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The Picasso Flop (Texas Hold'em Mysteries) Hardcover – February 21, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Texas Hold'em Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (February 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892960701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892960705
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,590,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Van Patten, a host of TV's World Poker Tour, has teamed with veteran mystery writer Randisi to create what may be the first novel billed as a "Texas Hold'em Mystery" with so-so results. The action takes place during a major poker tournament at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and Jimmy Spain—recently released from prison—is there both to play and to coach 22-year-old Kat Landrigan, the talented daughter of a man Spain did time with (part of a pointlessly complex backstory). But the tournament is interrupted by two murders, and, for reasons that strain credulity, Spain is asked to look into the matter. The title refers to the three playing cards discovered with each body: a jack, a queen and a king, which, when dealt together, are sometimes described as a "Picasso flop" in hold'em. Spain is an engaging, likable character, and some of the poker scenes are done with flair and knowledge, but the loose plot doesn't do justice to the fine concept. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Most mystery readers won't flip for this Flop. But card players and others who shuffle past the first few chapters of clunky exposition and incessant plugs for the World Poker Tour (and a certain poker Web site that won't get additional exposure here) will discover an appealing setup: pro player Jimmy Spain is returning to the Texas hold 'em circuit after several years in the slammer, and he is schooling young Kat Landrigan for the rich father with whom he served time. The big complication: Kat hates her dad and doesn't know he hired her tutor. So when she is implicated in the murders of several players in a Vegas WPT tournament, Spain must keep her safe and unaware while working his way toward the final table and a potential $1.8 million score. Coauthor Randisi likely saved WPT commentator Van Patten from embarrassment here, but the veteran crime scribe also should have fixed the dropped subplot and an ending that's too convoluted by half. Bottom line: a quick, fun read despite its many flaws. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Sorry but this book is awful.
viii_ball
I posted a much more detailed review but it has disappeared.
William Reich
Randisi's writing is smooth and effortless.
Mel Odom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aaron C. Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The story in this book follows the basic conventions of the mystery genre and does an adequate job. Mystery fans with no interest in poker won't hate this book, but it won't make their top ten lists. Some serious poker players will think it emphasizes silly froth over pure poker.

I loved this book for the inside jokes about celebrity poker. If you're a fan, there's all kinds of fun detail, carefully-etched portraits and amusing color. If you're not a fan, and don't know any of the people involved, it will seem like shameless plugs for the World Poker Tour with lots of silliness in between the murders.

This isn't a book for everyone (as the other reviews clearly show), but if you like this sort of thing, it's a five-star book.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Vince Van Patten and Robert J. Randisi launch what will hopefully be the start of a new series with THE PICASSO FLOP. With the Texas Hold'Em and Las Vegas background thrown in, the book delivers a lot of interesting information in an exotic location. Not only that, but there's a murder to solve and an amateur detective that I found easy to root for.

Jimmy Spain is an ex-con and professional poker player. Recently released from prison, he's trying to get his life back together and get his poker game back. But an offer from Landrigan, a guy he met in prison, puts Jimmy squarely in harm's way. Landrigan tells Jimmy he'll pay for all his buy-ins at the poker games as long as he watches over Landrigan's estranged daughter, Kat. Kat, however, can't know that her father is involved.

Kat is brash and somewhat offensive, everything you might expect a 22-year-old hardcase to be. She's got a definite jones for the poker game and plenty of moxie and enough talent to back it up. But Jimmy really doesn't know that much about her.

Only days into the tournament, feeling the effects of his rusty game, Jimmy gets caught up in a murder investigation. One of the prime poker players gets killed and is found with a Picasso Flop, a jack, queen, and king, on his body. The flop is a poker term, and the Picasso part refers to the fact that all the cards are face-cards.

Jimmy realizes just how little he knows about Kat when she lies about him and uses him for her alibi during the time of the murder. There was some bad blood between Kat and the dead man, but was it enough to make her kill him? Trapped between his friend, the poker tournament, and a hard-nosed cop who's got it in for him, Jimmy has to cover all the angles just to stay alive.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Story line is a little weak, but the poker action was OK! I would not recommend this book for the non poker player.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank A. Shevock on May 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really wanted to enjoy this book since I love watching the WPT poker telecasts and Vince Van Patten's commentary. I also love playing Texas Holdem. However, this book reads like it was written by a fourth grader (not to denigrate fourth graders writing ability). I got to the 10th chapter and decided I couldn't take it anymore. Vince, don't give up your day job....................
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the story and the Las Vegas setting. I'm not a poker aficianado so the game play could be dead wrong and I wouldn't know it, though I've watched poker tournaments on TV. I did think the name-dropping of "real" players was used too heavily, to the detriment of developing the fictional characters and should have stayed more in the background for flavor.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Having spent the past decade in jail on a manslaughter conviction, poker guru Jimmy Spain is stunned by the changes. Texas hold 'em is all over TV and the Internet, and women and amateurs participate in tournaments in which a zillion play.

Prison friend Harold Landrigan worries about his daughter Kat, who dreams of making it big in the poker world though her tournament experience is near zero. Harold hires Jimmy to mentor his twenty-two year old daughter Kat; to do so Jimmy enters the Five Diamond World Poker Classic in which she is a participant. He arranges to meet her and cons her into hiring him to train her. When Jimmy manages to meet Kat he make his mentoring her idea. He also meets Sabine Chevalier, but his plan for her is more personal. When someone murders star Tim Bennett, leaving behind THE PICASSO FLOP (a jack, a queen and a king) Kat and Sabine name Jimmy as their alibi. As others are killed with the same calling cards left at the scene, Las Vegas Police Detective Cooper asks Jimmy, the son of a cop, to conduct a supplemental insider investigation.

THE PICASSO FLOP is an interesting poker mystery starring a likable player who is caught between two women, LVPD, and the deadly tournament where someone is not bluffing. The story line is at its best at the card table where the audience will be enthralled while the games are played. The whodunit and Jimmy's background take gallery seats to Texas hold `em as TV poker announcer Vince Van Patten and mystery writer Robert J. Randisi combine to provide a full house.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By viii_ball on May 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am both a mystery reader (try Harlan Coben) and love poker. I picked this book up as it looked like it would meld these two worlds. Sorry but this book is awful. Its very flat, the characters have no character and you don't indentify or get involved in any one of them.

If you are a poker fan, you will notice a lot of inconsistencies (i.e. main character meets up with young lady in April, just after the completion of the WSOP....NOT, WSOP played in summer time). Also, the scene in the beginning of a high stakes game just doesn't feel real.

I felt like I was at a cocktail party with a person that had very low self-esteem and all they could do was drop names of famous people. Also, the attempt at accents is terrible (southern for Mike Sexton, french for one of the characters).

Bottom line is don't waste your time or money on this book.
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