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{ "item_title" : "A Gambling Man", "item_author" : [" David Baldacci "], "item_description" : "Click Here For the Autographed CopyAloysius Archer, the straight-talking World War II veteran fresh out of prison, returns in this riveting new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci. The 1950s are on the horizon, and Archer is in dire need of a fresh start after a nearly fatal detour in Poca City. So Archer hops on a bus and begins the long journey out west to California, where rumor has it there is money to be made if you're hard-working, lucky, criminal--or all three. Along the way, Archer stops in Reno, where a stroke of fortune delivers him a wad of cash and an eye-popping blood-red 1939 Delahaye convertible--plus a companion for the final leg of the journey, an aspiring actress named Liberty Callahan who is planning to try her luck in Hollywood. But when the two arrive in Bay Town, California, Archer quickly discovers that the hordes of people who flocked there seeking fame and fortune landed in a false paradise that instead caters to their worst addictions and fears. Archer's first stop is a P.I. office where he is hoping to apprentice with a legendary private eye and former FBI agent named Willie Dash. He lands the job, and immediately finds himself in the thick of a potential scandal: a blackmail case involving a wealthy well-connected politician running for mayor that soon spins into something even more sinister. As bodies begin falling, Archer and Dash must infiltrate the world of brothels, gambling dens, drug operations, and long-hidden secrets, descending into the rotten bones of a corrupt town that is selling itself as the promised land--but might actually be the road to perdition, and Archer's final resting place.", "item_img_path" : "https://covers4.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/1/53/871/967/1538719673_b.jpg", "price_data" : { "retail_price" : "29.00", "our_price" : "7.97", "club_price" : "7.97", "savings_pct" : "72", "savings_amt" : "0.00", "club_savings_pct" : "72", "club_savings_amt" : "0.00", "discount_pct" : "10" } }
A Gambling Man|Baldacci, David
A Gambling Man
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Overview

Click Here For the Autographed Copy

Aloysius Archer, the straight-talking World War II veteran fresh out of prison, returns in this riveting new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci. The 1950s are on the horizon, and Archer is in dire need of a fresh start after a nearly fatal detour in Poca City. So Archer hops on a bus and begins the long journey out west to California, where rumor has it there is money to be made if you're hard-working, lucky, criminal--or all three. Along the way, Archer stops in Reno, where a stroke of fortune delivers him a wad of cash and an eye-popping blood-red 1939 Delahaye convertible--plus a companion for the final leg of the journey, an aspiring actress named Liberty Callahan who is planning to try her luck in Hollywood. But when the two arrive in Bay Town, California, Archer quickly discovers that the hordes of people who flocked there seeking fame and fortune landed in a false paradise that instead caters to their worst addictions and fears. Archer's first stop is a P.I. office where he is hoping to apprentice with a legendary private eye and former FBI agent named Willie Dash. He lands the job, and immediately finds himself in the thick of a potential scandal: a blackmail case involving a wealthy well-connected politician running for mayor that soon spins into something even more sinister. As bodies begin falling, Archer and Dash must infiltrate the world of brothels, gambling dens, drug operations, and long-hidden secrets, descending into the rotten bones of a corrupt town that is selling itself as the promised land--but might actually be the road to perdition, and Archer's final resting place.

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Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781538719671
  • ISBN-10: 1538719673
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publish Date: April 2021

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Whodunit: May 2021

Two 1940s-set mysteries, a striking new series and a real doozy of a final twist await you in this month’s Whodunit column.

