The Ballad Of A Small Player-Lawrence Osborne

The Ballad Of A Small Player
Lawrence Osborne
Crown/Hogarth, Apr 1 2014, $25.00
ISBN 9780804137973

At one time a two-bit English lawyer, Doyle obsessively enjoys the near instant win or lose adrenaline rush of playing baccarat at the Macau casinos where one card could mean making a fortune or going broke. A scoundrel, Doyle obtained his original stake to play in the high cost game of chance by embezzling money from a trusting older client back home.

Doyle mostly was losing until recently when his luck changed as he began consistently drawing a “natural nine”. His success brings him celebrity status as compatriots begin calling him “Lord Doyle”. Ignoring the objection of call girl Dao-Ming who cares deeply about him while concerned with his gambling compulsion, Lord Doyle bets his recent winnings on one last draw at the baccarat table.

The Ballad of A Small Player is a fascinating look at gambling addiction played out in an intriguing Chinese environs. Character driven by Doyle and his gambling addicted peers like irate Grandma, this powerful look at obsession will remind readers of movies like The Man with the Golden Arm, The Lost Weekend and Owning Mahowny as the need to bet overwhelms personal ethics and common sense. With a shocking finish, Lawrence Osborne provides fans with a strong morality tale.

Harriet Klausner

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