Killer Nashville Book of the Day


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Debra H. Goldstein

Should Have Played Poker by Debra H. Goldstein
Reviewed by Sharon Marchisello

At the outset of Debra H. Goldstein’s Should Have Played Poker (Five Star Publishing), Charlotte Martin walks back into her daughter Carrie’s life after a 26-year absence, but before Carrie can get any real answers about why her mother left her, Charlotte is murdered. The scene of the crime is the Sunshine Village retirement home where Carrie’s father, a former preacher in the early stages of dementia, now resides.

Detective Brian McPhillip, Carrie’s former boyfriend, is assigned to investigate, and sparks still smolder. To further complicate things, a little jealousy enters the picture when Michael Shapiro, a widowed lawyer whose mother also resides at the Sunshine Village retirement home, gets involved. Although Brian is more helpful than his law enforcement colleagues, Carrie, who was trained as a police officer before leaving the academy for a career in corporate law, believes he is moving too slowly on the case. She enlists the aid of Michael’s mother’s group of Mah Jongg players as amateur sleuths. But when their efforts uncover secrets buried in the past, Carrie and the others find themselves in grave danger.

Should Have Played Poker has a fast-paced plot with short chapters, enjoyable characters, and an abundance of red herrings. It touches on issues of aging, family ties, corporate responsibility, and religious tolerance, and culminates in a surprise ending that makes Carrie question most everything she has ever believed in.

Author Debra H. Goldstein is a former litigator and administrative law judge who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband. A member of Sisters in Crime and author of the award-winning debut novel, Maze in Blue, she has spoken on Killer Nashville panels for the past three years in a row. Should Have Played Poker is the first in a new cozy series featuring Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg players, and it promises to be a winner.

Sharon Marchisello is the author of Going Home, a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. She has a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, with her husband and cat, and does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society.

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