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An Occupational Hazard [Paperback] James Wrethman An Occupational Hazard
by James Wrethman


Arh the 1970's, so often in the shadow of the 60's, yet so much better. An Occupational Hazard is set in the London casino world of the 1970s and proports to mix fact and fiction. Its up to the reader to determine for themselves the likely factual elements but its not unreasonable to assume that most of it is fact.

The story centres on the Ventura Casino beginning in 1974. The name seems a bit odd but, that aside, its there to draw the reader knowlingly into a world that really existed but without giving the name of the casino, or casinos, on which this is based.

This is an intriguing story that hinges on the fate of staff at the Ventura Casino, the corruption and the wide spread avoidance of the law that existed in the casino business in the 1970s. The main character experiences the extremes that naivety leads her into trouble and the story is resolved in the present with more unwinding of the tale. It paints a sordid picture where lasciviousness and money meet institutional deviance. Oh what a lovely place the casino world used to be.

The defining essence of the piece is its straightforwardness in that you feel empathy with the main characters and dislike for the obvious villains.

This work is from a first time author and the prose reads easily and the story line is well constructed. Its a bit too long and James Wrethman has shyed away from comparison with the boring casinos we have today where few things of note happen. However, it is an enjoyable read and if you spend much time in casinos this will give you some indication of a different life in very recent history.


Paperback - 418 pages (25 April 2009)   £11.99    $21.32 
Bet Your Rocks Off by Peter Burden
A fast moving thriller set in an upper crust world of aristocrats and the seriously rich – all of whom are on friendly terms with racing’s ruling elite – The Jockey Club. Throw in the trainer – American born Annie, Countess of Tenbury – a beautiful woman trying to make it in an unashamedly man’s world — and Madame Al Hassan’s rapidly failing health, and it becomes a battle of resolve to see the horse first past the post. Not only is Bet Your Rocks Off a great, humorous read, it lifts the lid in an enthralling way on how betting coups work – some barely legal and some outright criminal.
Paperback - 473 pages (3 Feb 2006)
  £7.19
 

The Cold Six Thousand by James Ellroy
It is the day of Jack Kennedy's assassination--Las Vegas cop Wayne Tedrow Jr arrives in Dallas with instructions to arrest a pimp and make sure he does not survive the arrest. By the time James Ellroy's monumental thriller The Cold Six Thousand reaches its climax, Wayne has taken his own private journey into the heart of American corruption, into a cold hell of betrayal, prejudice and paranoia. Make sure you have access to a comfortable chair and a pot of strong coffee, as this will grip you long into at least one night.
Paperback - 669 pages Reissue (2 May, 2002)
  £6.39
  $11.64

It's My Party by Cindy Blake
Everyone plays their cards close to their chests in It's My Party, a hard and fast look at the equally competitive worlds of business, gambling and love. Cindy Blake's heroine Isabel is a successful business woman by day and an indomitable poker player by night. But when it comes to love, she's afraid to lay her cards on the table; as is everyone in this riotous comedy of errors.
Paperback - 345 pages new edition (5 February, 2001)
expected price £4.79 Buy This Book



The Crust on Its Uppers by Derek Raymond  
Derek Raymond is an overlooked genius, perhaps because most of his books dwell on the seamy side of life and were probably too "not nice" for the reading tastes of the sixties and seventies.
This book is much finer than most things you will pick off the shelf of a bookstore today. The central characters are public school boys ("morries") who feel the world owes them a living because their background makes them superior to those around them. In fact, they are nasty, shallow characters who progress from bent gambling, through fraud to international crime. Their arrogance and misplaced snobbery make them even more unlikeable, which is exactly Raymond's style.

Paperback - 189 pages new edition (12 October, 2000)  expected price £5.59 Buy This Book

nine mil by Rob Ryan 
Nine Mil is Winie the Pooh meets Taxi Driver! Through the depressed streets of Atlantic City, cabbie Ed Behr searches f or Honey, his long lost girlfriend. A chance encounter with Billy Moon, an old friend, gives him an idea. Billy is rich. And maybe Ed would have a better chan ce of finding Honey with a million bucks to his name. What Ed doesn't know is a nyone with a computer can find Honey for themselves...
There's this bag of money, a washed-up lovesick cabbie, a photo-obsessed hitman, a raunchy internet porn site, scuzzy Atlantic City, some weird incred survivalists and...


Paperback - 437 pages (5 October, 2000) expected price £5.59 Buy This Book

Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark 
Celebrated psychiatrist Dr Hildegard Wolf is approached in her Paris consulting rooms by two men, both claiming to be the Lord Lucan who vanished 25 years after the vicious murder of his children's nanny. Can she discover their true identities before her own dark secret is revealed?
Characters, settings, plot are delineated with an incredible concentration: nothing is superfluous and everthing adds to the overall effect. This is a novel that resonates in the mind. Beautiful prose too. I cannot understand why reviewers have found it difficult to follow the plot or to distinguish which of the two Lucans is being discussed at any time. For those that read carefully it is perfectly clear. The moral issues raised however are not. This latest book is an instant classic. Read it now but don't worry if you don't: it will be in print for the indefinite future.

