Martha Chainey, the six-foot-tall ex-showgirl now working as a Vegas money courier, can “move and groove” with the best of them, but she likes a breather sometimes too. In this high-octane sequel to High Hand (2000), she can whistle for it. The fun starts with the sensational heavyweight-title bout that has the Strip in a tizzy. Can flashy young challenger Joachin Muhammad really take the crown from incumbent Tyler Jefferies? Midway through the fight, a sharpshooter’s bullet drops the champ to the canvas, down for the long count. And with that, Chainey suddenly finds herself recruited for a gig that could net her a mind-boggling 250 large. It seems that Victoria Degault, owner of the Riverhead Casino, was holding $5 million worth of side bets until someone ripped her off. Get it back, she tells Chainey, and five percent of it’s yours. So it’s money that drives Chainey—who’s black and beautiful with a brain as sharp as her reflexes and a heart as big as her sassy mouth—until it becomes personal. Her friend, female boxer Moya Reese, turns up murdered too, the two deaths certainly connected. But there’s personal and then there’s double-dipped, gilt-edged personal. Pretty soon, it becomes unpleasantly clear that a demented hit man is on the loose, gunning for guess who.
Both plotting and writing can occasionally go ragged, but Chainey is fresh, lively, and, as she puts it, “good for the blood now and then.”