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Nikki Tate is infamous, even by Las Vegas standards. Her dad is sitting on death row, convicted of killing his best friend in a gambling dispute turned ugly. And for five years, he's maintained his innocence. But Nikki wants no part of that. She's been working on Operation Escape Vegas: playing in illegal card games so she can save up enough money to get out come graduation day. Then her dad's murder conviction is overturned. The new evidence seems to come out of nowhere and Nikki's life becomes a mess when he's released from prison. Because the dad who comes home is not the dad she remembers. And he's desperately obsessed with finding out who framed him—and why. As her dad digs into the seedy underbelly of Vegas, the past threatens everything and Nikki is drawn into his deadly hunt for the truth. But in the city of sin, some sinners will do anything to keep their secrets, and Nikki soon finds herself playing for the biggest gamble ever—her life.
Nikki Tate is infamous, even by Las Vegas standards. Her dad is sitting on death row, convicted of killing his best friend in a gambling dispute turned ugly. And for five years, he's maintained his innocence. But Nikki wants no part of that. She's been working on Operation Escape Vegas: playing in illegal card games so she can save up enough money to get out come graduation day. Then her dad's murder conviction is overturned. The new evidence seems to come out of nowhere and Nikki's life becomes a mess when he's released from prison. Because the dad who comes home is not the dad she remembers. And he's desperately obsessed with finding out who framed him—and why. As her dad digs into the seedy underbelly of Vegas, the past threatens everything and Nikki is drawn into his deadly hunt for the truth. But in the city of sin, some sinners will do anything to keep their secrets, and Nikki soon finds herself playing for the biggest gamble ever—her life.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 23, 2017
    Famed poker player Nathan “the Broker” Tate is back in Las Vegas and free from death row after fresh evidence overturns a wrongful murder conviction. When he winds up dead outside his casino, his 16-year-old daughter, Nikki, already responsible for running the business and carrying on his legacy at the card table, starts doing some detective work in order to bring his killer to justice. High-stakes gambling, low-level espionage, and more typical high school concerns intersect, though the talk of football rivalries and choosing colleges can sometimes feel out of place against the deadly serious backdrop. Giles (Endangered) excels at pulpy crime drama, including a romance with a wealthy casino heir, scattering a trail of clues and bluffs to keep readers guessing. Racial elements at play—the Tates are black while their rivals, the Carlinos, are white—hover in the background, adding another layer to Giles’s murder mystery. Nikki’s sharp observations and self-deprecating sense of humor lighten the overall mood of this dark and twisty thriller. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 1, 2017
    A fast-paced mystery uncovers a truth hidden by the bright lights of Las Vegas.To bankroll her future escape from Las Vegas, Nikki plays illegal poker games, using her natural skill and training from her father, Nathan "The Broker" Tate. Those skills also help her run the family's failing casino, which languishes because her father is on death row for murdering his business associate. After five years, though, her father's conviction--like so many other black men, he's found to be wrongfully convicted--is overturned and he returns home. Nathan is determined to reveal who framed him, only to quickly end up dead. So Nikki takes up her father's quest and tries to untangle the mystery. Even her blossoming relationship with Davis Carlino--son of local magnate Bertram "Big Bert" Carlino--won't get in the way of finding the truth. Then Nikki discovers how Big Bert and her father are connected...and that Davis could be part of it, too. Is Nikki about to become another Vegas cautionary tale? Nikki is a totally appealing character: gutsy, practical, and strong, at the head of a cast of well-drawn supporting characters. The interracial romance between Nikki and Davis, who is white, is handled deftly, as is Giles' skillful evocation of the townies-vs.-tourists nature of Las Vegas. An utterly compelling whodunit. (Mystery. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2017

    Gr 7 Up-Nikki is her father's daughter. Just like her dad, Nathan "The Broker" Tate, she is focused, strong-willed, and one of the very best poker players in Las Vegas, a city filled with pros. But when Nathan, recently released from death row for a murder he says he didn't commit, is murdered himself, Nikki has to summon all of her inner resources to find out what really happened to her dad. Why was he so obsessed with the new grand casino in town? What is his connection with its infamous owner, "Big" Bert Carlino? And what really happened the night that landed her father in jail? Learning the answers might be a gamble that could cost Nikki her life. The latest book from Edgar Award finalist Giles is just as fast-paced and suspenseful as his previous titles. All of the characters in the diverse cast are well defined and authentic. Those characterizations, and the believable ways in which Nikki interacts with everyone around her, are the novel's greatest strengths. The mystery never feels forced and seems to flow naturally, gaining momentum as Nikki peels away each layer until everything is ultimately revealed. One slight quibble: some of the poker descriptions don't seem accurate, but these would likely be caught only by someone with poker experience and won't derail the story.

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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