Paul Voploni leaves behind his usual topics of race and violence and poverty and sports and instead gives reluctant readers a fast paced novel about a young man seeking revenge through poker. Yes, Texas Hold 'Em. Huck's dad was the champion poker player in Caldwekk, California, until he died of a sudden stroke. The watch he wore with pride was the prize given to the winner of the local church's poker tournament. Huck's dad had won the tournament for three years running. As he is dying in the hospital, the new winner of the poker contest comes and removes the watch from the dying man' wrist. Huck is determined to face this man down. Unfortunately, Mr. Abbott is also Huck's high school math teacher, a really nasty piece of work reminiscent of Brother Leon in THE CHOCOLATE WAR.
This was a quick read and would make a nice addition to Eric Luper's THE BIG SLICK and Pete Hautman's STONE COLD as well. I wonder how Volponi's fans will greet this quite different book.