A GAMBLING MAN, David Baldacci

A Gambling Man
David Baldacci

Another winner from David Baldacci.

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 rumour 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.

Richard writes
Even Bill Clinton endorses this book. Not sure that is high praise but Clinton, believe it or not, was a Rhodes scholar as was his wife, Hillary, also. But I digress.

Given that Baldacci is one of my favourite writers, one who can do no wrong, A Gambling Man hits the nail on the head again.

Intricate plot development, a storyline that engages and pulls the reader in more deeply page after page. This is a detective story written in the milieu of the 1930s, 1940s: Sam Spade, Mike Hammer, Philip Marlowe. All famous protagonists in popular mystery novels of the era, Archer fits the same mould perfectly. He’s intelligent, intuitive, analytical and handsome to boot. He’s usually a step ahead of the villain in this story though occasionally he lapses and suffers for it.

Reading Baldacci’s most recent novel is like breathing in the fresh air on a fall morning, prose that is crisp, cool, refreshing and clean, paragraph after paragraph.

The most engaging novelty of the story is Archer’s ride, a 1939 Delahaye that must have blared his arrival anywhere he drove it in the story. The Delahaye is a real car and a very popular showpiece at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance at the Pebble Beach Golf Course in California. A great car showcases well at this classic car show. You almost cringe in pain when you read the car being shot at and a bullet hits one of its windshield supports.

A Gambling Man finishes with a flurry and leaves any reader breathless, gasping and exhilarated.

One terrific read, but then almost any book written by Baldacci is like that.


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