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Death Plays Poker
Robin Spano
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Death Plays Poker (Clare Vengel Undercover #2)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  26 reviews
When poker players at a major, televised tournament begin turning up strangled in their hotel rooms, cop Clare Vengel must once again go undercover to befriend the suspects and find the killer in their midst. Though Clare hates her shallow cover character Tiffany, a trust-fund princess who thinks the poker tour is a better idea than college, posing helps her infiltrate the ...more
ebook, 422 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by ECW Press
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Sherry Isaac
Every time you pick up a book by an author you’ve never read before, it’s a gamble. Death Plays Poker plunges the reader, and the novel’s heroine, undercover cop Clare Vengel, into a poker tournament version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Death Plays Poker is not an edge-of-your-seat thriller. Rather, Spano deals a quirky hand full of twists and turns and and larger than life characters.
From Montreal to Niagara Falls, Toronto to Vancouver, the Poker Choker’s victims have two thi
Clare is a mediocre undercover agent who desperately wants to stay in the game long enough to prove she can do the job. So she takes an undercover job as a spoiled rich girl who wants to get into the poker world. She's looking for the serial killer who has been killing poker players, including an undercover cop.

I really enjoyed this book. I know very, very little about poker so was expecting to be confused. But the games were described in such a way that even a complete poker novice can follow.
Julia Madeleine
In Canadian author Robin Spano’s second novel, Death Plays Poker, rookie Toronto cop Clare Vengel is on an undercover assignment as a professional poker player to try and crack a series of murders. Someone is strangling world class poker players in their hotel rooms and it’s Clare’s job to infiltrate the group and find the killer. Spano has put together an amusing, well-drawn cast of suspicious characters. Each chapter in this intriguing mystery is told from a different character’s point of view ...more
Jason (RawBlurb)
This is the second novel in the Clare Vengel Undercover series. This time around, Robin Spano puts Clare in another unusual environment, a world class poker circuit/tournament where players are being choked to death. The Royal Canadian Mounties (RCMP) have pulled her in to attempt breaking the case. She is minimally experienced, and desperate to prove herself as a proficient undercover agent.

The problem is that Clare Vengel, disguised as Tiffany, the pink clothed high heel wearing trust fund kid
Jenn Ravey
Clare is back in her second undercover assignment, playing poker on the Canadian tour. Someone is cheating at cards, and The Dealer, as he or she calls him or herself, wants to be in control of the tables, all of them. Poker players are getting strangled, and after the last undercover agent is killed, Clare is put in the game as a trust-fund princess, eager to show daddy poker can be gainful employment. But blingy sweatpants, $200 sunglasses, and hot pink everything is not exactly Clare's style ...more
Noah Chinn
Aside from recommending it as a good, fun, sexy mystery, what do I have to say about it? Well, it turns out I understood nearly everything poker related about it even though I don’t play poker at all.

Why? You can thank video VLTs for that. Every time I go to a bar I see Texas Hold Em being played on the screen, the kind where you buy a ticket that has two cards in it and play against four other video players every few minutes. Never played it, but I watched the screen a lot waiting for meals.
Toronto undercover cop, Clare Vengel, is posing as a rich, pro poker player wannabe to find out who’s been strangling players. With three people dead (one her predecessor) Clare needs to find answers fast before her cover’s blown and she becomes the latest victim. But it isn’t easy. Poker players are suspicious and experts at lying. Complicating the situation is the new, attractive player, Nate, and the possibility that some players are cheating.

Death Plays Poker is the second in Robin Spano’s s
Dona Matthews
i loved 22-year-old clare vengel in dead politician society, and i love how she has grown and developed in becoming 23-year-old clare in death plays poker.

