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No House Limit (Hard Case Crime #45)

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  136 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews

Joe Martin ran the biggest independent casino on the Las Vegas strip – and the Syndicate wanted him out. So they brought in Bello, the most famous gambler in the world, to challenge Joe to a marathon craps game. The stakes: everything Joe owns...

Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 10th 2008 by Hard Case Crime (first published 1958)
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(showing 1-30 of 313)
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Dan Schwent
Nov 03, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it it was ok
The Syndicate wanted to shut Joe Martin and his casino, Rainbow's End, down and brought in the best gambler in the world to put him out of business. Can Joe Martin keep his casino? And does the girl who's stolen his heart have anything to do with the people who want his money?

Yeah, there are some awesome books in the Hard Case Crime series and some that are only okay. This is one of the okay ones.

I like the idea of an independent casino owner going up against the mob to keep his business. It so
Jan 18, 2012 Eric_W rated it it was ok
I guess the first question many would ask is why bother read these old pulp fiction novels. Nostalgia, plot, setting, voyeurism, writing style, pictures of busty blonds on the cover; all of these I suppose. For lack of a better reason, I guess it would be the same reason why some people watch football. They provide easy, often thoughtless, entertainment.

That being said, Hard Case Crime, reissued a whole series of novels from the fifties and early sixties, most of which might be defined as noir,
Jun 20, 2009 David rated it liked it
Shelves: noirboiled
There was one thing about No House Limit that bugged me and bugged me and bugged me such that it really interfered with my ability to enjoy the novel: the portrayal of the gambler Bello and his craps expertise. On the one hand, No House Limit presents itself as an insider's look at Vegas and crapshooting: most of the chapters begin with short tutorials about Vegas and/or craps, and in an afterward he wrote for this Hard Case Crime reprint, one of Steve Fisher's sons mentions the research that hi ...more
Jul 13, 2015 Jure rated it it was ok
The whole "siege" concept seemed a bit silly to me. But I did think at the beginning that it had a potential to develop into something (more) interesting. There are few cool characters and beautiful dames (we are in Vegas after all) and parallel to the main story there's another subplot in which Joe's right-hand man is shielding his boss from the various distractions that might break his concentration. Because during this "siege", syndicate tries to disrupt things by "pushing the queer chips", s ...more
May 31, 2014 Steve rated it liked it
Joe Martin owns the biggest independent casino in 1958 Las Vegas. And the syndicate, aka the mob, wants him out, so they hire a master gambler to ruin Martin, in a long master craps game. The author wrote some fine movies, as it says on the back, and I Wake Up Screaming. All good stuff.

This book was enjoyable, with some good twists and characters. The background on casino gambling in the 50s was good, but craps isn't that interesting a game to me, never has been, and this book doesn't really mak
Neil McCrea
Jul 21, 2015 Neil McCrea rated it really liked it
Steve Fisher is a hugely influential, yet surprisingly little known noir author. Incredibly prolific, he adapted many noir classics for the screen, including Double Indemnity. His most famous novel, I Wake Up Screaming, has one of the most imitated plotlines in all of noir (troubled alcoholic wakes up next to the corpse of a beautiful young woman with no memory of the night before). In No House Limit, Mr. Fisher gives us a sort of crime fable set in the far away land of Las Vegas.

No House Limit
Nov 29, 2008 Kemper rated it it was ok
Not a bad story, but comes across as very dated.
Feb 09, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
Steve Fisher is another author whom I’d never heard of before despite his swath of material. He’s written, from what I can tell, hundreds of novels, almost a thousand short stories, and a hundred-twenty movie scripts/screenplays, including those for Raymond Chandler’s Lady in the Lake, and the Bogart films Dead Reckoning and Tokyo Joe, along with the final Thin Man film, and the screenplay for his own bestseller I Wake Up Screaming. The afterword by one of the author’s son fills in a lot of inte ...more
Dec 06, 2011 Dfordoom rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Steve Fisher was an amazingly prolific author, his output totaling around a hundred novels, 900 short stories and 120 movie and television scripts. His best-known crime novel was probably I Wake Up Screaming. His 1958 novel No House Limit was subtitled A Novel of Las Vegas and is perhaps the ultimate gambling novel.

Joe Martin owns and runs the Rainbow’s End casino in Las Vegas, one of the biggest casinos in the city. It’s a completely independent operation, not associated with any crime or gambl
Duke Cullinan
Jul 05, 2014 Duke Cullinan rated it really liked it
Grading this pulpster novel on the curve. Didn't expect Raymond Chandler, didn't get him, but it was fun to read about 1950s California and Las Vegas. The big ridiculous conceit the author insists on is that there is such a thing as a skill to playing Craps. Such that if you're really good, as are the protagonist and antagonist, you can grind your way to hundreds of thousands.

