Book Review: River Card

22583680Title: River Card

Author: Joan Destino

Genre:  Psychological Thriller

Age Group: Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

“Who was she trying to fool? Herself? A little late for that. She had to win; her survival depended on it.”
Do you have what it takes to lose it all? Find out in Joan Destino’s stunning debut novel, “River Card.”
Georgia Kassov Cates is a business woman, a wife, a mother…and a gambling addict. Desperate to recoup a devastating string of losses, she risks it all for one last game- a game that’s abruptly halted when the Las Vegas casino succumbs to a freak blackout.
Georgia meets some fellow patrons of the Las Vegas casino, including the wealthy Melanie Nallis, a woman haunted by her horrific childhood;  Zivah Koski, an enigmatic elderly holocaust survivor; Phillip Vance, a billionaire casino developer; and Milt Braverman, a professional poker player.
As they get to know each other, a connection is slowly revealed: postwar Germany, a time and place that is reflected in” River Card’s novel-within-a-novel, “Alexandra.”
Alternating between the opulence and depravity of 1940s Germany, and the glamor and baseness of 1990s Las Vegas, “River Card” reflects Georgia’s mounting fears-both past and present-as she plays one last hand…

River Card is a combination of two different stories. On the one hand, we have the story of Georgia Kassov Cates, who is a businesswoman, wife, mother, and also a gambler. She’s gone through a string of losses revolved to gambling and vows to play one more game, and risk everything for it. She heads to the Las Vegas casino to play her final game, when all the lights fall out during a mysterious blackout. She meets the other people present in the casino, each of them with an intriguing back story, like Melanie Nallis, a wealthy woman who is haunted by a terrible childhood, and like Zivah Koski, an elderly holocaust survivor.

As they connect with each other and get to know one another, a connection is revealed to postwar Germany. That’s when the other story happens, in a novel-within-a-novel (think Canterbury Tales), named “Alexandra”. Surprisingly, this was my favorite part of the book. The writing worked great here, and the voice seemed suitable for the era.

The book focuses on a lot of different themes and does so masterfully. I enjoyed getting to know Georgia, a complex, but intriguing character, and the world around her.

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