3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Fold (Paperback)
Tom Campbell's debut novel covers a year in the life of five friends, told through the events of their monthly poker night, although friends may be too strong a word for this collection of people who don't seem to have a lot in common apart from their card habit. There's a ruthless side to the matches, and these people don't have any qualms about seizing any advantage they can in order to win. It's friendship as competition, but definitely not friendly competition. Campbell understands that competitive emotion, the one where it's not enough to win, but someone else has to lose.
You don't need to know the ins and outs of poker - I certainly don't - but it's a great way of getting inside the characters' heads, and it's a neat trick to have the way they play reveal their personalities. The main narrative concerns Nick's attempts to get one over on the more successful Doug, and this can be seen as a twelve month long hand of poker - he assembles his hand, raises the stakes and finally - but no, that'd be telling....
This is a very enjoyable first novel, and one that really taps into what it's like to be forty and realizing that life hasn't quite turned out the way you thought it would. I can empathise with that. And I bet you can as well.