From Publishers Weekly
The Hard Case Crime imprint has found a perfect partner in Block, as this gritty grifter's tale, in print for the first time in 40 years, goes to show. In a small town somewhere between Chicago and New York, down on his luck card shark Bill Maynard stops off to take care of his teeth, recently broken in a beating he took for fixing a game. Planning to stay only long enough to heal, Bill's plans change when his dentist invites him to join a friendly game of poker. Having fooled the locals and earned a bundle at the game, Bill's ready to leave town when he falls hard for his host's sexy young wife, Joyce, who isn't fooled by his card tricks. Indeed, she's got higher stakes in mind: after seducing him, she ropes Bill into that old scheme, helping her get rid of her hubby. The plot twists here, then there, then back again, rooted in Block's strong characters and no-nonsense prose style.
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Before Matt Scudder, before Bernie Rhodenbarr, before being named a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, Lawrence Block turned out paperback originals. This one--unavailable for more than 40 years--now receives a timely reissue from Hard Case Crime. It's a doozy. Bill Maynard is a card mechanic (cheater) who took a beating in Chicago and now is in serious need of some dental work. He finds it in an unnamed burg on the road to New York, and he also finds a nice little poker game. But who wanders into the game but one of the player's wives--who just happens to know a mechanic when she sees one. Soon enough Maynard and the wife are plotting to skip town with the husband's money, but, of course, the plan goes awry--in part because the square's life starts to feel good to our card shark. Block unwinds his plot superbly, pointing toward a classic noir finale but then seeming to pull away--or maybe not. And, along the way, there is all the teasing sexuality and tongue-in-cheek noir style that a pulp devotee craves. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved