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Drawing Dead

(Joe Crow #1)

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Joe Crow thinks he's one hell of a poker player. An ex-cop who dresses halfway between a slob and a nerd and looks a little like Wayne Newton when he's surprised, Crow has almost forgotten what it feels like to lose. But then he lets Laura Debrowski - a spike-haired, leather-clad burst of rock'n'roll in a Muzak world - play a few hands with his stack. The next thing he kno ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Pocket Books (first published 1993)
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Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.0 of 5

Poker. Comic books. Minnesota. Yeah, this mystery is targeted toward me.

Joey Cadillac is used car dealer in Chicago with a former Miss Minnesota (Chrissy Swenson) for a girlfriend. Joey feels pretty good about the deal he just made - he traded a beat-up Cadillac (on which he had rolled back the mileage) for some vintage Batman comic books. When Crissy insists on reading one of the comics, they discover that the 'valuable'
Rachel N.
Joe Crow is an ex-cop and a recovering cocaine addict. During a poker game he lets a friend bet his money and ends up owing money to unscrupulous stockbroker Dicky Wicky. Dicky wants Joe to trail his wife Catfish and pay off whoever she's sleeping with and he'll forgive Joe's debt. There's also a pair selling a fictional comic book collection and a mob connected Cadillac dealer in the mix. It was a bit hard to follow who was who at first. The action and fun really picks up in the second half of ...more
John Stanley
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good. My first Pete Hautman book and I really enjoyed it. Reminded me a bit of Carl Hiassen's stuff. I wasn't totally enamored with the lead character, Joe Crow, but maybe he'll grow on me. I hope so because because I have more to read.
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
You want people to do what you want, you give them two choices: They do what you want or else.” (Joey Cadillac)

I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about poker, but I will explain that the term Drawing Dead, the title of Pete Hautmann’s caper novel, is also a poker term:

If an opponent has a made hand that will beat the player’s draw, then the player is drawing dead, so even if they make their desired hand, they will lose.

It’s an appropriate title as poker appears prominently in this ent
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Elmore Leonard fans, Mark Twain
Recommended to Michael by: Own it.
Fans of Elmore Leonard's "Get Shorty" will enjoy "Drawing Dead." Con men Tommy Campo and Ben Fink operate the "Tom and Ben Show" specializing in comic books. They profess to sell collectible comics with one buyer mobster Joey C. (Joseph Battagno). The comics are enclosed in a Stasis Shield and aren't supposed to be opened since it would diminish their value.

However, Joey C. has a 22 year old girlfriend who wants to read one and Joey relents. They find empty pages inside the cover.

Joey sends his
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars-of-2012
This is an early (in fact the first) novel by a favorite author that for some reason I had skipped past.

Glad I dug into it now as it is a perfect "let's scam the scammers" caper with tons of quirky, memorable characters.

Joe Crow is an ex-cop and ex-drug addict now making ends meet on poker winnings and odd jobs. He is hired by a sleazeball stockbroker to tail Mrs. Stockbroker and scare off the "friend" she's hooking up with. Complications ensue.

There is a lot that can go wrong in putting all th
Mark Feltskog
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
When Lawrence Block, the grand poobah of American crime fiction, praises you in a blurb for your book jacket, you know you've done something right, as Pete Hautman has here. A hell of a story, very well written. What more can a reader ask for?
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Feb 27, 2015
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David Long
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David Jordan
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Jeffrey Lee
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Jun 29, 2017
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Jun 01, 2017
The audiobook narrator made this book for me. He read the book in such a humorous way where I might have read it blandly and I just really liked that. So this noir con men get conned book starts slow, but gets fun by the end. I was, at first, put off by one of the characters using y'all as a singular, but I mostly got over it because the character is such a phony all around. There are also lots of detailed descriptions of card games, which may have lost it some stars for me because I'm not that ...more
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Jun 13, 2012
Judi Vold
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Sep 06, 2015
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Jersey Joe
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Rosalind Reisner
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Steve Hunt
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Robin Allen
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Play Book Tag: Drawing Dead by Pete Hautman 3 stars 1 8 May 13, 2018 11:34AM  
Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, and Invisible. Mr. Was was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at

Other books in the series

Joe Crow (5 books)
  • Short Money
  • The Mortal Nuts
  • Ring Game
  • Mrs. Million
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