Author: David Baldacci
Series: Archer #2
Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Apr. 20, 2021
Source: Grand Central Publishing
Book Rating: 8.5/10
Aloysius Archer, the straight-talking World War II veteran fresh out of prison, returns in this riveting new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci.
The 1950s are on the horizon, and Archer is in dire need of a fresh start after a nearly fatal detour in Poca City. So Archer hops on a bus and begins the long journey out west to California, where rumor has it there is money to be made if you’re hard-working, lucky, criminal—or all three.
Along the way, Archer stops in Reno, where a stroke of fortune delivers him a wad of cash and an eye-popping blood-red 1939 Delahaye convertible—plus a companion for the final leg of the journey, an aspiring actress named Liberty Callahan who is planning to try her luck in Hollywood. But when the two arrive in Bay Town, California, Archer quickly discovers that the hordes of people who flocked there seeking fame and fortune landed in a false paradise that instead caters to their worst addictions and fears.
Archer’s first stop is a P.I. office where he is hoping to apprentice with a legendary private eye and former FBI agent named Willie Dash. He lands the job, and immediately finds himself in the thick of a potential scandal: a blackmail case involving a wealthy well-connected politician running for mayor that soon spins into something even more sinister. As bodies begin falling, Archer and Dash must infiltrate the world of brothels, gambling dens, drug operations, and long-hidden secrets, descending into the rotten bones of a corrupt town that is selling itself as the promised land—but might actually be the road to perdition, and Archer’s final resting place.
Twisty, colourful, and unpredictable!
A Gambling Man is a menacing, action-packed mystery that picks up right where One Good Deed left off, taking us back into the life of Aloysius Archer as he now makes his way to Bay Town, California, by way of Reno, NV, where he befriends the luscious Liberty Callahan, wins a nice bit of cash on the roulette wheel, and attracts the attention of a ruthless gang of thugs before arriving on the west coast and taking up the position of junior PI to the infamous Willie Dash and working on a blackmailing case involving a mayoral candidate with extremely influential in-laws.
The prose is sharp and brisk. The characters are multilayered, flawed, and principled. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel seamlessly into a mysterious tale of mischief, mayhem, corruption, coercion, politics, suspicious motivations, criminal behaviour, dangerous endeavours, red herrings, deduction, lies, and murder.
Overall, A Gambling Man is an ominous, sophisticated, entertaining addition to the Archer series by Baldacci that I am confident will more than satisfy fans of 1950s noir with its action, adventure, violence, and straight-up detective work.
This book is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.