I thoroughly enjoyed Dice Angel. I came across this book from a usenet posting in rec.gambling.craps from the author, Brian Rouff, who was giving away free copies of his book. Rouff is a Vegas local and Dice Angel is his first book. My immediate reaction was to dismiss it until I started reading some of the replies from people who had actually read the book. Then I checked it out on Amazon, where it maintains a solid 5 star rating with over 60 reviews. I decided to give it a try myself and I’m glad I did.
Dice Angel is the story of a down on his luck Vegas bar owner named Jimmy Delaney who is getting it from all sides from his ex-wife, thieves, crooked business partners and the IRS. Faced with the daunting task of coming up with $50,000 in back taxes Jimmy seeks the council of a mysterious woman named Amaris – otherwise known as the Dice Angel.
Amaris claims to be able to channel positive energy and bring luck to those who employ her – luck that if focused on a few good runs at the craps tables in Vegas could make quick work of his large debt and put him back in the good graces of the IRS.
Most of the book is spent getting to know Jimmy and his predicament, with the final third dedicated to his attempt at finding that lucky streak he doesn’t think he has in him.
The dialog was entertaining with a sort of new Damon Runyon-like quality, and the author’s knowledge of Las Vegas added a nice local color. The description of the craps sequences was very good, and the only thing that keeps me from giving the book a perfect 5 is that I didn’t think there was enough craps in it – at the end of the story I didn’t quite feel as satisfied as I could have had there been more gambling. Now I completely admit I am not partial in this respect and that my enjoyment of craps may be impairing my judgment here, I think this book will appeal to a wide audience and it’s perfectly reasonable to believe the author made a conscious decision to limit the amount of craps in it for that very reason.
Dice Angel is one hell of a fun read that should appeal to everyone whether you go to Vegas to roll the bones a couple of times each year like I do, or you simply enjoy fast moving quick hitting stories.