Hold 'Em Hostage - Jackie Chance
A Poker Mystery
Berkley Prime Crime
Belinda Cooley “Bee Cool” is in Las Vegas to take part in the World Series of Poker. Whatever you do, do not call her a professional gambler. She plays poker as a lucrative – sometimes very lucrative – hobby. To make her living, she relies on her public relations firm. This being Vegas, there are poker games every day, everywhere. Bee, her twin brother Ben, and her best friend Shana are playing at the same table. Not a good idea, for a variety of reasons, but this time it’s because only two can walk away with money, so one of them is guaranteed to lose their $100 buy-in.
Shana, more than a little tipsy, stands up and bumps into a man walking behind her. To everyone’s shock, the bump dislodges a bloody knife from his coat. The man is gone before the knife even comes to rest, point-down, pointing at Bee. Not the best way to start a day. Naturally, the police want to talk to her about this little incident. One thing leads to another, and Bee finds herself attempting to escape a man who is probably not actually a member of casino security. During her escape, she winds up in the (surprisingly cold) fake lagoon that decorates the lobby. The bigger problem is, she’s not alone. There’s a corpse in there with a slashed throat.
The police want to talk to her pretty extensively after that; sure that she must know the victim. Naturally, they don’t believe that she doesn’t. Back in their suite, Shana brings everything to a screeching halt when she confides in Bee that she hasn’t been able to get her teenaged daughter, Bee’s goddaughter, Aphrodite, on the phone. Affie is supposedly staying with the parents of Bee and Ben. A call to them goes unanswered, too. All is explained, unfortunately, when Bee gets a call from someone who says he’s got Affie, has access to Bee’s parents, and has framed Bee for a murder. A quick check with a neighbor confirms that Affie and the parents are, indeed, missing. If Bee wants to get them back and beat the rap, she’s going to win the World Series of Poker and hand over her winnings. But Bee’s no pushover.
Bee, last seen in DEATH ON THE FLOP and CASHED IN, is an interesting character. She’s only just recently discovered her skill with cards and enjoys the tournaments, but her first priority is her family and friends. You don’t have to know the first thing about poker to enjoy the story. And, if you want to learn, there are tips and explanations scattered throughout the text and at the end of the book. Even without that knowledge, this is a fun and lively caper-type novel. Set in Vegas, there are plenty of interesting characters wandering in and out of the action. Bee is definitely cool.
ISBN# 978-0-425-21984-3 (paperback)