Sixteen-year-old Nikki Tate, a keen observer with a wonderfully dry and witty noir voice, is a detective-fiction hero in the tradition of Sam Spade, Kinsey Millhone or perhaps most relatably given her age and amateur status, Veronica Mars…Giles…is in top form, weaving together the threads of his whodunit-and-why and resonantly depicting his characters' home and school lives. As a poker genius Nikki may be a singular sort of teenager, but she's grounded in desires and motivations that make her story as moving as it is thrilling.
The New York Times Book Review - Jen Doll
Famed poker player Nathan “the Broker” Tate is back in Las Vegas and free from death row after fresh evidence overturns a wrongful murder conviction. When he winds up dead outside his casino, his 16-year-old daughter, Nikki, already responsible for running the business and carrying on his legacy at the card table, starts doing some detective work in order to bring his killer to justice. High-stakes gambling, low-level espionage, and more typical high school concerns intersect, though the talk of football rivalries and choosing colleges can sometimes feel out of place against the deadly serious backdrop. Giles (Endangered) excels at pulpy crime drama, including a romance with a wealthy casino heir, scattering a trail of clues and bluffs to keep readers guessing. Racial elements at play—the Tates are black while their rivals, the Carlinos, are white—hover in the background, adding another layer to Giles’s murder mystery. Nikki’s sharp observations and self-deprecating sense of humor lighten the overall mood of this dark and twisty thriller. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary. (Mar.)
Praise for Overturned
"The interracial romance . . . is handled deftly, as is Giles' skillful evocation of the townies-vs.-tourists nature of Las Vegas. An utterly compelling whodunit." --
Kirkus Reviews, starred reviews Praise for Fake ID "Giles ups the ante of YA witness-protection tales with a chilling foray into a much broader conspiracy, teasing readers with plausible suspects and clever misdirections that play off the tropes of running-from-the-mob stories." -- BCCB
"Fast action, judicious plot twists, and sufficiently evil teens and adults should keep thrill-seeking readers awake long into the night."
"Conspiracy theorists and thriller fans alike will be guessing right up to the end of this exciting debut."
*An ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers*
*Edgar Award Finalist*
Praise for Endangered
"Frequent plot twists and short, fast-moving sentences keep tension high. Suspenseful and often wise."
"Giles writes a fast-paced, gripping suspense novel with an engaging whodunit mystery."
"Giles crafts an unpredictable psychological thriller filled with murky choices and colorful characters."
– Publishers Weekly
"This title delivers another skillfully devised plot, supported by a fully fleshed cast whose identities . . . complicate but do not solely define their characters."
*2016 Edgar Award Finalist*
Gr 7 Up—Nikki is her father's daughter. Just like her dad, Nathan "The Broker" Tate, she is focused, strong-willed, and one of the very best poker players in Las Vegas, a city filled with pros. But when Nathan, recently released from death row for a murder he says he didn't commit, is murdered himself, Nikki has to summon all of her inner resources to find out what really happened to her dad. Why was he so obsessed with the new grand casino in town? What is his connection with its infamous owner, "Big" Bert Carlino? And what really happened the night that landed her father in jail? Learning the answers might be a gamble that could cost Nikki her life. The latest book from Edgar Award finalist Giles is just as fast-paced and suspenseful as his previous titles. All of the characters in the diverse cast are well defined and authentic. Those characterizations, and the believable ways in which Nikki interacts with everyone around her, are the novel's greatest strengths. The mystery never feels forced and seems to flow naturally, gaining momentum as Nikki peels away each layer until everything is ultimately revealed. One slight quibble: some of the poker descriptions don't seem accurate, but these would likely be caught only by someone with poker experience and won't derail the story. VERDICT A fast-paced, compelling mystery and memorable characters and relationships make this selection a first choice for most YA collections.—Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX
A fast-paced mystery uncovers a truth hidden by the bright lights of Las Vegas.To bankroll her future escape from Las Vegas, Nikki plays illegal poker games, using her natural skill and training from her father, Nathan "The Broker" Tate. Those skills also help her run the family's failing casino, which languishes because her father is on death row for murdering his business associate. After five years, though, her father's conviction—like so many other black men, he's found to be wrongfully convicted—is overturned and he returns home. Nathan is determined to reveal who framed him, only to quickly end up dead. So Nikki takes up her father's quest and tries to untangle the mystery. Even her blossoming relationship with Davis Carlino—son of local magnate Bertram "Big Bert" Carlino—won't get in the way of finding the truth. Then Nikki discovers how Big Bert and her father are connected…and that Davis could be part of it, too. Is Nikki about to become another Vegas cautionary tale? Nikki is a totally appealing character: gutsy, practical, and strong, at the head of a cast of well-drawn supporting characters. The interracial romance between Nikki and Davis, who is white, is handled deftly, as is Giles' skillful evocation of the townies-vs.-tourists nature of Las Vegas. An utterly compelling whodunit. (Mystery. 14-18)