The Game of Thirty

The Game of Thirty

by William Kotzwinkle, Joe Servello
     
 

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Streetwise PI Jimmy McShane has seen plenty, but he's never seen anything like the murder of Tommy Rennseler. A wealthy antiques dealer with a passion for Egyptian artifacts, Rennseler was killed like an ancient Egyptian: injected with cobra venom and ritually disembowelled. When he's hired by the dead man's daughter, McShane realizes quickly that he's never

Overview

Streetwise PI Jimmy McShane has seen plenty, but he's never seen anything like the murder of Tommy Rennseler. A wealthy antiques dealer with a passion for Egyptian artifacts, Rennseler was killed like an ancient Egyptian: injected with cobra venom and ritually disembowelled. When he's hired by the dead man's daughter, McShane realizes quickly that he's never seen anything like Temple Rennseler either. She's beautiful, exotic and'perhaps'extremely dangerous. She's also obsessed with the Game of 30, a centuries-old form of chess that'perhaps'foretells the future. The more enmeshed he gets with Temple, the more McShane succumbs to the lure of the Game. But just what game is Temple playing?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Game of Thirty is an ancient Egyptian board game in which the movement of pieces, according to the casting of bone dice, foreshadows events in the lives of the players. In Kotzwinkle's ( E.T. ; Doctor Rat ) noir novel for the 1990s, Manhattan is the ersatz playing board, and antiquities dealer Tommy Rennseler is a player whose piece was moved to the square of Rebirth (``your piece dies and has to start all over again'') on the night he was injected with cobra venom and disemboweled. High-tech detective Jimmy McShane is hired by Rennseler's daughter Temple to find her father's murderer. Aided by his office mate, Ann Henderson, a chiropractor with a New Age outlook and a talent for Sherlockian deduction, McShane moves around the city/board trying to discover who his opponent is. More murders and a suspect's involvement in child prostitution seem to sidetrack the plot, but in the end, all pieces, players and moves prove necessary to Kotzwinkle's resolution. McShane, Henderson and the supporting cast are fully three-dimensional and memorably idiosyncratic. In this game of 30, the reader is the winner, no contest. (June)
Library Journal
In Kotzwinkle's ( The Midnight Examiner , LJ 4/1/89; The Hot Jazz Trio , LJ 10/15/89) latest novel, we meet New Yorker James McShane, private detective extraordinaire, a man of wit, confidence, and panache. Assisted by his beautiful office neighbor, a people-smart chiropractor, McShane investigates the murder by evisceration of a wealthy antiquities dealer specializing in Egyptian artifacts. He alternately charms, bluffs, or pushes his way around a short list of suspects, including the dealer's quirky family, a mysteriously ubiquitous sender of warnings, and an old-money pedophile. The author's literate, fluid prose, which sparkles with le mot juste , thus reveals an admirable hero, solid plot, and Egyptian cachet as well as the author's versatility. Sure to be popular. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/94.
Elliott Swanson
When a first-class mainstream writer turns his hand to genre fiction, the results are seldom mediocre. They're usually either spectacular or awful. Like Richard Brautigan's "Dreaming of Babylon" (1977), Kotzwinkle's venture into crime fiction is first rate, a delight to read and a successful attempt to expand the horizons of the genre. Making masterful use of the first-person narrative form common to most hard-boiled detective fiction, Kotzwinkle introduces Jimmy McShane, who is hired to solve the grisly murder of a shady dealer in rare antiquities. Pitted against a killer whose methods include cobra venom and disembowelment, McShane is joined by Dr. Ann Henderson, a chiropractor and aspiring sleuth. It turns out that the deceased was killed while playing the Game of Thirty, an ancient Egyptian board game, and that the killer is playing the game with Jimmy, using all of New York City as the board. Played by the pharaohs, the Game of Thirty is designed to parallel an individual's journey toward either life or death. Laced with a liberal measure of Kotzwinkle's signature wit, this multileveled story is imaginatively constructed and populated with an engaging menagerie of characters both fair and foul. Unique and compelling.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395532706
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date:
06/15/1994
Pages:
262
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.06(d)

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Stephen King
A suspense novel to be ranked with the classics.

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