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Dead Man's Hand

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  282 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don't fall your way?

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of
Kindle Edition, 236 pages
Published October 10th 2012 by Imajin Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Luke Murphy 's debut fiction kept me off-balance most of the way through the book. I was surprised with the beginning and equally surprised by the ending. This high-powered, fast-paced murder mystery is placed in the city that doesn't sleep, Las Vegas. Plenty of suspense and few clues which tend to lead nowhere. Which suspect can be trusted, is there a rogue politician or cop in the mix that might be suspected of complicity? This is the theme that will keep the police hog-tied as corruption rea ...more
Sonny Boninsegna
I enjoyed Dead Man's Hand very much. The characters were well developed and I found myself wanting them to succeed. I liked the story. It was fast paced and entertaining. The story was believable. I hope that another work with these characters is in author's future plans.
Apr 10, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: bookbub-deal
Quick crime read. I enjoyed the story line and the main characters, but the writing didn't draw me in. It was quite straight forward, without nuance or humor.

2.5 stars rounded up.
Nov 14, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it

The shutout contacted me on Twitter and asked me to read his book which I fund to be very uncommon and it made me snag a copy immediately.
Dec 08, 2016 Marjie rated it it was amazing
Good suspense

This was an interesting story, always drawing you in. Never really knowing what to expect. Variety of characters and interactions. Enjoyable read.
C.p. Bialois
Aug 24, 2013 C.p. Bialois rated it really liked it
In Dead Man’s Hand, we’re introduced to Calvin Watters, a former college football star whose life was changed by a single mistake. Working as the top collector in Las Vegas, Watters has developed a reputation of someone to be feared.

Detective Dale Dayton seemingly has it all: a good job and a loving family. Until one day his desire to work and exclude his family drives his wife to take their son and leave him.

Their lives are brought together when a high profile casino owner is murdered and every
Jesse Kimmel-Freeman
This is the kind of book that sucks you in and then you're stuck inside its world. Luke has created a world that is full of unexpected turns. He does a great job of crafting this world and the amazing mix of people in it.

I'm a sucker for characters and Luke doesn't disappoint on that front. I fell in love with Cal. There is something about the big and scary collector that touches my heart and makes me root for him. I want his life to turn into the fairytale that he deserves. It sucks when you ma
Aug 04, 2013 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard of this author on Twitter and decided to buy and read his book, "Dead Man's Hand". I enjoyed this book very much. It takes place in Las Vegas and has a lot of interaction between casino owners, the LVMPD, and several murders that take place. The "hero", Calvin Watters. was a collector for a bookie after his future pro football career was destroyed when he had a knee injury. Due to his depression, he ended up in Las Vegas and took the first well paying job he could get, although he ...more
Anne Howard
Oct 13, 2015 Anne Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will be honest enough to admit that I read this book because the author asked me to via Twitter and because I'm nosey enough that I like new authors, and having read the 'blurb' it interested me.

I can say that I was not disappointed. Considering this book is the debut novel by Mr Murphy I was very impressed.

I found it extremely engaging and it rapidly turned into one of those books that work just gets in the way of..

The characters were interesting and very well drawn/described so that I found
Jul 27, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Calvin Watters was NFL Superstar until a wrong move on the field caused an injury and also brought shame. At twenty-six he is now an enforcer for a bookie and is being framed for murder and marked for death. Fighting for his life and his girlfriend he is also trying to prove his innocence in three murders.
What’s a man to do? Fight back and help the police solve the crimes.
Dead man’s hand is a page turner and a riveting account of one man’s attempt to protect all he hold
Nov 04, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fairly routine cops and bad guys story. An attempt to add some individuality by making one of the main protagonists a huge black ex-athlete with a gammy knee, and a detective who chews and spits baccy into a spit cup. The duff knee does come into play a bit but there seemed no point to Dale's addiction to Skoal. It was a mere add-on, which is never a good idea for story telling since it seemed really out of character. (Could have been an added reason for his wife to leave him, I guess.) Also ...more
In Las Vegas, Calvin Watters has gone from rising NFL star to debt collector for a shady underworld boss, when he is asked to collect on a well-known and respected casino owner. Calvin is suspicious of collecting from such a high profile person, and even more so when he is told what to wear for the job, but the chance to earn enough to get him out of the life is enough to persuade him. He shows up at the appointed meeting, only to discover he is being framed for the murder of the casino owner. ...more
Jay Williams
Feb 19, 2016 Jay Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a difficult read, and is very suspenseful and entertaining. The characters were well-defined and had enough rough edges to be realistic and believable. The plot had a number of interesting twists, but the conclusion certainly left some threads to weave into a sequel. I found the occasional side tracks into weapons and logistics added to the suspense and were also interesting. The greed, money and politics driving the plot were all very believable, while the romance and relationships ...more
Kimberly Yach
Good job Luke.
First detective book read in years, I don't often read that genre.
I pictured it as a movie. Characters were typical.
Need more turmoil in character building, Dale need more emotion.
Easy to read at first then near end of book large vocabulary words popped in, which caused the easy reader to stumble.
I might be a little hard critic, but I think these suggestions can be useful in future works.
Now I am ready for book two.
Kim Holsapple
Apr 23, 2016 Kim Holsapple rated it it was amazing
Dead Man's Hand will have you immersed in the story from the very beginning!!

