“If money’s the god people worship, I’d rather go worship the devil instead.” – Jess C. Scott
Author Patty Lesser’s novel ‘The Perfect Hand’ as the title suggests revolves around a game of poker. But this isn’t just another ordinary card game, as this high stakes game of life is being played by five close friends against a religious fanatic. And what hangs in balance is the freedom and fate of millions of American lives. By taking due risks and calling their opponent’s bluff, these five friends must purge the latest threat to their countrymen’s lives.
Handling a topic that is sensitive and topical in many sense, this fictional novel tells the story of a religious fanatic and his close knit army of believers who thinks only they have the answer to life’s problems. And all hell breaks loose when they set out to enforce what they think is good for everyone else. Such a theme as unfortunate as it sounds has raised its ugly head in many parts of the world before and continues to transpire today as well. So while the obstacle in the plot is quite believable, what requires a leap of faith from the reader is the method in which the religious fanatic and his group go about trying to control the population.
But what holds the novel together is its central characters, the five friends-since-college mates’ camaraderie is moving and believable. This has been portrayed with the help of convincing back stories and natural sounding dialogues; these are the kind of lines you imagine close buddies with a shared history will say to each other. The way these characters deal with a particular predicament also reveals the tightness within the group. These five characters are quite different from one another and their dissimilarity can be felt in their reaction and their thought processes as well. The antagonist camp too gets a good set of characters, though not as well developed as the protagonists. There are many secondary characters in the book in the form of spouses, girlfriends, police officers, media people and a taxi driver; and they all contribute towards the plot.
The author has been able to successfully capture the mental psyche of five grown men with diverse aptitudes. The correlation between the friends’ love for poker and a similar game like strategy in tackling their enemies is handled nicely. And then there’s some wonderful writing in the scene where Gary conducts a web podcast.
The book can rightfully be called a thriller as it offers plenty of hair-raising moments as are usually found within this genre. But a few long drawn out scenes and dialogue pieces does tend to slow down the pace of the story, and is the only misgiving you’ll have in an otherwise fine narrative.
Patty Lesser should be appreciated for dreaming up of a society that places honesty and equality above religious fanaticism. Read it for the above mentioned reasons and the nicely portrayed bromance between the lead characters.
Print Length: 294 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 22, 2015)
ISBN – 10: 1517482909
ISBN – 13: 978-1517482909