A couple weeks back, I had received an email asking if I was interested in reading a book and giving it a review. It wasn't your ordinary poker book, but a bit of a mystery novel with poker as the theme. Seeing as I hadn't read a good book as of late, I jumped at the opportunity.
To me, the easiest way I can tell if I like a book is how fast I read it. If I quit doing other things to finish the book because it is good. Five hours after picking it up, I had finished Dead Money: A No Limit Poker Novel by Rudy Stegemoeller.
I found the story quite engaging. The characters were believable and more importantly, likable. The story centers around Mark Newcomb, a poker player who goes off to play in a tournament. He soon finds himself involved in a murder case when he stumbles on the dead body of a famous player. Other players are soon involved and even though someone has been killed, the tournament must go on.
What we get is a mix of poker and solving a murder case. As much as our hero Mark Newcomb tries not to be involved, he keeps getting sucked back in.
There are a couple of things I enjoyed about the book. The style itself reminded me of a series of novels I read by Harlan Coben and the Myron Bolitar character. These guys are not detectives but smart enough to notice little things that help them stay out of trouble (for the most part).
I also liked the approach taken in Dead Money. You get the thought process of our lead character. From how he interacts with the characters to how he plays poker. Like how he spends time in the casino until early in the morning and gets barely enough sleep for the tournament. It reminded me of the blogger gatherings in Vegas. I even started picture some of the other characters as bloggers or famous poker players. It had me wondering which players in real life had their counterpart in the book.
You get some poker play in the book, but not too much and yet not too little. Plus, it is all realistic. Though I don't know if I would lay down A J suited when I flop a flush draw and get re-raised early in tournament. Beyond that, there is some angle shooting, a-hole players, and push monkeys.
Next time you are heading to Vegas, I would easily recommend reading the book. It will certainly make the plane ride go faster.
Don't forget to read Pauly's updates on the EPT in Monte Carlo. He live stuff is here and as well as his personal thoughts here and here. I am liking the brunette in the Poker News videos as well. Nice!
Also, you can keep yourself updated on the PokerStars players via the hard working Otis at the PStars blog. Unfortunately there are no odds of him locking himself on the balcony this year. The wager has been taken off the board.