Lucky at Cards (The Classic Crime Library, #9)

Lucky at Cards (The Classic Crime Library, #9)

by Lawrence Block

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Lucky at Cards 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
calum-iain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Originally released in 1964 as ¿The Sex Shuffle¿ under the by-line Sheldon Lord, it is a real coup for the Hard Case Crime imprint getting this to print as Block is notoriously reticent about his early pseudonymous books. This one deserves rediscovery ¿ it is another cracking, hard-boiled, pot-boiler from Block. Bill Maynard, an ex-magician, now professional card mechanic has been run out of Chicago, with smashed teeth and broken thumbs, after having being caught scamming the wrong people. Washing up in an out-of-the-way burg he ends up in the company of a group wealthy gents who play a weekly poker game. Bill falls in lust with the sexy (ex-prostitute?) wife of one of the card players and the pair are soon plotting an elaborate scam to make off with her husband¿s fortune. Their clever plan is going well until another woman enters the scene and Bill and Joyce¿s scheme begins to rapidly and dangerously unravel. Block¿s writing is first class ¿ the pace is brisk throughout and the plot is appropriately complex and convoluted, with a twist coming on top of the twist ending. The dialogue is sparse, clever and tough talking throughout. The descriptions of poker play and the strategies of a cardsharp are interwoven throughout the book and are quite compelling in and of themselves. ¿Lucy At Cards¿ is an excellent pulp crime novel, with Block once again showing his skill at drawing readers in by building a riveting and overpowering sense of suspense.
worldsedge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a complete sucker for the throwback 'caper' novels put out under the Hardcase imprint. From the cheesy cover artwork to the even cheesier, screamingly funny 'description' on the back cover, I love it all. Which is as good a way of rationalizing the high rating I give these things whenever I read them as any. Yup, I done been entertained this time, and I have a damn good idea I'll be equally entertained next time.Call it a failing of my personality, call it what you will, but ah, to live, if only temporarily and vicariously the grifter's life, the road con, etc. The ghost of Aristotle sprinkles some catharsis dust and I move on. Oh, yes. The book itself. A sterling representative of the breed. Small-time card-sharp meets (presumed) ex-hooker now married to 'tax-lawyer' a scam gets set up, and you're off the races. Won't be any more specific than that, since giving away any details would spoil the whole thing. Block tries oh so valiantly to throw in a few curves, and while they don't really add much... who CARES? You got the (a) small-time card sharp, (b) the beautiful woman of dubious merit, (c) an attempt to separate the rich man from his money, (d) what I assume is some fairly accurate descriptive of how a card sharp does what they do (worked for me, anyway), and (e) the obligatory melodramatic climax. Sounds like heaven.
irkthepurist on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
blimey! as ever, a fantastic bit of early block crime wonderment - but this time with a difference. for once the hero - bill maynard, amusing to all brits who will forever associate such a name with bloody greengrass from "heartbeat" - isn't an absolutely irredeemable bastard... in fact i think this is one of the few hard boiled crime novels i've read where there's redemption at the end for a number of characters. even the femme fatale isn't double playing the hero, as they usually do in the genre. she's just a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work. not the best bit of block i've ever read but certainly the most surprising of the early hard boiled stuff. very good stuff indeed...
cdogzilla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wicked solid bit of noir pulp. By accounts I have from all quarters received, I ought to be reading Elmore Leonard (a glaring hole in my library there) but now that I'm reading these Block books, I'm not sure I want to switch out.
curiousjones on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here is yet another gem from the Hard Case Crime series. This, the third re-issue of noir master Lawrence Block (others have been Grifter's Game (Hard Case Crime) and The Girl With the Long Green Heart (Hard Case Crime)), proves to be a minor classic of the genre. Block, more than just thrilling us with another tough-talking pot-boiler, presents us with a Psych 101 study of the fringe criminal mind. Bill Maynard, a small time card sharp, settles in a bucolic village 3 hours outside of NYC long enough to become entangled with the well-off, Friday night Poker playing, Country club set. He secures a good job in sales, meets a nice girl; and a not so nice broad. The intriguing part here is Bill's temptation, not by the dark side, but rather by the normal, everyday, boring, firmly anchored life of a successful salesman married to a devoted wife. Will Bill be drawn to the light side or will he finally have his marked cards and deal them too? Read Lucky At Cards, you won't feel cheated.
TTAISI-Editor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Because where else can you get a high-low paragraph like "We answered the question in the unmade bed with the lights on and the shades up. The room was on a high floor, so no one could have seen us, but we never thought about that at the time one way or the other. The lovemaking was too fast, too furious, too compulsive. There was deep need and dark hunger, and flesh merging with flesh, and an orchestral swell out of Tschaikovsky that led to a coda of pure Stravinsky."