Friday, January 14, 2011

Game of Chance (Diamondback #4) by Frank Roderus writing as Guy Brewer (adult series Western)

On the run from a rich Texan whose father he killed, Dexter Yancey and his best friend James are on their way to the Indian Nations. Dex is a gambler and con man. James is a former slave.

The duo are so inseparable that they even got the same education, and they both have surprises in their future — James because he's treated like nothing less than a human being, Dex because he's mistaken for a hit man. But the $3,000 fee from the fat man is too appealing to pass up.

Dex will, of course, do what he can to avoid having to actually earn that fee (and still keep it), especially when he meets the beautiful intended victim, widow Wilhelmina Stout.

Game of Chance is longer than the usual adult-series Western at 200 pages, plus it has the writing of author Frank Roderus (Charlie and the Sir) to recommend it. (Roderus wrote the entire short-lived Diamondback series under the house name Guy Brewer.)

The repartee between Dex and James sometimes feels forced, but they have genuine brotherly affection for one another. The main draw for this entry in the series, however, is that it offers up a surprising revelation about the main characters from an unexpected source.

Roderus seems to be striving for a level of character involvement here, and actually using the series format for long-term story development, something I had heretofore not seen in this genre. That, along with the talents of its author, is enough for me to recommend Game of Chance.

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