Deadly Deception

Jack Engelhard, Author
Jack Engelhard, Author Gollehon Press $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-914839-43-9
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The author of Indecent Proposal returns with another gambling tale, this one lifting craps to a religious calling and offering stakes as high as life itself. Unfortunately, the prose is labored, the conception is overdone and the characters fail to take on enough life to make their risking it of much interest. Dewey Smith is a desperate gambler and sweatshop millionaire whose world will likely crumble at a forthcoming Senate hearing at which a 16-year-old Russian violin prodigy rescued from one of his factories is expected to deliver damning testimony about working conditions. Julian Rothschild is a ""shooter,"" a craps artist who has found his vision and calling at the craps table. Roy Stavros is a casino enforcer determined to get rid of Julian. While Julian uses his magic fingers to win money for good causes, Dewey hopes to use the shooter's talents to fund efforts to take care of the Russian girl, permanently. Dewey's attempts to salvage his operation become increasingly frantic; Julian struggles to retain his spiritual purity and fights Stavros's efforts to freeze him out of the casinos. Engelhard brings the plot's contrivances together in a final Proposition Game: Julian against the house and everyone's fate riding on the dice. (Sept.)
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