Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Review: Death Plays Poker by Robin Spano
Clare Vengel is back, and her second big assignment as an undercover cop has been given to her. The RCMP has pulled her in to help on a high-profile case; she has to portray a high-maintenance, trust-fund, poker-playing 23 year-old named Tiffany, someone completely opposite of herself. She’s been placed into a professional poker tournament and she must convince everyone in the tournament that she is one of them. One of her key obstacles is keeping herself in the tournament for as long as possible. Clare must figure out why fellow poker players are turning up dead. Someone is strangling world-class players in their hotel rooms, and has been dubbed the “poker-choker.” Clare loves her job and wants to remain an undercover cop, but it’s clear she needs to solve this case, and do it fast. Clare hates portraying Tiffany, but she’ll do anything to prove her superiors wrong. Her superiors are quick to threaten to pull her off the job at any given moment. If you doubt Clare, she will do everything, and anything to prove herself right.
Clare Vengel is the type of character that readers root for. She’s real, she’s flawed, and she’s a likable character. Her superiors have no confidence in her, they expect her to fail, and they never give credit where credit is due. She has to fight to gain their trust and maintain her position. She might be young and inexperienced but she is determined and has heart. As Clare immerses herself into the poker world, it’s hard to separate herself from what’s real and what’s not. Clare learns that she cannot trust anyone, and must keep in mind that she has hidden handlers around at all time, watching her every move.
Robin Spano has done it again! As with Dead Politician Society, Spano uses alternating chapter POV’s, and readers get to know many of the characters without being confused. Normally, I don’t like many characters being introduced, but Spano cleverly weaved each storyline into the plot. The chapters are short, and give the novel a fast-paced feel. The alternating POV’s give readers a glimpse into the minds of various characters while adding to the suspicion of the mystery. I was questioning each and every character, wondering who could be the “poker-choker.” Death Plays Poker is the second book in the series, but it could easily be a stand-alone novel. I highly recommend this one!