I read most of this poolside in Vegas, so yes, it was fun.
Michael Mallory
Nov 13, 2012 Michael Mallory rated it it was amazing
"No House Limit" is a very unusual and unique novel by one of the most undersung masters of noir, Steve Fisher. It is structured somewhat like a screenplay--perhaps not surprising, since Fisher spent decades in Hollywood--and concerns the attempts of the unnamed syndicate in Vegas to break the bank of a casino owned by a lone wolf by hiring the world's best gambler. That's about it for high concept, but what keeps the reader reading (at least this reader) is Fisher's interwoven threads of the va ...more
Jul 14, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it
Very tight, compelling narrative about a "seige" on a Vegas casino in the 50s involving a professional high-stakes gambler who goes head to head with the casino boss for days of throwing the bones.

The afterword by one of Fisher's sons makes clear that much of the material in the book was based on extensive background research conducted by Fisher, who wrote several Bogart movies and piles of pulp novels. Fisher Jr. suggests that one of the characters is partly based on Bogie, and names the actual
Andy Nieradko
Apr 23, 2012 Andy Nieradko rated it it was amazing
This is one hell of a book. This is the first time I've read anything by Steve Fisher, and it damn sure won't be the last. This guy wrote around 100 novels, and wrote tons for TV and Film, including two Bogart movies (Dead Reckoning and Tokyo Joe.) Seems I learn something new every day, and my stack of books "to read" is growing faster and taller than my kids. Anyway No House Limit is a Las Vegas story. It has a cool, jazzy narrative that pulls you in by beginning most chapters with a little Veg ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
The actual plot of this novel is fine, but the really interesting part of it, as far as I am concerned, was its minor characters. They gave this novel the feel of a Robert Altman movie.
Oct 03, 2008 Jesse rated it it was ok
Blah. Slightly bad run for Hard Case of late. This is a tightly plotted Vegas noir with some good period sleaze, but hampered by a ridiculous female character for whom "cartoon" would be an improvement; since we're supposed to root for the tough operator guy who runs his own casino (against mob pressure), it really, really doesn't help to saddle him with this childish he-man relationship with a schoolmarm type with a secret or two. Good, visceral gambling scenes, but I demand at least a little s ...more
Sep 13, 2015 Doug rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
The best part of this book is arguably the picture of 1950s Las Vegas that it provides. Each chapter begins with a little tidbit about gambling or some piece of Vegas culture or history (e.g., racism in casinos, except for one famous casino). The better place to begin with Fisher is "I Wake Up Screaming," if only for its great title.
Apr 11, 2009 Solitairerose rated it liked it
A flawed novel that had a good start, a good premise, but in the end faded out in the last few chapters with a cheat of an ending. Still, it's a good look at what Vegas was like in the 50's and the prose is amazingly fast paced.
Jul 27, 2008 Andy rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: shut-in card sharks
Shelves: hard-case-crime
Pretty dull stuff, the action never leaves the casino so if you're a claustrophobic reader you won't be a happy camper. Steve Fisher has written better books, like "Giveaway".
Nov 02, 2008 Larry rated it really liked it
Fisher was screenwriter for a number of classic noir movies, and his insider's view of Las Vegas in the fifties alone is worth the price of the book. Good read.
Nov 28, 2010 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: own, hardcase_crime
This story would slot in nicely as an episode of Las Vegas. Enjoyable if somewhat dated (No House Limit was first published in 1958).
Aug 01, 2008 Randy rated it it was amazing
Written during the fifties, it's a good look at Las Vegas back then.
Bob Talbott
Aug 25, 2008 Bob Talbott rated it liked it
Excellent television.
Feb 16, 2010 Bradley added it
Shelves: 2008-bookshelf
Hard Case Crime #45
Ken Kutzler
Ken Kutzler rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2016
om varshney
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Jun 26, 2016
Tom rated it it was amazing
Jun 23, 2016
Sara Kreps
Sara Kreps marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
Andrew marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
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Born in 1912 in Marine City, Michigan, Stephen Gould Fisher was thirteen when he sold his first story to a magazine. At sixteen he joined the Marines. He was still in the service when he began to publish stories and articles in US Navy and Our Navy. Discharged from the Marines in Los Angeles in 1932, Fisher stayed in L.A., where he continued to write for US Navy, for which he was paid one cent a w ...more
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