Last Call by Tim Powers

lastcall

Oh man, this book! So, this is the first book from author Tim Powers that I have ever read. Friends have been recommending his books to me for years but I’ve always had too many other books jumping in front of him. Long story short: I was a big dummy who should have picked him up sooner to read.

Short review: This book is so inventive that it makes me jealous even though my own writing is no where close to being good enough to publish. I absolutely loved every page and savored it for as long as I could. I even held off on reading it for two days because I didn’t want to get to the end and finish the story and leave all these great characters.

Longer Review: Last Call tells the story of Scott Crane as he tries to save his own life and possibly the rest of his friends lives through playing of the game Assumption.

The book starts in a flashback of sorts that tells the story of five-year-old Scott’s last day with his father. they end up at home playing a card game with a special tarot deck that starts to pull Scott into a kind-of dream-like coma, empty state. Scott’s mother, however, has other ideas. Not wishing her last born child to end up a mindless nothing controlled by her husband she shoots Georges Leon and grabs Scott and makes a run for it.

The main tale starts to unfold when we meet a much older Scott. He is a drunk with a dead wife and his only friend is his next door neighbor. Through a bit more flashbacks we learn the when Scott was around twenty-one or so he went against his adopted fathers advise and played a game of Assumption and a houseboat. Now his real father has “assumed” his life. This is how he plans to become and stay basically immortal, by jumping into his many “children.

The story follows Scott, his sister, his neighbor, and other assorted people in a run and fight for their life. I am finding it very hard to convey just how great this story is. it weaves in fables, myths, tarot cards, poker rules, poker superstitions, roman god/goddesses, gangsters, and so much more that I am surely forgetting some things.

The book builds and builds until the tension threatens to break the characters and also the person reading it. By the end you read faster and faster because you can hardly wait to get the bubble of tension popped. I felt the ending was great and very satisfying. I have never felt better about my friends taste in authors and even have more books by Tim Powers loaded on my kindle to read next!

Very highly recommended.

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