High Hand

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Overview

The city of Las Vegas becomes a glitzy, gun-happy backdrop for ex-showgirl Martha Chainey, the provocative newprotagonist from the author of the acclaimed Ivan Monk series.

Six feet tall with a don't-mess-with-me attitude, Chainey (nobody calls her Martha) is a courier transporting large sums of money under the table for casino owners. She's been around long enough to know the score and has no qualms about making her living in the shadows of ...

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Overview

The city of Las Vegas becomes a glitzy, gun-happy backdrop for ex-showgirl Martha Chainey, the provocative newprotagonist from the author of the acclaimed Ivan Monk series.

Six feet tall with a don't-mess-with-me attitude, Chainey (nobody calls her Martha) is a courier transporting large sums of money under the table for casino owners. She's been around long enough to know the score and has no qualms about making her living in the shadows of Sin City's neon lights...until the day her luck runs out.

Ambushed by masked shooters who make off with seven million in cash, Chainey's been given 72 hours to recover the casino owner's money—or else she can pick out her own coffin. Her desperate run leads her all the way to San Francisco and back home to West Las Vegas—Black Vegas—where she calls in markers from friends and foes alike. But it's on the strip's famous Glitter Gulch that chainey will enter the ultimate poker game. The stakes: winner take all. The wager: her life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Martha Chainey, athletic, gun-toting ex-showgirl and mob money courier, makes her hard-hitting debut in this tawdry heist thriller, in which everybody is a crook. Las Vegas casino-managers Frankie Degault and his sister Victoria entrust Chainey to drive from Nevada to a swank address in Mill Valley, Calif., to deliver $7 million in 100-dollar bills. Soon after she arrives, several masked thugs shoot everyone but her and steal the cash. Suspecting that Chainey double-crossed them, the Degaults give her 72 hours to find the thieves and recover the money. They assign Baker, a sadomasochistic South African (and one of the book's few white characters), to keep Chainey running for the money and her life instead of running away. The trail leads to an Indian reservation with a casino that wants to expand into Las Vegas. Various Indians, gamblers and the creeps who stole the $7 million menace Chainey. With help from Cuban mobster Ira "Mooch" Maltazar and reporter Rena Solomon, she manages to worm out the surprising truth behind the theft, but not before Baker gets her at his mercy, tied up upside-down and bare-bottomed. Phillips, author of Zook and the Ivan Monk series, knows the history of black Las Vegas and serves up a fast-moving, uncomplicated plot. Many readers will be put off by this sordid tale, but no doubt plenty of others will look forward to further degradation for Chainey in the sequel. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
An air of heightened tension marks this novel from the outset, when several goons intercept Martha Chainey's delivery of illicit cash to a pair of video craps-game entrepreneurs. Chainey, a spunky black ex-showgirl employed by a Las Vegas company in numerous questionable deals, must either finger her adversaries and return the money in three days or else be terminated herself. Armed, dangerous, and smart, Chainey tracks the "bad" guys, finds a connection to Indian reservation casinos, and beats the deadline. Featuring sex, violence, hard-hitting prose, and jump-start action from the author of the Ivan Monk mysteries (Only the Wicked, LJ 9/1/00), this book is for most mystery and African American fiction collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Even Ross Macdonald produced occasional howlers like "prone on her back," but in this series icebreaker by the creator of Ivan Monk ( Sterling, Bruce ZEITGEIST Spectra/Bantam (310 pp.) Nov. 7, 2000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575666846
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.91 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting new sleuth

    Siblings Frankie and Victoria DeGault, owners of the Riverhead Casino on the Vegas Strip, gives Martha Chainey several million dollars to deliver to a Mill Valley, California address. However, upon arrival, nothing goes right as masked hombres interrupt the exchange killing everyone, but a diving to safety Martha. <P> An irate Frankie accuses Martha of stealing the cash. He gives her three days to recover his money or else. To keep her on the hunt, he sends a lunatic of a thug Baker to watch over Martha. Following the money, Martha traces the robbers to an Indian reservation with a casino located on it. Even with help from a close friend and a mobster, the truth may be out there, but seems one dangerous step away from Martha attaining it and the lost loot. <P> Gary Phillips, author of the superb Ivan Monk novels, successfully switches to a female African-American protagonist. The story line is exciting as readers obtain an in depth look at the black side of Las Vegas. Although some scenes starring Baker seem a bit depraved and profanity is used, for the most part readers will love this tale starring a Cleopatra Jones-like heroine. <P>Harriet Klausner

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