THIS ISN'T A GAME by David Moss


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An offshore online casino is caught between bankruptcy and blacklisting when a long shot pays off.

Kenny, linemaker for, would rather stick to handicapping predictable events like football games and horse races. But VegasVegas owner Jackson Oliver, insisting that made more profit from the Michael Jackson trial than from the World Series, puts up an entertainment page for sideshow bets, like the outcome of The Bachelorette. The Andrew Marvel trial is a current favorite, with odds running 2 to 5 for a guilty verdict for the movie director accused of killing his wife, Audrey, in their summer home in Vermont. Acquittal is 7 to 4, and 100 to 1 against the charges being dropped, odds so long that Jackson is willing to raise the limit to $1,000 for Cass Gallaway, a nobody from Greensboro, Vermont. Next day, of course, the DA announces the dismissal of the charges, based on a videotape his office received showing Marvel at a motel three hours away at the time Audrey was killed. Jackson can’t afford to pay off; Gallaway threatens to report him to the Offshore Gaming Commission if he doesn’t get his winnings within three days. So to avoid the commission’s blacklist, Jackson leaves sunny Costa Rica for Greensboro, where he bribes the owner of the Morning Loon Motel to give him a room that would normally be snapped up by one of the reporters covering the trial. Readers expecting juicy murder details or an inside peek into the glamorous world of offshore gambling are treated instead to a tepid slog through rural Vermont as Jackson grapples with questions like “Who was the last person to log into Cass Gallaway’s account on the computer at the public library?” and “Why did Gallaway go all the way to Brattleboro to stare at a farmer’s antique weathervane?”

It may not be a game, but Moss’ debut isn’t really an adventure either, since the owner of VegasVegas turns out to be BoringBoring.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-464-20627-6
Page count: 236pp
Publisher: Poisoned Pen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016


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