Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cashed In - Jackie Chance

Cashed In
A Poker Mystery
Jackie Chance
Berkley Prime Crime


Note: This review contains unavoidable spoilers regarding the outcome of the first book in the series, DEATH ON THE FLOP.

Belinda (Bee) Cooley’s life has changed quite a bit in the six months since she won a pro-am Texas Hold ‘Em tournament in Vegas. The win came as a complete surprise to everyone, not least to Bee, who had never played the game until events forced her into the tournament. Bee, whose upset win in Vegas has earned her the moniker “Bee Cool,” and a fair amount of fame in poker circles, used her winnings wisely, but still finds that money and fame bring their own brand of problems.

At the moment, her fame has led her, with the very insistent help of her brother, Ben, to the inaugural cruise of the Sea Gambler, complete with poker tournament. It was supposed to be partly a romantic getaway for Bee and Frank, the security expert she met while in Vegas. In a fit of temporary insanity, she also invited her parents along for the ride. Frank calls to cancel at the last minute, and Bee finds herself forced to share a cabin with her lothario brother. Not the trip of which dreams are made.

Bee soon discovers that the Sea Gambler is pretty much a floating version of a Vegas casino, complete with desperate players, burly security guards and security cameras everywhere. And what Vegas experience would be complete without a little danger? Someone is knocking off tournament players, and Bee could be next.

No prior knowledge of poker is required to enjoy this second installment of the series. The author carefully and succinctly lays out the basics, and allows the reader to ‘watch’ the proceedings. Bee is an appealing character; no dumb bunny, she’s hit forty and changed her life for the better, all in the same year. Her interactions with her family are realistic and humorous, but painfully recognizable to anyone with parents. The mystery is interesting and will keep readers guessing. A very solid entry in this fun series.

Rating: 7
September 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21768-9 (paperback)


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