The Prop

The Prop

by Pete Hautman


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National Book Award winner Pete Hautman delivers a fast-paced mystery set in the torrid, unforgiving Southwestern desert, where the stakes are sky high and all bets are off.

Peeky Kane is a prop player at an Arizona casino owned by the Santa Cruz tribe. Her job is to play poker. She makes a handsome living off the suckers who populate the card room. Life is sweet.

But something's not right at Casino Santa Cruz. When Peeky inadvertently finds herself in a fixed game and comes away a couple thousand dollars richer, she finds herself drawn unwittingly toward the dark side of professional poker. Peeky has always thought of herself as a straight shooter, but now things aren't so clear. And they're about to get a lot murkier.

When a band of clown-masked robbers makes off with millions of the casino's dollars and leaves behind four corpses, Peeky recognizes one of the robbers as a casino employee, and fears that one of her closest loved ones might also be involved. That same day, Peeky's son-in-law turns up to tell her that Jaymie, her beloved daughter, has been stealing money from Peeky for years to feed a crack habit.

Numb from these revelations, Peeky is compelled to action by an unlikely source when the most powerful member of the Santa Cruz tribe calls upon her to help him save his troubled casino. Peeky must draw on her years of reading poker faces and playing the odds to save the casino, her daughter, and herself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743284653
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/28/2006
Edition description: Original
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Pete Hautman is the author of National Book Award–winning novel Godless, Sweetblood, Hole in the Sky, Stone Cold, The Flinkwater Factor, The Forgetting Machine, and Mr. Was, which was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America, as well as several adult novels. He lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at

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The Prop 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Clarencex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. But then, I'm a sucker for gambling stories. I like it so much that I checked out several more books. I couldn't read any of them - hokey, corny and contrived. He's a one hit wonder for me.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Arizona, fortyish widow Peeky Kane works as one of three props at the Casino Santa Cruz owned by a Native American tribe. As a prop, Peeky fills in at poker tables where there are not enough players. She is paid for an eight hour shift, but wins or losses at the tables are personal income. Because she is a good money manager especially at the tables, Peeky has saved some but also finds much of her profit goes towards her troubled twenty-one year old daughter Jaymie. --- However, Peeky¿s life takes a nasty turn when crooked dealers at the casino begin stealing money and she unwittingly becomes involved in the scheme. Things spin even further out of control when clowns rob the casino of millions and leave four dead Peeky thinks her boyfriend Buddy may be one of the jokers who robbed and killed. While she finds herself drafted by Hector Vega, ¿founder¿ of the Santa Cruz tribe, to help him save the casino and subsequently the tribe, Peeky also wonders how to save crack addicted Jaymie. --- THE PROP is an exciting amateur sleuth whodunit starring a fabulous heroine whose life goes from calm to chaos in seemingly a nanosecond. The story line is action-packed but the real fun besides a delightful investigation resides in the casino where bluffing had meant winning or losing a hand, but has new meaning with one¿s life at stake. Pete Hautman coolly antes up a strong thriller that pull an inside straight fun look at poker mania. --- Harriet Klausner