I really enjoyed Dead Man's Hand! I took a liking to Calvin Watters right away, he is a bookie's heavy in Las Vegas. It is a great who done it book that I highly recommend. It doesn't take long for you to get totally involved in this book and you don't want to put it down!!! Without giving anything away, I would love to see a sequel to this book to see how the character's lives continue.
Mar 22, 2016 Kip rated it liked it
Not bad. A couple non sequitur moments in character development, but I read it over the course of four sittings and kept swiping my screen. I will say I figured out the mastermind early, even though it didn't make a whole lot sense, and there were a bunch of loose ends. Sequel in the works?

* Couldn't finish
** I had nothing else to do
*** Passed the time, would be **** for genre / author fans
**** Everyone could enjoy this book
***** Everyone should read this book, I'll read it again
Jul 06, 2013 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not many authors can pull it off and keep the reader's interest. Luke Murphy did. Alternating plot lines usually set up expectations for the pattern to continue but with waning hope for a convergent resolution. Luke Murphy did it all with only one failure. He left with a cliff hanger, not one but two unresolved questions but to elaborate would be a spoiler. There had better be a follow-up because I am in wings preparing to wreak havoc if there is not.
Roseanne Morris
Jan 28, 2015 Roseanne Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book! Not normally the sort of thing I read, Luke Murphy does a good job at creating characters with a lot of depth and a plot to match. It has so many twists and turns, you'll never know what is coming next. It is a valiant debut effort and I can't wait for more from the author!
I recommend this book to any suspense/mystery lover and to anyone who doesn't mind not sleeping for a couple of days. When you pick it up, you wont put it down!!
Jerry Walch
Apr 28, 2016 Jerry Walch rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. The life-like characters, snappy dialogue and non stop action keeps the reader on the edge of his chair from start to finish. I give this book a solid five starts and the only reason I can see why some people rated it less than five starts is the ending which leaves the story open for a sequel, Luke leaves his readers wondering what will happen to the characters they have come to root for in the future.
Randy Grossman
Sep 05, 2016 Randy Grossman rated it liked it
Backward Detective Work

The story was pretty interesting. The reader knows who the killer is early in the book, but the mystery is how the police can prove it. Then after the killer is caught, there are still a few loose ends. I guess that will be another story. There was some editing issues and abrupt change of scenes that took away from the story. And occasional foul language that seemed senseless, but I would likely read another book by Mr Murphy.
Feb 15, 2016 BonusMom rated it liked it
Good first book

This book was not bad but I would have enjoyed it more if there were breaks between the scenes and settings. I spent time re-reading the paragraph before to make sure I had not missed something. My copy ended a sentence with one character in one place and the next sentence immediately went to another character in a totally different place with no seque between the two. Very confusing. Otherwise a quick mystery with a twist.
C.L. Blanton
May 12, 2013 C.L. Blanton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Luke Murphy has a strong debut novel with Dead Man’s Hand. The characters are detailed and believable and the events are well executed. The story draws you into the world of Las Vegas crime, building to a satisfying end while leaving you wanting to read more. Here’s hoping Mr. Murphy returns to Dale and Calvin’s world to continue their story.
Leila  I.
Feb 19, 2016 Leila I. rated it really liked it
I gave book a 4 star rating only for the plot. I don't particularly like it when I know who the bad guy is. It takes away the suspense of finding out that you were wrong about who was the killer. In
addition another "bad guy" was brought into the story line but stopped there with his
part in the story. Book was definitely not one of my favorites. I like more cliff hanging in a book.
Feb 17, 2016 Tulay rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading.

Liked the Calvin Watters character, he got injured to save his team and lots his chance to become NFL player. Got framed for murders. Detective Dayton is on the right track. Twist at the ending was shocking, didn't expect that. Can't wait to read more books written by this author.
Jul 16, 2013 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Luke's debut novel is a gripping page turner from start to finish.Full of twists and turns, with great characters , first rate plot and plenty of action. It keeps you enthralled and wanting to read on - once started I couldn't put it down. I loved it and am looking forward to reading more from this talented author. I highly recommend it.
Feb 15, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing
Superb debut novel!

Hard to believe this was his debut novel. I loved it! The characters were fantastic and well-rounded, and the plot was really good. I can't wait to read whatever else he's written.
Michelle A Amaya

This did not seem like a first book. Excellent writing! A truly enjoyable read! If you enjoy thrillers I highly recommend Dead Man's Hand. Luke Murphy is an excellent writer! I look forward to his future books.
Sue Kaplan
May 28, 2016 Sue Kaplan rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Definitely a hit. Murder mysteries are not usually my choice but this was fast paced, convoluted enough to hold your attention and so well written it stopped your heart at times.

Editing could have been better. Are editors,skimming test now rather than reading word for word?
Gav Clifton
Jul 14, 2016 Gav Clifton rated it it was amazing
Great little find

Found this book after following Luke on twitter. God bless Twitter. I loved the book and characters. Great story line that keeps you guessing till the end. Will be checking out many more of Luke's books.
Liz Lennert
Jul 21, 2016 Liz Lennert rated it really liked it
Dead Man's Hand

This is a good story. I hated to rate it as a four but it was frustrating reading. The author kept changing characters throughout the book without notice or warming. I like a book that flows and sadly this one didn't.
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