Some reading for the new year

Quoting from January Magazine‘s Holiday Gift Guide:

Dead Manís Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table
edited by Otto Penzler (Harcourt Books) 400 pages

Dead Man's HandHaving already commissioned original short stories for anthologies with sports themes (basketball, boxing, baseball, tennis, horse racing, etc.), Penzler is finally tapping into the enthusiasm for what seems to be Americaís latest favorite spectator-friendly endeavor: poker. Taking its name from the aces-and-eights card hand that Wild Bill Hickok was reportedly holding when he was shot to death in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, this compilation bears all the excitement and inconsistency associated with Lady Luck. Itís nice to see talented stalwarts such as Peter Robinson, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Jeffery Deaver, and Michael Connelly pitching their prose into Penzlerís pot. And gamblingís longstanding nefarious edge makes it an ideal subject around which to build a crime-fiction short-story collection. I only wish that the poker theme had been played as expertly by all of the contributors, as it is by some. Still, for fans of cards and crime, Dead Manís Hand is a good bet.

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