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Death Plays Poker: A Clare Vengel Undercover…
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Death Plays Poker: A Clare Vengel Undercover Novel

by Robin Spano

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Reviewed for Mystery Scene. Winning main character, lots of poker, about 100 pages that could have been cut.
  bfister | Nov 27, 2011 |
This is the second novel in the Clare Vengel Undercover series. This time around, Robin Spano puts Clare in another unusual environment, a world class poker circuit/tournament where players are being choked to death. The Royal Canadian Mounties (RCMP) have pulled her in to attempt breaking the case. She is minimally experienced, and desperate to prove herself as a proficient undercover agent.

The problem is that Clare Vengel, disguised as Tiffany, the pink clothed high heel wearing trust fund kid, doesn’t know a damn thing about poker. She has studied a couple books, and knows some limited basics, and lucks out on a couple big hands. She is by no means a poker savant, she can not count cards, and even a blind man could read her tells. This is kind of the same way she approaches undercover work in general. She has a good idea what she should be doing, but cant seem to do more than luck into things.

I have become a big fan of Clare Vengel. When reading the first novel (Dead Politicians Society) I found the character like-able and easy to read. Death Plays Poker just solidifies my enjoyment. At first I found he new characters and setting confusing, but after a friend explained a few poker terms (like “Donk Bet” things cleared up nicely. Perhaps the publisher should consider putting a glossary in the back pages, and a simple 2 page refresher on poker rules. It would save trips to the internet for card game idiots like myself.

Clare Vengel is an older, less formulaic, slightly slutty grown up Nancy Drew. She smokes, drinks crappy beer and can tear apart a motorcycle in her sleep, and runs her mouth at all the wrong moments. She can also walk in heels, flirt like a champ, and surreptitiously gain the trust (or at least assured mutual hatred) of others. People interested in a casual read that is highly enjoyable, start picking up this series before it gets much further in. 200 pages goes by fast with a book this good. ( )
  JasonBrownPDX | Oct 1, 2011 |
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When poker players at a major, televised tournament begin turning up strangled in their hotel rooms, cop Clare Vengel must once again go undercover to befriend the suspects and find the killer in their midst. Though Clare hates her shallow cover character Tiffany, a trust-fund princess who thinks the poker tour is a better idea than college, posing helps her infiltrate the inner circle quickly. Her flashy new wardrobe also attracts the attentions of Noah, a dark stranger who's at the game for hidden reasons of his own. With her handlers doubting her every move, everyone she meets lying for a l… (more)

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ECW Press

2 editions of this book were published by ECW Press.

Editions: 155022994X, 1550229877

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