i also love how robin spano is growing as a writer-- pacing and plot were great strengths in dead politican society, and death plays poker is another can't-put-it-down read-way-past-bedtime book -- but what death plays poker shows more of is the author's insights and perceptions into human nature and motivation, particularly the dark side and
Great read, lots of inside knowledge on poker, people and police. A fun ride across Canada will make you want to visit Vancouver and maybe even Toronto. I give this 5 stars.
Robin Spano
Apr 25, 2011 Robin Spano added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
If you're browsing and curious, check out some sample chapters here.
Toni ~married to a hunk~
Loved this book too and learned about poker at the same time. Can't wait for a third one.
D.J. McIntosh
A book that goes well beyond "chic-lit" and gives us an absorbing mystery.
Kari Anderson
There’s a plague on the professional poker tour in Canada. It’s not just a few bad hands, but a few of the best players turning up dead at the hands of a strangler. So Clare, fresh off solving deaths of local politicians, she’ll still got a good enough rep to get her undercover in the poker game. Unfortunately for Clare, her cover is a sparkly, pink loving, spoiled, trust fund baby, Tiffany. Clare is not only trying to solve the murders, but also figure out whose behind a cheating ring and how i ...more
Death Plays Poker by Robin Spano is the second in the Clare Vengel series. Clare is a Toronto cop in her early twenties who is sent undercover to infiltrate a huge poker tournament. She’s not a professional poker player, but she’s read up on the game and studied the big names who’ll be playing there. While she’s not a seasoned player, she’s got good instincts, charm, and can read people. As you follow Clare along on the investigation, you won’t be alone since a good chunk of Canada is watching t ...more
Martin Frankson
A rollicking piece of neo pulp and noir with pacing and dialogue that was as sharp as a new blade. I picked this up at the library and devoured it in two sittings.
This is the second Clare Vengel Undercover novel and for me the characters were not likable or understandable but really that only became clear to me at the end when I realized it had suddenly ended and we all the loose ends were being tied up. I just didn't get it and some of the characters were like puzzles to me right through and not in a good way. I don't know if some of these characters are going to show up in the next book and we will go "ah ha!" or what but that is why I only gave it 2 st ...more
I really enjoyed this second outing for Clare in Death Plays Poker. Clare has to stretch her talents, her worldview, and her ability ot deal with her family in her second outing. Clare gets assigned to the Poker Choker case when the World Tour of Poler hits Toronto. She blends in well enough as poor little rich girl Tiffany but it isn't an easy fit. When Nate/Noah comes on the scene-things really get complicated.
Clare does figure things out in time to stop the Poker Choker.

It will be fun to see
Despite some dialogue that felt forced and some repeated phrases (the poker world as 'the scene'), I enjoyed Death Plays Poker. It is a fast paced mystery novel with lots of characters (read: suspects) that takes place in Canada. I haven't read any Canadian mystery novels before so I kind of liked reading about certain places in Toronto that I have actually been to.
If you like murder mysteries and cops as main characters, there is nothing not to like about this book.
While enjoyable to read, this follow-up novel didn't flow as well as it's predecessor. There were some holes in the plot that required the reader to make big leaps to catch up, some of the characters were hard to keep straight, and my Kindle edition had several typos. The ending was "meh" and felt very rushed and poorly fleshed out. I give it three stars because I did enjoy the actual meat of the story. I'd probably still be interested if a 3rd Clare Vengel novel popped up.
This book had too much swearing for my taste... Otherwise, the story itself was okay. The funny thing is, when I read the author's little blurb-y at the back (her thank you's and whatnot), there wasn't any swearing whatsoever. I couldn't help but wonder - maybe she doesn't swear much herself in real life? But then why put so much in the book? But the story was okay. Hard to put down. I finished this book quickly on that account.
Liz Bugg
If you are a fan of poker and a fan of mysteries, then you will be a big fan of Death Plays Poker by Robin Spano. Clare Vengel, the protagonist in this second novel in the series, returns with another undercover assignment that tests her not only professionally, but personally. Spano has populated her novel with a cast of interesting characters, and she keeps the reader guessing about the identity of the villain until the very end.
I took this with me on a beach trip and it definitely satisfied my need for fun, light vacation reading. I liked the first Clare Vengel undercover novel and this one was fairly similar with a fast paced narrative and shifting perspectives from chapter to chapter. The actual mystery resolution was really fast and left me a bit unsatisfied but I still liked the characters enough to keep me interested.
I enjoyed this book more than the first Clare Vengel novel, "Dead Politician Society". The character of Clare Vengel is developed with more depth here. The story is well told with plenty of fun twists and turns and the Canadian setting is once again used to interesting advantage.
Brittany eggleston
Book was exciting from the the first chapter but then it started to get really boring and just dragged on and on. The last 20 pages of the book it finally started to get good again I wouldnt read this book ever again.
A very interesting mystery book. Its not predictable like other mystery books so if you hate hints this is the book for you :)
Sub-par poker mystery set in Canada. Canada! Really?
Shamma marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2015
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Robin is a mystery author from Toronto, living in Vancouver. She loves to chat about books with everyone except her husband, who hates reading. This is probably a good thing, in that it gets her outside doing things when she could happily lose herself in fiction.
More about Robin Spano...

Other Books in the Series

Clare Vengel Undercover (3 books)
  • Dead Politician Society (Clare Vengel Undercover, #1)
  • Death's Last Run (Clare Vengel Undercover, #3)
Dead Politician Society (Clare Vengel Undercover, #1) Death's Last Run (Clare Vengel Undercover, #3) Clare Vengel Undercover Mysteries: Includes Dead Politician Society and Death Plays Poker

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