Then her dad's murder conviction is overturned. The new evidence seems to come out of nowhere and Nikki's life becomes a mess when he's released from prison. Because the dad who comes home is not the dad she remembers. And he's desperately obsessed with finding out who framed him--and why.
As her dad digs into the seedy underbelly of Vegas, the past threatens everything and Nikki is drawn into his deadly hunt for the truth. But in the city of sin, some sinners will do anything to keep their secrets, and Nikki soon finds herself playing for the biggest gamble ever--her life.
- ISBN-13: 9780545812504
- ISBN-10: 054581250X
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 352
- Reading Level: Ages 13-17
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Famed poker player Nathan the Broker Tate is back in Las Vegas and free from death row after fresh evidence overturns a wrongful murder conviction. When he winds up dead outside his casino, his 16-year-old daughter, Nikki, already responsible for running the business and carrying on his legacy at the card table, starts doing some detective work in order to bring his killer to justice. High-stakes gambling, low-level espionage, and more typical high school concerns intersect, though the talk of football rivalries and choosing colleges can sometimes feel out of place against the deadly serious backdrop. Giles (Endangered) excels at pulpy crime drama, including a romance with a wealthy casino heir, scattering a trail of clues and bluffs to keep readers guessing. Racial elements at playthe Tates are black while their rivals, the Carlinos, are whitehover in the background, adding another layer to Giless murder mystery. Nikkis sharp observations and self-deprecating sense of humor lighten the overall mood of this dark and twisty thriller. Ages 12up. Agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary. (Mar.)
High stakes and family secrets
For 16-year-old Nikki Tate, home is a Las Vegas casino called Andromeda’s Palace that her parents own and run, but it’s Nikki who actually keeps the place afloat. This is by necessity, as her father, Nathan, was sent to death row on a false murder charge. Miraculously, his innocence is proven, resulting in his release from the penitentiary.
But Nathan’s return home has not been as joyful as expected. Nikki’s been pulling in money by winning poker games against Vegas lowlifes, a practice that is squashed by her father. Nathan hasn’t been around the casino; he’s spending long hours looking for the true murderer who escaped justice. When Nikki’s father is found slaughtered in a dark alley, she takes up that search herself, but things get complicated quickly. Nikki’s new boyfriend, Davis, is the son of rival casino owner Big Bert, who incurred her father’s enmity. Is Big Bert behind Nathan’s murder? If so, what does that mean about Davis’ interest in her?
The suspense builds steadily as Nikki is consumed by her quest. Author Lamar Giles stokes the tension with Nikki’s involvement in high-stakes poker games and the dangers she faces charging through the sordid side of Vegas. Like Nick in Giles’ Fake ID, Nikki is black, a fact that will appeal to many readers as much as the twists and turns of this well-crafted mystery. This is a fun read for fans of Harlan Coben or April Henry.