I love Vegas. There’s just something magical about that city. It’s like Disneyland for adults.

Mind you, I’m not a gambler. I prefer the quarter blackjack machines or the penny slots—anything where I don’t have to actually interact with other humans. Except for the nice lady who brings by the free drinks, of course.

And high stakes for me is twenty dollars. I mean, total. And if I’m up, say, ten dollars, I’m done.

In fact, one of the most thrilling moments I’ve had during a visit to Vegas was when I was playing the Lucky Lemmings slots at the (then) new Wynn casino, and I hit a one thousand payout. Mind you, it was one thousand pennies, which amounts to ten dollars, but that machine pinged for a long time. Naturally, I cashed out. No way I was going to top that.

Like I said, not really much for the gambling. I’m not much of a risk-taker when it comes to money, period. Even sports like poker intimidate me.

I prefer sure things.

One sure thing I can guarantee is that Dean Wesley Smith knows the sport of poker. Unlike me, he’s a pro. And that shows in his writing whenever he tackles that topic. Like tomorrow’s new release: Kill Game.

Kill Game  introduces a new novel series, the Cold Poker Gang, and is related to Dean’s Doc Hill series, which kicked off with the novel Dead Money. This brand new series features a group of retired Las Vegas Police detectives playing poker and solving cold cases.

Here’s the synopsis:

Retired Detective Bayard Lott hosts the weekly poker games at his home. The group calls themselves the Cold Poker Gang. And they succeed at closing old cases.

Lott’s very first homicide case as a brand-new detective had gone cold more than twenty years earlier. But retired Reno detective Julia Rogers, new to the Cold Poker Gang, suggests they look at that case again for personal reasons.

From that simple suggestion spins one of the strangest and most complicated murder mystery puzzles the gang has ever seen.

I think it’s a safe bet you’ll want to read more about this gang once you’ve read Kill Game. I know Dean has more of these novels in the works. But for now, you can read a short story featuring the gang in Smith’s Monthly #3. [LINK TO SM3]

And next month, you’ll see the release of Dean’s much-anticipated Poker Boy novel, The Slots of Saturn, in which he trades in straight mystery for superhero fantasy.

Totally different takes on characters who love poker.

Sounds like a straight flush to me.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.