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Dead Man's Hand

(Wild Cards #7)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Wild Cards now in development for TV! Dead Man's Hand combines the writing talents of George R. R. Martin & John Jos. Miller

Chrysalis, the glass-skinned queen of the Joker underworld, has been found brutally murdered in her popular restaurant, the Crystal Palace. New two men are out to find her killer: Jay Ackroyd, the Ace private investigator who discovered her ruined
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Tor Books (first published July 1st 1990)
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3.96  · 
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 ·  1,255 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Stacey (Sassy Book Lovers)
3 1/2 stars

I do have mixed feelings about this one, I did enjoy it but there were a few things that did deter me a little. I went into this series blind due to not reading the other books in the series, so I did end up lost and a little confused in some areas, so I do recommend reading the other books first as not to get lost like I did. Also, the book is written from different POV's, instead of changing characters with chapters it was done throughout each chapter and it did throw me off track a
Stephanie Ward
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, for-review
'Dead Man's Hand' is the seven installment in an adult fantasy/science fiction series. Although I'm normally a big fan of these genres, this book didn't grab me the way I hoped. I haven't read any of the other books in the series, and that might be a part of the problem. I'm sure that reading the previous books would help with understanding the overlying plot lines and knowing the characters better. Sadly, I don't think that I'll be reading any of those either. The story line was intricate and h ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This volume represents the first irregularity in the Wild Cards series' triad format. Ostensibly, it's the final volume in the Puppetman triad. However, Puppetman plays only a very minor, indirect role in the plot of Dead Man's Hand, with other baddies taking center stage instead. It takes place over the same period of time as Ace in the Hole, but is set in New York rather than Atlanta (although the story moves to Atlanta for the climax). It's similar to GRRM's later splitting of A Feast for Cro ...more
Eric Bauman
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
It has been years since I read the first dozen volumes in this shared-world series, and I had nearly forgotten just how good they are.

The thrust of the books is that in 1946, an alien virus is released in the skies above Manhattan and infects the citizens of the island (primarily—it does affect people in other areas and other countries, but mostly it’s New York that feels it). Most people (90%) affected die horribly. A smaller percentage (9%) who are infected become what are called “Jokers"”—the
Mike McDevitt
More horrorshow in superhero clothing. "Liked" it probably isn't the correct term. Engrossing. Addictive. Like a hideous accident from which I cannot look away. I really do prefer my entertainment less gory... BUT. I much preferred this one to book six with its unending politics. A murder mystery from book six is followed up on here to my grisly satisfaction. It was good to see Wraith again (she has terrible taste in men), plus I found Jay Ackroyd refreshing, what with him being a protagonist wh ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Wild Cards book that had a straight novel format as opposed to the mosaic patchwork the earlier books had. Only two authors are credited, John J. Miller and Martin himself. The events of this book tape place concurrently with the previous volume, Ace In the Hole, which is set at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta while this one is primarily set in New York. It's a murder mystery that does wind up overlapping with the previous book. It's a good story that does explai ...more
Matt Fimbulwinter
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook re-read.

I don't think I've read this far in the series since I was a teenager. This is the other half of the story from Wild Cards book 6, covering the investigation of Chrysalis' murder. It's mainly focused on Yeoman and Popinjay. There's a lot to like here - the noir-ish crime solving and wise-cracking, and the Jokers/Wild Cards issue stuff goes fairly well. It gets a solid fail on female characters, most of them being femme fatales or victims to be fridged. The Ti-Malice parts are a
Shannon Appelcline
Dead Man's Hand is essentially the other half of Ace in the Hole, the story of Gregg Hartman's attempt to win the Democratic party nomination. That book was too long, so an entire plotline, regarding the murder of Chrysalis, was sliced off and became its own book, Dead Man's Hand.

As with the previous volume, editor Martin does a rather miraculous job of making this its own book. Oh, I'm sure there are some references to the events of Ace in the Hole that wouldn't make sense, but that was true of
Brian Rogers
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The other half of the events from book 6 (with some scenes slightly rewritten for character viewpoint), this is likely my favorite of the series simply because it is so focused. Only having two authors keeps the story flowing without so many POV shifts, and it is clearly closing up a lot of the plot threads from the prior books, giving the book and the series to that date a strong sense of completion.

Books 2-7 of this series just boil over with the sense of the late 80s - it was trying hard for
Travis Kuhlman
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun Ride

This is an excellent series in a fantastic world full of strange and colorful characters. It gets better with every book and each of them is memorable. It has been years since I read the sixth book, but this one jogged my memory and I remembered a lot more from the previous book than I thought I knew. Still, this would probably have been even more enjoyable if I had read them closer together. Books 4-7 are part of an overarching story that revolves around a particular "big bad," so I rec
Ben Lund
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked it, I liked how it gave the other side of events that happened in book 6. A lot of the things you are left wondering about get resolved in this book which was nice. Plus most of the characters by this time are old favorites and getting to revisit with them is just a treat.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is my favourite of this series. Jay and Brennan are the perfect characters for this and I really couldn't have told you who the murderer was until it was all revealed. Loved it! A great crime.
I don't think I should have skipped 4-6. So don't take my word for it.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more cohesive than some, even with multi-protagonist viewpoints
Kat  Hooper
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Review coming soon at

Basically the same book but from a different perspective as the prior one. It was fine and all, but still…
Amy Kaufman
Enjoyed the Wild Card series.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very satisfying end to this particular storyline. I enjoyed seeing how everything played out and enjoyed the characters.
Benjamin Kahn
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A return to form after a disappointing sixth book. This one focuses on two main characters, Jay Ackroyd and Yeoman in their separate efforts to find out who killed Chrysalis. This book takes place simultaneously with the one before it, Ace in the Hole, but is set primarily in New York. I occasionally found this book a little confusing - it was hard to remember which character had discovered which information - but overall, it was a fairly compelling read. More what I have come to expect from thi ...more

Mini-review originally posted on Nightjar's Jar of Books.

