This week for Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott, I have selected a book released in 2002. Dice Angel is far more than a simple story off one man’s bad luck in Vegas. A good book worth your time.....
Finding a new author that is worth reading is a treat. No matter how good the storyline or plot setup is, if the characters don't come alive for the reader, then the book won't be that good. In this case, everything works across the board, which creates a very enjoyable debut novel by Brian Rouff.
As Dice Angel opens, Jimmy Delaney is on a rather bad roll of luck in life. Not only is his ex-wife Joy (who isn't) giving him a hard time, but burglars have broken into his supper club named Jimmy D's. The club is a legacy from his father who started it from nothing and lately it seems to be a target for every burglar in Las Vegas. This time they got the cash from the video poker machines, which adds up to quite a sum. But that loss seems rather small when he discovers that the IRS wants $50,000 for back taxes and penalties within days and his checks are bouncing all over town.
It appears that his ex brother in law who was his accountant and supposed to be handling all sorts of things, instead embezzled every last cent and took off, leaving behind his marriage and his very ill daughter. Jimmy turns to the usual sources as his world slowly collapses seeking funds to pay off the IRS and keep the club open. The quest for help goes nowhere and as he hits rock bottom, he has nowhere else to turn except to the mysterious lady known as Dice Angel. Supposedly through the means of mystical powers she can bring lady luck back into Jimmy's life so that he can save himself and those he cares so much about.
Beyond the storyline that suffers greatly in my telling, is the fact that this novel is full of interesting characters that actually come alive for the reader. Within a few pages the author pulls the reader into the Vegas he knows so well and the pull is simply irresistible. It is also fascinating to watch Jimmy D crash and resurrect himself and evolve as a character over the course of this 222-page novel. This fast read is over way too soon and hopefully there will be another following Jimmy D., his club, and his somewhat eccentric customers and staff.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2003, 2011