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Blind God's Bluff (The Billy Fox Novels) [Kindle Edition]

Richard Lee Byers
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Ante up for the game of a lifetime!

Billy Fox, a small-time gambler on a losing streak, has more than enough problems on his hands, owing too much money to some very impatient people. But when he rescues a blinded stranger from a swarm of bloodthirsty fairies, Billy’s life gets a lot more complicated. . . .

Seems the stranger is actually a powerful local god who is involved in a high-stakes Florida poker tournament against various supernatural challengers. And with his eyes currently missing, he needs somebody to take his place at the gaming table. Before Billy knows it, he finds himself playing against the likes of an ancient Egyptian mummy, an unbearably seductive succubus, a mechanical man, an insect queen, and a cannibalistic beast-man. And not just cards are in play; magic, bloodshed, and cheating are not only expected, they’re encouraged.

Everybody, including a sexy satyr-girl with her own cards up her sleeve, thinks that Billy is in way over his head. But Billy is a born gambler and, when the chips are down, he might just change his luck for good!

Blind God's Bluff is an outrageously addictive urban fantasy that will keep you flipping pages until the very last hand.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Billy Fox is not having a good day. Some tough guys are hounding him for some money he owes them, making not-at-all subtle threats about damage to Billy’s person if he doesn’t make good. Billy is on the run when he comes across a man with no eyes, just empty sockets, who appears to be under attack by a swarm of nasty fairies. Well, as it turns out, the eyeless man is a god who’s supposed to be playing in a high-stakes poker tournament. He recruits Billy, who appears to have some small supernatural powers of his own (hey, who knew?), to play in his stead. If he’d known who his opponents were going to be (an Egyptian mummy, for one; a succubus, for another), Billy might have turned down the gig. On the other hand, anything’s better than getting beat to a pulp by the tough guys he owes money to, right? This is the kind of story someone like Mike Resnick or maybe Joe R. Lansdale would have knocked out of the park, but in Byers’ hands, it doesn’t have the light, effortless tone it needs to be completely successful. You can feel the author working hard to convince us to suspend our disbelief, and occasionally the story creaks under its own weight. Not a bad novel by any means—it has many moments of excitement and humor—but not as good as it might have been. --David Pitt

About the Author

Richard Lee Byers is the author of approximately forty fantasy and horror novels as well as scores of short stories. He holds a BA and an MA in Psychology, worked in a psychiatric facility for many years, then left the mental health field to become a writer.

Product Details

  • File Size: 465 KB
  • Print Length: 275 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1597804436
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (September 22, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,989 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Fun! January 2, 2013
This is a great story.
Billy has apparently hit bottom when thugs come to claim his gambling debts. His fiance is ex and now he's holed up in an abandoned house with what looks like a homeless vagrant, who smells worse than a goat, and who's eyes have apparently been scratched out by the hoards of brown winged fey. The stakes are high, and when he stands in for the blinded god in a poker game the risks run even higher. Many lives are on the line and the play runs at many levels.
This book starts out at a run and doesn't stop. Urban Fantasy with humor, if you like Dresden, give this a try!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is an outstanding introduction to Richard Lee Byers, to the city of Tampa, to urban/modern fantasy, to poker, and to Billy Fox and the weird world in which he finds himself.

Billy Fox is not your standard-issue flawed hero, in that he doesn't just have the usual "failure to launch" syndrome so many have had, and his past wasn't one most people would ever have envied. But he's not hopelessly tragic either.

The characters that surround him in his new environment are certainly strange, yes, but their appearances aren't the end of who they are. They're still real people too, whether they have fins on their heads, or they're not exactly among the living, or they have the bodies of snakes. As an added bonus, Billy winds up with one of the worst bosses anyone has seen in a long time.

Tampa is more than just a backdrop, or a couple of set pieces; it's written from the standpoint of one who has lived here, and knows the ins and outs, although the title character winds up running through what I think is the Interbay area for the first time in his life. Of course, anyone who lives here knows that Tampa is a massive sprawl, and it's pretty easy to find new and unusual places. Maybe some of them ARE populated with Old People (and not the kind who hunch over the steering wheels of ancient Lincolns and Cadillacs).

"Blind God's Bluff: A Billy Fox Novel" isn't a long read, but it tells a helluva story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, action-oriented urban fantasy March 8, 2013
Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of urban fantasy, especially fans of male-oriented action-type stories
Trigger Warnings: general violence, cannibalism
Animal (-like creatures) Abuse: A lot of the minions and thralls are creatures of various types and are beaten or otherwise mistreated.

My Thoughts: Several sections of this book are, basically, playing poker. Specifically Hold 'em poker, about which I know next to nothing. I think if a person understands the game, there would be more in this story. For me, those sections are basically "blah blah blah Ace/Queen/King blah blah blah cheating blah blah blah violence". Since the thing is told from Billy's point of view, it does give us a better glimpse into his thought processes though, so I wouldn't say it's a waste, just that if you--like me--don't really understand much about the game, there will likely be some subtle clues missed. Another section with billiards was the same way. It would have been nice if the book had been written so that people who are clueless about these games would have had a better idea what was going on.

Timor is a cruel, sadistic, and paranoid old jerk. Wow. I don't blame his people for wanting to be rid of him. Of course, the others really aren't all that much better. They all seemed like the type that would stab you in the back while smiling and saying, "Hail, fellow, well met," and acting like they were going to clap you on the shoulder.

This copy was a galley, which means it still was to go through a final round of editing, so I will assume that the few editing errors I noticed will have been cleared up for the final copy.

However, don't take all that to mean I didn't like the book, because I really did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gambling wizards in Florida August 13, 2014
If you need a quick urban fantasy fix until the next Harry Dresden or PC Peter Grant novel comes out, you could do worse than Blind God's Bluff. Its sort of Casino Royale meets a bunch of old Universal horror (and other) movies, with a Mummy, a succubus, a Tin Man and a bunch of other weird stuff all happening to a small time gambler whose main ambition in life is to become a big time gambler, at least until a chance encounter leads to the discovery he can use magic.

I wont mention the plot much beyond that, except that there is a goat-girl, a kraken, and a bunch of other things which are pretty memorable. And poker, a lot of poker.

All up though, this didn’t really grab me - it’s a quick read, but I didn't wish the book was any longer. I was happy to finish it when I did, for all I did enjoy reading it. It’s a shame, as I've really enjoyed some of Mr Byers other works. The characterisation seemed a little flat - there were glimpses of promise here and there, but no follow through. I assume that was meant for a sequel, but that sequel is probably one I won't get around to reading.
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More About the Author

Richard Lee Byers is the author of over thirty fantasy and horror novels, including a number set in the Forgotten Realms universe. A resident of the Tampa Bay area, the setting for many of his horror stories, he spends much of his free time fencing and playing poker. Friend him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter, and read his blog on Livejournal.

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