TABLE STAKES by Ernest Tidyman


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Tidyman (the Shaft novels) takes on the dual worlds of big-time gambling and the film studios, handling both with skill, if not the vigor of a Puzo (see above). David Burnham has an old briefcase into which he stuffs money, his bundle for playing pre-WW II poker with the fanciest players in the country, including one billionaire. David's freewheeling gambler's lust, however, makes him a lousy husband and father, so one day his wife sells the house, packs up, moves to California, goes into real estate, and, after several years separation, gets divorced and remarried. But the gambling streak will resurface in the next generation. After son Paul returns as a lieutenant from World War II, David is accidentally shot to death during a game by robbers in ski-masks, and one of his big player pals, a Hollywood agent, persuades Paul to go into the movie business. His employer: still another old player, ""Junior"" Gordon of Gordon Studios. Paul works his way up the production ladder, films three low-budget winners that save the studio, marries Gordon's daughter, and is set up by a plundering financier to savage Gordon and take control of the studio. Will Paul take the gamble? You bet he does. . . . And does he lose his soul? . . . Solid poker-playing atmosphere, an appropriately sharp, cynical tone--a convincing evocation of gambling fever in the blood.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1978
Publisher: Little, Brown