The House Always Wins

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
181 Pages
Reviewed on 10/28/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

If you enjoy murder mystery laced with humor, a boatload of colorful characters, and a plot that stops evolving only on the last few pages, you’ll like The House Always Wins by Tom Minder. This is a fun read that might not appeal to the more serious fans of murder mystery, but Tom Minder’s gift as a writer is in creating vivid, movie-like scenes, where quick, natural dialogue combines with rapid action and details so graphic that on occasion it’s almost repulsive. But it’s realistic, depicting what more polite authors can’t bring themselves to write. This is most noticeable when Minder describes cops, robbers, and killers eating food.

Most of the story is set, if you haven’t yet guessed from the title, in a gambling casino where money and greed take precedence over having a good time. So bring on the crooks who are planning a massive heist. These crooks have a clever plan in place, but as there is no honor amongst thieves, the inevitable has to happen i.e. each thief has his or her own plan. Readers will be caught up in how hairy Herbie and hairy Shirley (literally!) are played by that cross bow-wielding lady florist, “The Red Dahlia”. Honestly, the action, fun and twists never stop.

Now prepare yourself for tons of bed hopping and partner swapping in The House Always Wins but it’s not graphic compared to the eating scenes. What is particularly effective is how Minder captures the casino patrons, their conversations with the levers they keep pulling in hopes of big win, and the little old ladies with their lucky trolls mounted on their slot machines. Even Trump scores as a lucky troll! But for all the fun, Minder makes a few astute observations on these patrons like this one: “People and their addictions. Rushing to bring their money to a heartless, soulless gambling den, hoping to beat them at their own game. The house always wins, folks. Save your money.” Touche!