Last Call

Last Call

by Tim Powers
4.8 20


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Last Call by Tim Powers

In Last Call, the Locus Fantasy Award and World Fantasy Award winner by Tim Powers, ex-professional gambler Scott Crane hasn't returned to Las Vegas, or held a hand of cards, in ten years. But nightmares about a strange poker game he once attended—a contest he believed he walked away from a big winner—are drawing him back to the magical city.. because the mythic game did not end that night in 1969. And the price of his winnings was his soul.

This edition of Last Call includes a special P.S. section with additional insights from the author, background material, suggestions for further reading, and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062233271
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/19/2013
Pages: 535
Sales rank: 268,220
Product dimensions: 5.38(w) x 7.94(h) x 1.36(d)

About the Author

Tim Powers is the author of numerous novels, including Declare, Last Call, Hide Me Among the Graves, and On Stranger Tides, the inspiration for the blockbuster film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. Powers lives in San Bernardino, California.

Read an Excerpt

Last Call

Chapter One

"I'll Still Have You, Sonny Boy"

Georges Leon held his, little boy's hand too tightly and stared up from under hishatbrim at the unnaturally dark noon sky.

He knew that out over the desert, visible to any motorists along the lonelier stretches of Boulder Highway, the rain would be twisting in -tall, tagged funnels under the clouds; already some flooding had probably crept across the two lanes of Highway 91, islanding the Flamingo Hotel outside town. And on the other side of the earth, under his feet, was the full moon.

The Moon and the Fool, he thought desperately. Not goodbut I can't stop now.

A dog was barking a block or two away, in one of these alleys or parking lots. In spite of himself, Leon thought about the dog that appeared on the Fool card in the Tarot deck and the dogs that in Greek mythology accompanied Artemis, the goddess of the moon. And of course, the picture on the Moon card generally showed rain falling. He wished he were allowed to get drunk.

"We'd better be heading for home, Scotty," he told the boy, keeping the urgency out of his voice only with some effort. Get this done, he thought.

Palm fronds rattled overhead and threw big drops down onto the pavement.

"Home'" protested Scotty. "No, you said -- "

Guilt made Leon gruff. "You got a fancy breakfast and lunch, and you've got a pocketful of punched chips and flattened pennies." They took a, few more steps along the puddled pavement toward Center Street, where they'd be turning right toward the bungalow. The wet street smelled like dry white wine. "I'll tell you what, though," he said,despising himself for making an empty promise, "tonight after dinner this storm will have cleared up, and we can drive out of town with the telescope and look at the stars."

The boy sighed. "Okay," he said, trotting along to keep up with his father, his free hand rattling the defaced chips and pennies in his pocket. "But it's gonna be a full moon. That'll wash everything else out, won't it'"

God, shut up, Leon thought. "No," he said, as though the universe might be listening and might do what he said. "No, it won't change a thing."

Leon had wanted an excuse to stop by the Flamingo Hotel, seven miles outside of town on 91, so he had taken Scott there for breakfast.

The Flamingo was a wide three-story hotel with a fourthfloor penthouse, incongruously green against the tan desert that surrounded it. Palm trees had been trucked in to stand around the building, and this morning the sun had been glaring down from a clear sky, giving the vivid green lawn a look of defiance.

Leon had let a valet park the car, and he and Scott had walked hand in hand along the strip of pavement to the front steps that led up to the casino door.

I Below the steps on the left side, behind a bush, Leon had long ago punched a hole in the stucco and scratched some symbols around it; this morning he crouched at the foot of the steps to tie his shoe, and he took a package from his coat pocket and leaned forward and pitched it into the hole.

"Another thing that might hurt you, Daddy'" Scott asked in a whisper. The boy was peering over his shoulder at the crude rayed suns and stick figures that grooved the stucco and flaked the green paint.

Leon stood up. He stared down at his son, wondering why he had ever confided this to the boy. Not that it mattered now.

"Right, Scotto," he said. "And what is it'"

"Our secret."

"Right again. You hungry'"

"As a bedbug." This had somehow become one of their bits of standard dialogue.

"Let's go."

The desert sun had been shining in through the windows, glittering off the little copper skillets the fried eggs and kippered herrings were served in. The breakfast had been "on the house," even though they weren't guests, because Leon was known to have been a business associate of Ben Siegel, the founder. Already the waitresses felt free to refer openly to the man as "Bugsy" Siegel.

That had been the first thing that had made Leon uneasy, eating at the expense of that particular dead man.

Scotty had had a good time, though, sipping a cherry-topped Coca-Cola from an Old Fashioned glass and squinting around the room with a worldly air.

"This is your place now, huh, Dad." he'd said as they were leaving through the circular room that was the casino.

Cards were -turning over crisply, and dice were rolling with a muffled rattle across the green felt, but Leon didn't look at any of the random suits and numbers that were defining. the moment.

None of the dealers or croupiers seemed to have heard the boy. "You don't --" Leon began.

"I know," Scotty had said in quick shame, "you don't talk about important stuff in front of the cards."

They left through the door that faced the 91, and had to wait for the car to be brought around from the other sidethe side where the one window on the penthouse level made the building look like a one-eyed face gazing out across the desert.

