Edited by Robert J. Randisi
Piccadilly Publishing, November 2013
Livin’ on Jacks and Queens is an anthology of fourteen short stories all revolving around gambling put together by Robert Randisi. None of these stories have been published before and a couple of them feature characters that have appeared elsewhere, such as Scott Parker’s tale and Robert Randisi’s that sees the return of Talbot Roper.
Most of the stories use cards as the method of gambling but a couple offer other ways of winning or losing, such as Chuck Tyrell’s boat race, Randisi’s throwing horseshoes, and Christine Matthews’ betting on how lawmen will leave their jobs.
The authors are a mix of old-hands and those who are newer to the western genre and that’s where, for me, the strength of such anthologies come into their own, as they give the reader a chance to try out writers who are new to them and will, I’m sure, discover some they will be keen to explore further work from.
Of course I have my favourites among this collection, but can honestly say I enjoyed each of them. There’s stories that follow traditional western themes, one that borders on being a horror tale, and one that’ll have you thinking is this possible?
At a price of less than £2.00 and just over $3.00 how can you not afford to give this terrific collection of gambling stories a chance?
Jacks or Better by Johnny Boggs
A Cold Deck by Phil Dunlap
The Reckoning by Randy Lee Eickhoff
It Takes a Gambler by Jerry Guin
Odds on a Lawman by Christine Matthews
Pay the Ferryman by Matthew P. Mayo
White Face, Red Blood by Rod Miller
Hazard by Nik Morton
Acey Deucy by John Nesbitt
The Mark of an Imposter: An Evelyn Page/Calvin Carter Adventure by Scott Parker
Horseshoe and Pistols by Robert J. Randisi
Too Many Aces by Charlie Steel
Missouri Boat Race by Chuck Tyrell
The Legend of ‘Blind Ned’ Baldwin by Lori Van Pelt