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Winner about a loser
on 7 August 2014
IF you’ve ever gambled or fought the demon booze and lost heroically, Lawrence Osborne’s latest will leave you breathless with recognition. This story of ‘Lord Doyle’, an on-the-run fraudster who’s blowing his stolen stash in the casinos of Macau, will strike a terrifying chord with some readers, and sweep the rest along with style and power.
Doyle’s self-destruction, and salvation at the hands of a Chinese hooker, has you itching for a happy ending, but feelings of dread and despair are sowed early.
Osborne’s descriptions of Macau and it’s lurid gambling joints, packed with smoke, fallen gwai lo and self-made tycoons, and the fading glory of its imperial past, make you want to jump on the next plane out with your life savings in a suitcase…especially if you enjoy a flutter. If you’ve never been there you’ll feel like you’ve lived in the old Portuguese colony all your life.
But what a tale! The Ballad of a Small Player will screw up your guts with anxiety for Doyle, fill you with hope then kick you hard in the nethers all in one well-weighted read. And in the end it will spook you, too.
No need to gamble, it’s an absolute winner of a book.