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Pokergeist by Michael Philip Cash


by Michael Philip Cash

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Everything I have read by this author I have loved, so, when given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to read this book for NetGalley. Unfortunately, I was not as enamored of this one as I have been of the others by the author. It may be that I am not a poker fan and there was a lot of poker slang and events/actions in the book, but I think my dislike came from the book’s characters. Clutch is a poker whiz. Dead for about a year, he returns to help Telly, a young, ex-IT worker, who lost his IT job and is trying out a poker profession, which he loves to play though he is no pro, win the big one. Both team up in this book to show how even the non-pros can sometimes succeed. I enjoyed reading the story, but found it often went beyond what could be reasonably be expected and found the two main characters, Clutch and Telly, both unlikable losers who were hard to enjoy or cheer on in the game. I think the premise behind the book was great. I think the author did not follow through, as well as he has in the past, with the execution of this premise. I am not sure whether the actions of Telly, coached by Clutch, who hovered around him and the table of other players, would have gone down in a real situation. Based on how serious the games and players are in this situation are, I suspect someone would have cried foul early on, and things would never have gone as smoothly as they did. I enjoyed the two sub-plots about Telly’s and Clutch’s lives and significant others. They lent a lot of interest to what might otherwise have been a short, rather band story about a not-so-great poker player who manages to come out on top with the help of a ghost, who once was a real payer in the game. However, though Telly’s story came across as true and rather sweet, Clutch’s did not come across quite as well. I enjoyed most of the persona in Clutch’s life, but found his first wife despicable and difficult to accept. Here was a real loser, who had very little going for her, coming out on top with the law, only to lose everything soon afterwards, while Telly’s common law wife, who was a sweetheart, and daughter got nothing. Yes, the wife loses it all, but even the way she loses it was a bit unrealistic and not really told all that well. It almost seemed, at the end, the author wanted tie up this loose string in the story, so included something short and sweet, though not really satisfying.

This author handles paranormal quite well. He did fine with that in this book, but not nearly as well as he has in his other books. This will never be one of my favorites by him. Still, it is an interesting read. I would like to say I learned something about poker, but I did not. There was a lot thrown at you, especially if you knew next to nothing about the game as played by professionals. However, the author did not explain much, as he probably felt that poker was not his main thrust here. Most of it left me confused about how the game is played. I think readers who enjoy paranormal stories by this author will enjoy this one, though, like me, perhaps not as much as others he has written. It will also appeal to anyone who enjoys poker, though don’t expect to find any new tricks, as poker is merely the setting for the story. It is a rather fast read and not very long, so will also appeal to someone looking for something quick who enjoys the paranormal. ( )
  KMT01 | Jul 25, 2015 |
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