This read of four interlocking short stories draws one into what are to most people fairly unfamiliar lives, yet reflects on life truths that affect us all. I have never played cards for big money, or betted more than a few coins in what we accurately used to call 'one-arm-bandits', but the story made me feel as though I had. Equally, I've never given up my freedom to drugs, but felt the sickening 'necessity' of the next fix for a few minutes. My favourite story was about the gambler's mother, trying to understand by learning poker for herself. We get a feel for how each character rubs against the others through different first person points of view.

The stories pass all too fast. This is interesting fiction observing human behaviours from inside fictional characters. I would gamble that the character Elliot has a real thread of Jeff Maehre in him, but then, as I say, I don't put money on it.

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