From: Curt Purcell ( curtpurcell@hotmail.com)
Date: 25 Dec 2007

LUCKY WITH CARDS by Lawrence Block (Hard Case Crime 2007)

Here we have a reprint of the Beacon sleaze paperback originally published as Sex Shuffle under the pseudonym of Sheldon Lord. It's Hard Case's third Lawrence Block novel, and I was concerned at first to find it starting out pretty much exactly like the prior two, with a grifter falling for a woman who wants to ditch her rich man but keep his money. It's funny--in each of these three stories, the grifter debates how best to part the rich guy from his money and put him out of the way, and each time he arrives at a solution he rejects in the other two. The approach he takes this time is the most preposterous of the three, but it's still more fun to read than the tedious "long con" in Girl with the Long Green Heart.

The good news is that this quickly proves different enough from Grifter's Game and Long Green Heart to seem fresh, fun, and worth the read. The card angle actually does surprisingly little to distinguish it; what sets this one furthest apart is a second love interest who gives the grifter quite a different perspective on everything.

I'd add that, despite the details of the original publication, this didn't strike me as a single whit sleazier than either Game or Heart.
 There was no special reason I could see why it couldn't have been published by, say, Gold Medal, under Block's own name.



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