Hardcover - 192 pages (31 August, 2000) expected price £10.39 Buy This Book


The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart
Very popular book. Readers have given this
Entertaining, humorous, scary, shocking, subversive, The Dice Man is one of the cult best-sellers of our time. Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart - and in some ways changes the world as well. Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen. Beware, once you've read this book you may never think about life in the same way again.
Paperback - 500 pages Reissue (15 Dec 1999)
  £5.19
  $11.53
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson 
From the moment you start reading this book, you know you're in for one hell of a ride. Thompson documents his debauched exploits in typical manic fashion expressing the characters and settings, however eloquently, according to his warped drug addled perceptions. From start to finish the reader shares in Thompson's unparalleled journey through the American psyche and as a result, one can not help but laugh hysterically at what transpires. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants something a little different, yet at the same time, funny, original and completely unputtdownable. Top stuff.

Paperback - 224 pages (15 June, 1998) Johnny Depp cover expected price £5.59  Buy This Book
Paperback - 224 pages (October 1972) Original cover         expected price £5.59  Buy This Book
All In by Mitchell Symons
Stephen is a compulsive gambler, and there's nothing he will not tackle. His reluctance to stop is not just costing him money: he is finding that it is becoming more and more difficult to lie to his wife about his debts. Taking stock Steve decides to place the ultimate bet. Steve's luck has always been widely erratic, but now that he has made an irrevocable choice, he is plunged into a sinister and terrifying world. All of this is chronicled by Symons in prose that is raw and rough-edged (yet often very funny), with the atmospheric milieu that Steve staggers through rendered with a reporter's sharp eye, and the characters that Steve encounters have none of the eccentric charm of Damon Runyon's gamblers: the stakes here are often deadly. The real achievement of the novel, though, is the brilliantly created diary format in which Symons couches his narrative, with the dialogue always having a caustic and mordant edge.

Paperback - 320 pages ( 4 May, 2000) expected price £5.59 Buy This Book

Twelve Grand by Jonathan Rendall
You probably have to be a gambler to really enjoy reading this. The book is all about indulgence, mainly on the betting front, although sex, booze and drugs are also high up on the inebriated agenda. The other caveats (do you need any more?) are that swearing and blasphemy feature regularly. But the most frustrating aspect of the book is that the author sometimes uses abbreviations for common words. It is not always obvious what he means, although you get the general gist. The main character is clearly in a state of (alcoholic) decline as he relates what he does with the £12,000 given him by a publishing company (coincidentally, Yellow Free Press, the book's publishers) to fritter away on gambling. He ends up waging a "silent war" against a lot of things in his life, some of them imaginary; a state of mind induced by his almost-perpetual intoxicated condition? Despite its obvious faults, it is a clever and sometimes humorous book that gets you thinking. It neatly alternates between the past and present, until the twain inevitably meet, and it is an interesting read on the whole, as long as you do not mind the bad language, etc. You (eventually) end up feeling sorry for the writer and applaud his raw honesty, although you sometimes feel intoxicated yourself reading the book, particularly the fuzzy ending.
Paperback - 224 pages (26 October, 2000)  expected price £5.60  Buy This Book
Double or Nothing by Dennis Foon
Though fatherless, high-school senior Kip has been well provided for by his dedicated mother and loyal uncle. Thanks to his mother's hard work and Kip's job in a posh restaurant, procured through his uncle, there's enough money to cover his college expenses. Unfortunately, Kip has a penchant for gambling that takes a devastating turn when his new girlfriend's father, a renowned magician known as King, turns out to be a high-stakes con artist with an eye on Kip's savings. This is grittier and every bit as compelling as Pete Hautman's similarly-themed Stone Cold (1998). Foon uses a wry, first-person perspective to make Kip a compelling character, and gives readers a fast-moving plot with plenty of crisp, authentic dialogue. Like one of King's clever disappearing acts, Kip's downfall creeps up on readers with deceptive ease; only after the smoke dissipates will they realize the blatant signs of addiction.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback - 144 pages (October 2000)  expected price £4.38   Buy This Book
Hardcover - 144 pages (February 2000) expected price £12.57   Buy This Book
Pisces Rising by Martha C. Lawrence
Elizabeth Chase is a psychic detective whose hunches and visions have helped the authorities solve a number of baffling crimes. But by the time of her fourth outing in Lawrence's increasingly popular series, Chase is a reluctant sleuth. Her lover has been killed in a showdown between cult leaders and the FBI, and she no longer trusts her own extrasensory gifts. But when an old friend asks for help in solving the murder and scalping of a casino owner at Mystic Mesa on the Temecu Indian reservation in the California desert, Elizabeth is persuaded to get involved. She soon finds herself drawn to a charismatic--and strangely familiar--Native American shaman whose strange gifts awaken and energize her own. Lawrence spins a taut, dramatic tale, aided by a sympathetic and likable protagonist; it doesn't take tea leaves or crystal balls to predict that this psychic detective will turn up again.
Hardcover - 240 pages (March 2000) expected price £14.93  Buy This Book
The Gambling Man by Catherine Cookson

No review as yet

Paperback - 320 pages new edition (2 March, 1995)
expected price £3.99   Buy This Book



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