A sci-fi murder mystery, set in an alternative version of 1988 New York, in which the Earth has been ravished by an alien sickness called the Wild Card virus - which (when it doesn't kill them) turns people either into Aces (super-powered humans) or into Jokers (also super-powered, but hideously deformed and consequently marginalised by society). Chrysalis (the Queen of the Jokers' underground society) is murdered - and Jay Ackroyd, an Ace

Nov 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All comic book & sci fi fans
I got obsessed with this series several years ago, and blew through most of them inside a couple of years. I’m currently going back and re-reading some of my favorites.

Right after WW2, an alien race tests out a genetic plague by spreading it over the earth. This advanced virus kills millions, but also give a small percentage of survivors super-powers. Those who do not die or gain useful powers are usually deformed with often useless physical mutations. Those with the glamorous powers come to be
Alex Sarll
Superficially the most conventional novel the Wild Cards series has yet thrown up, with only two leads (vigilante Daniel Brennan and private eye Jay Ackroyd), two authors, and one plot - an investigation into the murder of Chrysalis, the information-broker with transparent skin whose secrets were as well-hidden as her innards were visible. Except that this wasn't originally conceived as a novel unto itself; it was shaved off the previous volume, Ace in the Hole, to prevent that book from being i ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a mystery, the novel works rather well. Certainly the identity of the killer is unexpected. On the other hand, the authors don't quite let you feel this is a Mystery novel - you're too focused on the action/thrilelr plots resolving the story of T-Malice, the master that enslaved so many Wild Cards characters, and the Shadow Fist gang - who try to benefit from Chrysalis's murder.
One of the things I liked best about this novel was the focus on jokers. Although the heros are an ace and a nat, t
Tony Calder
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This volume finishes the second major storyline of the Wild Cards series. It runs contemporaneously with volume six, but is primarily based in New York (whereas most of book six was set in Atlanta at the DNC). Unlike previous books - which were written by a variety of authors and then either published as a volume of individual stories, or edited together as a longer story - this volume is written as a full length novel by only two authors, George Martin and John Miler.

The main focus of this volu
Andrew Frolov
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Для меня это лучшая книга о Диких Картах после третьего тома. Действия романа разворачиваются примерно во время второй половины шестого тома т.е избирательной компании Грэга Хартмана. Том написан в детективном жанре с привкусом нуара и держал меня в напряжении до конца. Здесь сказывается умение Джорджа Мартина заставить читателя переживать за героев книги, какими бы они не были, хорошими или плохими. Концовка оказалась для меня довольно неожиданной. Чуть подпортило впечатление издание самой книг ...more
Danny Seipel
Although co-written by George R.R. Martin, and featuring his usual predilection for high body count with grisly means of despatch, this fell flat for me.

It is a competent, but not particularly exciting, whodunnit/thriller featuring mutants, often with extra abilities, to give it a difference I guess. Didn't really work for me, didn't really care about the characters, didnt even really care whodunnit.

I stuck with it to the end, and it's okay - there are far worse ways to pass a few idle hours, s
Baal Of
Another enjoyable volume in this series. I liked this one better than the previous volume, perhaps because of the detective elements, or perhaps because it felt more like a cohesive novel. I liked the alternating viewpoints between Jay Ackroyd and Daniel Brennan, which served well to convey their sometimes parallel sometimes crossing lines of investigation. The discovery of mother was particular twisted and cool, and I was surprised that Tachyon lost a hand to Mackie Messer. I appreciate the fac ...more
One of the best books in the series. It takes place at the same time as the previous book, but most of the action is in New York rather than Atlanta. A few scenes were retold from the 6th book, but from a different character's perspective, and I really enjoyed the way that was done.

This reads like a noir whodunnit. There really aren't a lot of new characters, but Yeoman's storyline is rounded out very well. Also, Popinjay gets a lot of screen time, and since he's one of my favorite aces that mak
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George R.R. Martin was born September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father was Raymond Collins Martin, a longshoreman, and his mother was Margaret Brady Martin. He has two sisters, Darleen Martin Lapinski and Janet Martin Patten.

Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and Marist High School. He began writing very young, selling monster stories to other neighborhood children for pennies,

Other books in the series

Wild Cards (1 - 10 of 28 books)
  • Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)
  • Aces High (Wild Cards, #2)
  • Jokers Wild (Wild Cards, #3)
  • Aces Abroad (Wild Cards, #4)
  • Down and Dirty (Wild Cards, #5)
  • Ace in the Hole (Wild Cards, #6)
  • One-Eyed Jacks (Wild Cards, #8)
  • Jokertown Shuffle (Wild Cards, #9)
  • Double Solitaire (Wild Cards, #10)
  • Dealer's Choice (Wild Cards, #11)
“Jay wondered how they'd feel the morning they all woke up and realized that somehow Camelot had turned into Mordor.” 11 likes
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