Like the small west Texas town that is never named, the man with no name is not what he appears to be on the surface. He drives a beautiful car and appears in town with a beautiful woman named Della. It isn’t the first time he has been in town as he was here before in 1942. This time he is back to seek some revenge and no one remembers him or suspects that he is anything other than what he appears to be—a flamboyant gambler.
Revenge for what isn’t clear nor is his plan. His plan does involve a weekly high stakes card game that has been going on for decades at the Weilbach Hotel. It also isn’t really clear which of several players is his target. It also isn’t clear on how Della’s interest in a recent oil strike is going to help or for that matter hurt his plan. Like his cards, he keeps his plans close to the vest and adjusts for changes. He does have a plan, he is flexible and he just needs a little help from friends like Chicken Little and Icepick Willie.
What follows in this novel by Tyler, Texas resident Milton T. Burton is an intriguing and deeply twisted tale of a great con. The author opens a portal back into a different time and pulls the reader deeply into a Texas of the recent past. Told through first person point of view he spins a rich and complex weave that pulls the reader deep into his world where only slowly does the shape and scope of the plan come tantalizingly clear like the mirage on a West Texas highway during the heat of the summer before disappearing again. Heavily atmospheric both in place and in style of writing, this is the kind of novel that starts slowly, moves slowly and pulls the reader in so deep that when one looks up from the book there is that splendid moment of disorientation between the past that might have been and the present.
The Rogues’ Game
By Milton T. Burton
Thomas Dunne Books
ISBN # 0-312-33681-0
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Thanks for reading!
Kevin R. Tipple © 2005