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The Game of Thirty

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  128 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
A hardboiled mystery that will satisfy the most discerning thriller reader: great plot, interesting characters, vivid Manhattan backdrop, and the added spice of the exotic, ancient Egyptian game that gives the novel its name. * Author has significant cult following. * A superb homage to classic private-eye novels, the book is a great choice for fans of Raymond Chandler. * ...more
Paperback, 271 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Felony & Mayhem (first published May 31st 1994)
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
I've read a bunch of Kotzwinkle's novels, and they're all pretty quirky and different from each other. This one's a mystery story that's told in a Chandler-esque style, shot through with little metaphors and meditations that are very much a part of of what seems to be an homage to the spirit of the classic noir mystery novel, a genre that holds many more literary goodies than you'd expect. As such, it's a pretty good effort, but it felt a little too light-hearted for what it was aiming at, times ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Maureen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: novel
A private investigator is hired by the daughter of a wealthy man who was murdered in the style of an ancient Egyptian. He, the investigator, finds himself playing The Game of Thirty, a pastime of Pharaohs, where virtually anything goes.
Jul 18, 2012 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Wish I could give half stars as this one would rate 3 1/2 stars but since I cannot I moved reluctantly gave it 4 stars. This is a good, good read. During the first hundred pages, I felt like I was reading a book version of the television series, Dragnet, but as the novel moved along I lost that feeling (perhaps because I became so involved with the tale). However, I did unravel the plot about two thirds through the read.

It begins with a wealthy antiquities dealer named Tommy Rennesler being mur
Ben Loory
Apr 05, 2011 Ben Loory rated it liked it
pretty much just a ridiculous book until the last page somehow pulled it all together. kinda took my breath away, but i'm not really sure it was worth the 270 pages that preceded it.

ADDENDUM! a week later and i'm still thinking about this book. and i think maybe i was wrong. looking back, all the pieces are there the whole time, they only look ridiculous because you haven't put them all together. so there's really a point to the sidekick being a masseuse, to the guy's extensive knowledge of wome
David Macpherson
May 20, 2010 David Macpherson rated it it was ok
I was enjoying aspects of the book, the detection, the char4acter, the use of egyptian antiques and how New York City was utilized but ultimately it was just annoying. The sidekick, the chiropracter, was not funny, but unpleasant to be around. And the conclusion that we had a multiple personality and that almost every man under suspicion was an evil child molester strained credibility and the heaviness of dealing with child molestation was not harmoniously melded with the light tone of the narra ...more
Jan 17, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another great ride from Kotzwinkle. it starts out like a fairly standard private dick thriller, but steadily builds into a smart, insightful psychological puzzle. Kotzwinkle never fails to deliver the goods to this reader. I had no clue where things were ultimately headed until the author and the story were ready to go there.
Tony Gleeson
Oct 05, 2011 Tony Gleeson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Try to put aside any image you might have of WIlliam Kotzwinkle as the popularizing guy who wrote novelizations of "Superman" or "E.T." There's another Kotzwinkle out there as well who has written some terrifically quirky novels, and this is perhaps one of his best. It begins as a tale-- written in somewhat Chandlerian fashion-- of a private investigator hired to find the murderer of a wealthy dealer in antiquities. His client is the mysterious and oddly fascinating daughter of the dead man. A ...more
Aug 08, 2013 Hedgewitch rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this quirky contemporary hard-boiled Private Eye novel. It falls among the few that deserve to be compared to Raymond Chandler, but it has a modern flair and a way with characters and situations that is totally and distinctively its own, including some New Age satire along with a bit of the old Maltese Falcon. The plot involves a high society (sometimes black-market) purveyor of antiquities, his ritual murder for a priceless stolen Ancient Egyptian artifact, his highly dysfuncti ...more
Kotzwinkle, William - standalone

P.I. Jimmy McShane is hired to find the murderer of a Manhattan antiquities dealer, who met his death while engaged in the Game of Thirty, an ancient game played by the pharaohs. What our streetwise-and-weary hero discovers is that the killer is all set to play the game one more time, with McShane as his chosen opponent--or ultimate victim.

Kotzwinkle is the author of E.T. are ones I really liked this book. A New York PI, and Egyptian game th
Aziza Aouhassi
Apr 21, 2016 Aziza Aouhassi rated it it was ok
Très bof!..
Aug 11, 2012 Cat. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction
A hard-boiled PI takes on a murder case the police haven't been able to resolve for the victim's daughter. Her dad was killed, and then eviscerated, in his living room. He was a dealer in ancient artifacts, as is his daughter, and was involved in some shady trades one of which involves child prostitution. However, the main story was a little too obvious to me. Still, very interesting. The game of thirty interests me. And the ending was rather fairy-tale happy, in a good way.
Oct 17, 2014 Verusex rated it really liked it
Quirky, fun take off of Noir Detective novels. Bright and fun if a little too cute. Great use of Egyptian mythology.
Aug 29, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
Kotzwinkle was at the top of his game in the mid 70s with The Fan Man and Fata Morgana. Game of Thirty, written in 94, is an oft-humorous nor tale with a zany handful of suspects. Well-paced, clever and entertaining to the end, this is a nice introduction to an excellent author flying below the radar....
Apr 17, 2013 Mark rated it it was amazing
I've read the other reviews of this book here. While I recognize that (as they say in boxing) styles make fights — and that not all tastes are compatible — I also have to say this. I picked this book up today, on a late Sunday afternoon, and simply couldn't put it down. Yeah. I recommend it.
Mar 09, 2013 Skye rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, read2013
Ugh. Thought this would be a fun p.i. story with ancient Egypt overtones but it turned into an episode of Law & Order: SVU.
Dec 20, 2013 Patrick rated it really liked it
well done story and characters. A bit like Dan Brown set in Egypt instead of Europe.
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William Kotzwinkle is a two-time recipient of the National Magazine Award for Fiction, a winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Prix Litteraire des Bouquinistes des Quais de Paris, the PETA Award for Children's Books, and a Book Critics Circle award nominee. His work has been translated into dozens of languages.
More about William Kotzwinkle...

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