St. Martin's, Nov, 2002, 23.95, 272 pp.
Casino employee Johnnie Koscko leaves Vegas with enough of a stake to return home to Biloxi, Mississippi to buy the Jackpot Bay Casino. Johnnie envisions the area becoming part of the European high roller jet set. In fact his first plane load of the Monte Carlo crowd is coming to Biloxi in a few days to gamble at Johnnie's casino and to listen to the rock sound of the very popular Snow Mountain.
However, as usual for Johnny just when he seems paused for success he rolls craps. The casino insurance carrier is concerned over missing revenue. They send private investigator Jack Delmas to force Johnny to hire security auditor Tara Stocklin. Even with Jack and Tara involved, Johnny seems to be holding the “Deadman's Hand” as murder and robbery follow.
Readers who try a Jack Delmas novel will believe they hit the jackpot, as he is a strong character who consistently provides the audience with a quiet intelligent outlook as he tries to do the right thing though not always successful. However, the rest of the key cast members such as Johnny and Tara, etc. come across as worthless sharks with nothing much to redeem them so that they appear more a caricatures than people. Still the exciting story line of JACKPOT BAY is an engaging look behind the scene at the Gulf Coast gambling spots. For those who don't know Jack, he is worth the time to read about even in this novel, but especially in his previous appearances like MASSACRE ISLAND.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner