Someone’s making a killing at a major poker tournament—one dead player at a time—in this Canadian mystery featuring a young female undercover cop.
Every year, the Canadian Classic Poker Tour attracts tv cameras, scores of fans, and some of the most exciting players from the world of professional gambling. This year it has also attracted a serial killer. Players have been turning up strangled in their hotel rooms, and the Poker Choker’s latest victim was an undercover cop sent in to catch the killer. But nothing stops the Poker Classic from playing on—no matter who folds.
Now young Toronto cop Clare Vengel is the Royal Candaian Mounted Police’s last hope for bringing the killer to justice. Going undercover as a trust-fund princess who thinks gambling is a better idea than college, her flashy new wardrobe helps her infiltrate the elite circle of professional liars. But with her handlers doubting her every move and more victims losing their lives, Clare will have to go all in against a killer who doesn’t bluff.
In the prologue of Canadian author Spano's muddled, unsuspenseful second Clare Vengel novel (after 2010's Dead Politician's Society), the "Poker Choker" strangles Willard Oppal, a professional poker player, in his hotel room at a tournament in Montreal. When Clare goes undercover as Tiffany James, a wealthy amateur player trying to make it on the tournament circuit, in an effort "to find a killer in a haystack," she encounters a host of poker players, from wily veteran T-Bone Jones to photogenic Elizabeth Ng, many of whom appear to be modeled on real-life pros. A poker writer, George, is secretly working on a book about the serial killer stalking poker players, and a high-tech cheating scam is going on, but the author fails to develop a palpable sense of drama or danger. Those not expecting the great poker mystery will be most satisfied.