Double Down

Tom Kakonis, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-93326-7
Introduced in the taut Michigan Roll , professional card player Tim Waverly is now hiding in Palm Beach while his partner, Bennie Epstein, hopes to save their lives by promising to pay back the Chicago crime boss whose delivery of heroin Tim sent up in smoke. Bennie returns with bad news: they have to turn over an additional $300,000 in two weeks or they will be killed. Neither of these worldly-wise ex-cons believes they'll be left alive even if they cough up the cash, but due to Kakonis's expert characterization, readers will believe simultaneously in the pair's weary hopelessness and their indomitable will to survive. Naturally, poker figures prominently in their plan as Tim joins a round of high-stake games with a group of overextended developers, among whom is an old childhood friend. Kakonis builds exquisite tension as Bennie and Tim, who becomes involved with the friend's wife, must outwit the pair of guns tailing them. Steamy with high-rent, low-life atmosphere, resolved in a violent shoot-out, the tale features an unforgettable cast, notably the belly-scratching thug from Chicago whose delight in junk food and women offsets the cool, pristine habits of the assassin he's apprenticed to. Aptly likened to Elmore Leonard, Kakonis offers a slightly darker vision. Serial rights to Penthouse. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-451-40304-9
Paperback - 402 pages - 978-1-941298-12-1
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