The country star extends his brand by collaborating on a book that shows how to hold ’em and know when to fold 'em.
Someone who loves country music from the 1970s and '80s, Texas Hold 'em and Texas in general could probably guess what’s in this novel before reading it. Credited to Rogers (Luck or Something Like It, 2012) and regional novelist Blakely (Come Sundown, 2006, etc.), the plot involves a country singer who shares some biographical particulars with Rogers (earlier rock success before a big country breakthrough, Houston-area roots, an insider’s knowledge of Nashville and the music business, and a big hit about gambling) and puts him in the middle of all sorts of complications that involve gambling, a scheme to con a con man, a television pilot, an international betting ring, the FBI and CIA, a heart transplant, a loving mama and romantic intrigue with a beautiful woman who becomes his manager. How beautiful? “You’re drop-dead gorgeous, Dorothy! The cameras would feast on you like a lion on a Watusi!” And “you make Sophia Loren look like a second runner-up in a plain Jane pageant.” And “Brigitte Bardot would kill Raquel Welch for your looks.” Yet the plotting manages to withstand all the chicken-fried clichés, as the stakes continue to escalate beyond anything the reader and most of the characters had anticipated. As the protagonist prepares to launch his country career by appearing as featured entertainment on a televised poker tournament that hopscotches across Texas, the gambling pits seasoned professionals and ringers against amateurs who “looked as if they couldn’t tell an ace in the hole from a hole in the ground.” After a stop in San Antonio includes the obligatory visit to the Alamo (“That there is hallowed ground”), the novel reaches its climax with perhaps the wildest night ever experienced at Gilley’s, once the ultimate Texas honky-tonk. It’s pretty easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys and to guess who will win.
A caper novel for fans of country music legend Rogers.