Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday book gift guide

January Magazine's editor Linda L. Richards has organized a series of posts with suggestions for book gift giving. She writes:
Even though selecting a gift book can’t help but be subjective, we’ve combed through the stacks and chosen the books we’d most like to get -- and give -- in art & culture, children’s books, cookbooks, crime fiction, fiction and non-fiction (forthcoming).
One selection from among Rap Sheet editor J. Kingston Pierce's crime fiction suggestions:
Dead Man’s Hand: Crime Fiction at the Poker Table edited by Otto Penzler (Harcourt Books) 400 pages

Having already commissioned original short stories for anthologies with sports themes (basketball, boxing, baseball, tennis, horse racing, etc.), Penzler is finally tapping into the enthusiasm for what seems to be America’s latest favorite spectator-friendly endeavor: poker. Taking its name from the aces-and-eights card hand that Wild Bill Hickok was reportedly holding when he was shot to death in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, this compilation bears all the excitement and inconsistency associated with Lady Luck. It’s nice to see talented stalwarts such as Peter Robinson, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Jeffery Deaver, and Michael Connelly pitching their prose into Penzler’s pot. And gambling’s longstanding nefarious edge makes it an ideal subject around which to build a crime-fiction short-story collection. I only wish that the poker theme had been played as expertly by all of the contributors, as it is by some. Still, for fans of cards and crime, Dead Man’s Hand is a good bet.
Of course, although it is not mentioned among the many suggestions, there is also Linda L. Richards' Death Was the Other Woman. It's due out just after Christmas.

--Marshal Zeringue