. If these guys can get their act together, another poker mystery would appeal to me.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007