A Gambling Man

To be known by only one name lends a certain je ne sais quoi to the stature of a hard-boiled PI. It has worked well for Andrew Vachss’ dark avenger Burke and Robert B. Parker’s sybaritic strongman Spenser, and it works just fine for David Baldacci’s mononymous sleuth Archer. It doesn’t hurt that Archer’s second outing, the 1949-set A Gambling Man, takes place during the gumshoe golden age, when men smoked “Luckies,” drove luxurious European roadsters and were pursued by women of rapier wit. Archer is an ex-con, so some shenanigans are required to obtain a license to ply his trade in his new home of California. The ink isn’t even dry on said license before he’s assigned his first case, an extortion attempt on a mayoral candidate in the seaside community of Bay Town. Then an alluring chanteuse who was connected to the case is brutally murdered. It will not be the last death to rock Bay Town, and the newly minted PI’s mettle will truly be tested. Baldacci establishes bona fides for this historical mystery with great delicacy, deftly navigating the cliche minefield and giving his readers a sense of the milieu without drowning them in minutiae. He delivers a cracking good suspense novel in the process.

Thief of Souls

Brian Klingborg’s Thief of Souls features one of the best opening sentences I have ever read in a mystery: “On the night the young woman’s corpse is discovered, hollowed out like a birchbark canoe, Inspector Lu Fei sits alone in the Red Lotus bar, determined to get gloriously drunk.” Lu Fei is a deputy police chief in Raven Valley, a backwater township in northeast China, close to the North Korean border. Not much happens in Raven Valley as a rule, but that somnolence is about to be upended. Almost immediately after the victim is discovered, a suspect is identified: a wannabe boyfriend whose phone yields surreptitious photos of the young woman and whose job in a meatpacking plant would afford him access to the sort of surgical knife that was used to eviscerate her. The city police officer called in to take over the investigation wants a quick solution to the case and is perfectly willing to let the “boyfriend” fill that bill. But Lu has doubts, and he conducts a quiet side investigation that turns up additional unsolved killings with the same modus operandi. Politics and turf wars ensue as Klingborg, who has lived and worked in Asia, peppers the story with narrative detours into Chinese history and pertinent commentary from the likes of Confucius, Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese philosophical luminaries. This auspicious mystery begs for a sequel. Please let it be soon. 

A Peculiar Combination

The title of Ashley Weaver’s series starter, A Peculiar Combination, is a sly reference to the main character’s occupation as an opener of locked boxes—and more specifically, locked boxes that do not belong to her. Set in London during World War II, the novel opens as Electra McDonnell, safecracker extraordinaire, and her mentor, Uncle Mick, get nabbed in a sting operation set up by a British spy agency. They’ll be given a Get Out of Jail Free card if they participate in a government-sanctioned safe heist in which some phony sensitive papers will be substituted for the real documents, thus misleading the Nazis. It all goes hopelessly awry when they arrive at the scene of the would-be crime and discover the safe is wide open, its owner dead on the floor. In the wake of this failure, Electra finds herself in the unusual (for her) position of wanting to see the operation through to its conclusion, even though she’s been freed from her contract with the government. In for a penny, in for a pound and all that. It’s a lighter read than many a mystery with the same setting, but A Peculiar Combination delivers the requisite suspense and misdirection that will keep the hard-boiled crowd on board as well.

 The Final Twist

Jeffery Deaver’s The Final Twist lives up to its name admirably, even delivering said twist on the very last page of the book. (Don’t cheat by looking at the ending.) Main character Colter Shaw could scarcely be more different from Deaver’s famous sleuth, the brilliant forensic consultant Lincoln Rhyme. Colter is a mountaineer and a survivalist; he’s action-oriented where Rhyme is cerebral. And unlike Rhyme, who works closely with law enforcement, if Colter has to bend the law to serve his ends, he will do it without remorse. He supports himself by finding missing people and collecting the reward money. His life’s mission, however, is finishing his father’s work and destroying BlackBridge, a mercenary corporation that has been distributing drugs in a San Francisco neighborhood to drive down property values so they can swoop in and purchase tracts for pennies on the dollar. Shaw strongly suspects that BlackBridge had a hand in his father’s “accidental” death, and he means to dispense some Old West justice once he finds out the truth. A couple of subplots, one involving Colter’s long-lost brother and another centered on a legal document from a century ago that may have a breathtaking impact on modern-day California politics, flesh out the narrative, distracting the reader until Deaver wallops them with the shocking final page. 

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