The Emperor card, Leon thought now as he tugged Scotty along the rain-darkened Center Street sidewalk; why am I not getting any signs -from it' The old man in profile, sitting on a throne with his legs crossed because of some injury. That has been my card for a year now. I can prove it by Richard, my oldest son -- and soon enough I'll be able to prove it by Scotty here.

Against his. will he wondered what sort of, person Scotty would have grown up to be if this weren't going to happen.

Last Call. Copyright © by Tim Powers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Tom Robbins

“A novel of the supernatural and occult that is hard boiled, seamy and suspenseful as the best film noir.”

Raymond E. Feist

“Brilliant! Compelling and satisfying! Tim Powers is one of our best writers, and LAST CALL is his best book yet.”

Dean Koontz

Dazzling . . . a tour de force, a brilliant blend of John le Carre spy fiction with the otherworldly.

William Gibson

Tim Powers is a brilliant writer. Declare’s occult subtext for the deeper Cold War is wonderfully original and brilliantly imagined.

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Last Call 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters in the story are very well developed, several very normal villians and protagonists, moving through fantastic plots in a very exciting flow. Mr. Powers has done his research. The back story on Tarot cards and the creative license on the early days of Las Vegas makes this tale oddly educational, although I'm not sure where the line between fiction and fact lies... Well done.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since reading Tim Powers' book, The Anubis Gates, I have been waiting for Powers to write another up to the high standard he had established with that work. His intervening novels, The Stress of Her Regard, On Stranger Tides, have been, frankly, disappointing. With Last Call Powers finally meets the standard he established with the earlier book. The novel is unique, vast in scope and adventuresome. I rank it only a hair below The Anubis Gates.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love any Tim Powers book and this is one of the best. His weaving of myth and magic and quirky characters and everything in between is masterful. One of the most inventive and talented writers out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tim powell is one of the great under appreciated writerd of our times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Great for fans of Gaiman's American Gods.
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"Please tell me the story again!" Onekit asked Bluedust, his mother. His littermates, Frostkit, Blackkit, Cinderkit, and Ravenkit, were huddling beside him, their eyes wide. Bluedust looked at her kits begging to here the story again. Swiftstripe was beside her, his gray pelt bristled in excitement on the five kits. Onekit cuddled close to his mother. "Please tell me!" He begged. 'I want to hear the story again! It's so exciting!' Onekit thought with excitement. "Fine." Bluedust flatten her ears and looked at her kits. "But this is the last time. I was telling you the story around sunhigh, and now it is almost half-way sunset. Are you all ready?" Onekit laid down on the ground. "Ready." He purred, his white fur brushing against the mossy cold ground. Frostkit imitates him. "Ready." She mewed. Ravenkit and Cinderkit sat next to each other. "Ready." They both squealed. Blackkit, the eldest of the five kits, sat alone. "Ready." He murmured. Bluedust looked at all of them then began the tale. "It was one cold night. Our former clan was take over by a mysterious cat. Starclans says the enemy was granted everything he wanted by the cold-hearted Dark Forest. Your father, Tigertail, suddenly dissappeared among the shadows with the enemy close to him. We never did found his body, but he has been gone for so many moons, we both predicted him as dead. The day of his brave heroics was the same day I had my first litter of five perfect kits. Swiftstripe was with me then, and I asked him to be my mate after you five join the life. I might even have a second litter next new-leaf. We all live in this den now, but it is perfect. There are unlimited prey around it, its cracks are perfect for storing different medicines, and its mossy ground is so comfortable. If we go back to the clan camp now, it probaly isn't there anymore. It is now the enemy's camp. It is north from here, and it isn't far away either. But I don't want any of you kits going over there. It's too dangerous for little warriors like you five." Bluedust finally finished, her thin tail swaying back and forth. Onekit looked at Bluedust, his green eyes wide in glee. 'Wow...' he thought. Swiftstripe looked at Bluedust, eyes wide. "It is almost leaf-bare, Bluedust. And it is the first leaf-bare to the kits. What if they got sick or even..." Swiftstripe dared himself not to go on, but Bluedust knows what he is saying. "They'll be fine. Leaf-bare won't be a challenge to them." Blackkit nodded. "Yeah!" Ravenkit agreed. "We're tough enough to destroy those cats!" Bluedust giggled. "It's a season, Ravenkit." She chuckled. Ravenkit flatten his ears and looked at the ground in embarrasedment. "Sorry." He whispered, his blue eyes wide. "Its alright, Ravenkit." Bluedust murmured. "Onekt made the same mistake." Onekit padded over to Ravenkit and Cinderkit and sat down next to Ravenkit. "We're like twins!" Onekt meowed. "Yeah!" Ravenkit agreed. "Exept that you have white fur and I have gray..." Swiftstripe giggled. "Come on." He beckoned the kits with his tail. "I'll show you what is outside when it is almost the last day until leaf-bare." Onekit sat up straight. "Really?" He asked. Swiftstripe nodded and padded out of the den with the kits close behind him. Authors note: Part Two will come soon. -Flamepaw, Med. Cat apprentice of Leafclan